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WAKE UP! WAKE UP! IT'S MY BIRTHDAY MUMMY AND I WANT MY PRESENTS NOW
Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective
Issue 192, Thursday 19th November 1998
"I'm devastated. The opening of the road was the most awful day of my life, but the protests at Newbury stopped the Salisbury bypass being built and made government cut its roadbuilding plans."
- Janet, a local resident
The Newbury Bypass finally opened in secret at 1.15 am on Monday.
The nine mile road initially priced at £74 million, had soared in cost as some £24 million was spent on security guards and £2.6 million on policing, as the site became the scene of this country's biggest ever campaign of direct action against a road scheme. The authorities reacted with 'Operation Prospect' using the full force of the Criminal Justice Act to stop the protests with over a thousand arrests and strict bail conditions banning people from the site and effectivily stopping them protesting.
Even on the day of the opening no expense was spared. Two people who had gone for a picnic at the old Rickety Bridge site, suddenly found themselves surrounded by 6 cop vans, 2 cars, 2 motorcyclists a video surveillance team with a helicopter buzzing overhead to see what was going on!
As for the cost to environment; how do you count the cost of devastation to nature reserves, sensitive eco-systems, archaeological sites and water meadows. "Instead of wonky lanes, gnarled trees and ricketty bridges over streams and canel, the surrounding landscape has been engineered into smooth, anywhere-ville embankments, concrete structures and giant culverts."
And this is just the beginning. Liberal Democrat MP and Bypass apologist David Rendell promised once the road was built, there would be no infill development - so what's all this then?
Stax Properties have put in a planning application to build a warehouse distribution point on a green site. Vodaphone want to build a new HQ on 42 acres and are threatening to pull out of the town if they don't get their way. They've refused a move to the old cruise missile base at Greenham Common because it is not prestigious enough and fears of security because of the womens peace camp still at the base (basically a caravan with a couple of women living there). And at Trenchwood there are plans to build a new village with 1,800 houses on 352 acres.
And this is just the beginning.
So despite claims from the Highways Agency that the road will cut journey times through Newbury by two minutes off-peak and 15 minutes during rush hours, if these applications get the green light, it will be back to square one for the towns transport problem.
One ex Newbury protestor who went to see the new road told SchNEWS, "The tree I was in during the evicition was still there, next to the road at the old Sea View Camp. It was the only thing that lifted my spirits. The landscape has changed beyond recognition. I feel gutted, it really has happened."
£100 million for nine miles of road - what could have been done with that money to alleviate Newburys traffic problem? 70% of Newbury's traffic is local so wouldn't the money be better spent on a package of local traffic reduction measures. What about improving public transport, cycle routes, schol buses, car-share schemes all of which Independent transport consultants showed could solve the town's traffic problems far better and more cost-effectively than a bypass.
To coincide with the opening activists occupied the Brighton offices of Mott Mcdonald's, the scumbag civil engineers who designed Newbury Bypass and contracted the companies responsible for the roads construction. Other projects include building power stations in Indonesia, Iraqi civilian airstrips, Sellafield and Dungeness, as well as the road throughTwyford Down. Over twenty activists strolled passed security and the receptionist (who cried 'I should have guessed this was going to happen today') and barricaded themselves into the finance office by re-arranging the furniture. After sending the staff home, and rummaging through the files, the computers' hard drives mysteriously "malfunctioned". There were no arrests. Nice One! The road may be complete, but the campaign ain't!
Third Battle of Newbury 'End of the Road Reunion' Sunday 10th January 1999. PO Box 5642, Newbury, Berks RG14 5WG Phone 07000 785201 http://www.gn.apc.org/newbury/
Wierd things are happening again along the proposed site of the Birmingham Northern Relief road. For the past three weeks coach loads of police have come down to the site as part of their training to talk 'informally' to the protesters. Staffordshire Police this training programme is based on the fundamental principle that the role of the police is an impartial one....it provides an opportunity for officers to hear first hand from environmental protestors why they are occupying the site, what their intentions are and how they will react when they come into contact with the cops during the eviciton. Think it's wierd? Not as wierd as those on site find it. One told SchNEWS "We are the ones now lecturing the police. We have become advisors to our own eviciton. It's all rather strange." Or just one big police evidence gatherers exercise.
Avon Ring Road: Site clearance is due to start at any time now on Bristol's answer to the M25, and could last for three months. The largest Local Authority road scheme in the country, the latest section will ironically be built on top of a kilometre of Sustrans premier cycleway - the Bristol and Bath Railway Path. People are needed NOW to stop the work and set up camps. Ring Kebele Cafe 0117 939 9469.
The pumpkin protester now joins a growing list of characters arrested outside Loblaws, including Santa Clause and two elves, the Easter Bunny, three Bunny helpers, Robin Hood and Honest Shawn, all of whom face trials in the next three months. A school teacher also faces trial after being nicked for objecting to being video-taped by Loblaws security while taking a leaflet.
Loblaws is being targeted by TASC because it donates to a Conservative government who've been busy cutting welfare payments and introducing workfare. Loblaws also have food banks at their stores, and ask people to donate food (bought at its stores of course). This goes to the people who've been cut off welfare! Impressive logic. Oh and Loblaws also owes over $56 million in deferred, unpaid taxes - bloody scroungers.
- Alec Reed Chairman Reed International (the 360th richest prison in the country)
Claimant groups are targeting Reed Employment, one of the UK's biggest recruitment agencies, where you do all the work and they take half the wages. Great. New Labour have developed a 'special' relationship with Reed not of course influenced by the companie bunging £100,00 their way before the general election. Reed, are one of the companies involved in the 'New Deal'for under 25's in Hackney and City area of London and have been busy forcing claimants into jobs at rates as low as £3 an hour..
Some Employment Service staff regard this a the thin end of the wedge to eventful privisation, and a meeting has been called by Brighton Claimants Action Group 'Privatisation of the Benefit Service - The Dangers' Tuesday 24th November Kennedy Palace Hotel, Marine Parade 6pm
To find out about the campaign against Reed send an SAE to Haringey Solidarity Group, PO Box 2474, London N8 0HW. Tel 0181 374 5027.
"Overall feeling toward foods with genetically-modified ingredients have
grown dramatically more negative, which is probably the best reason for our
[Monsanto's] declining fortunes in Britain."
All lovers of vegetables-with-teeth and other assorted genetic food will be sorry to hear genetic food giants Monsanto face steadily falling share prices and a Europe-wide collapse in support of their products. The falling share values can be partially attributed to the failure of Monsanto's deal with America Home Products, but also to the fact that the public just aren't swallowing their frankenstein food gobbledegook. This despite a £1m advertising campaign targeting the "upper socio-economic segment" of British society. Greenpeace have got hold of leaked companies memo which say that "Biotechnology and Monsanto face their toughest European test in Britain".
Here are few things Monsanto did not put in their ads. All the quotes from leaked 'The Maturing Crisis' (in Germany):
"The hostility to GM food and agricultural products combines with a high regard for environmental groups in Germany... The Monsanto advertising campaign was, for the most part, overwhelmed by the society-wide collapse of support for genetic engineering in foods... Right now the focus [in Germany] is on nuclear power, but it is not out of the question that some crisis in the food chain could shift the focus to genetic engineering. In that eventuality... Monsanto comes closest to exemplifying the image of the enemy - Shell... For the opposition elites Monsanto has emerged as singularly unscrupulous - a real symbol of corporate greed and power."
Due to the mass local outrage Atomic Energy have pulled out but Omega say they aren't scrapping their plans they're just looking for different nuclear waste. Director Lawson Stebbings confidently reassured locals that the waste would become inert after about 60 years, a little worrying when experts tend to consider that would take thousands of years to occur. All this goes against the promise Welsh councils made in 1982 when they signed an agreement declaring Wales a 'nuclear free zone' promising no dumping, no nuclear weapons storage and no new nuclear plants. This is disaster waiting to happen, the waste will be transported to Trecwn from delightful places such as Sellafield by boats and trains, which crash and sink. Nuclear waste needs to be stored in above ground, dry conditions where it can be monitered (Or better still, not produced in the first place) If it leaks underground it will poison water and soil supplies. You don't need a vivid imagination to realise the horrendous potential.
The Pembrokeshire Anti Nuclear Alliance are planning on keeping a close eye on developments at the plant, maybe even setting up a camp. For more info call 01239 820235.
- Daily Telegraph, May 11
Ebola kills with devastating power, a gruesome assault on the body's organs and body tissue, reducing them to "digested slime". every opening of the body bleeds. Ears, eyes, even pores, The Ebola monkey in Washington was from the Philippines.
The Government this week announced that animals will no longer be used for testing cosmetics after firms agreed to surrender their licenses voluntarily. The ban will spare the suffering of just 1,300 animals a year and campaigners are now switching the spotlight on to the use of animals for testing in medical and veterinary research. Cosmetics wise the next battle is to stop companies shifting their operations abroad-it's estimated that around 30,000 tests are performed on animals throughout the E.U. A recent action in Sweden led to 35000 e-mails being sent and crashing the computer system, whilst in Britain prisoners across the country have been on a forty-eight hour weekend hunger strike in solidarity with Barry.
Read 'Science on Trial: The Hidden Cost of Animal Experiments' (Awareness Publishing) available from Animal Aid 01732 364546
Furriers Calman Links, is getting its fur coated knickers in a right royal twist after its client list -containing names, addresses and phone numbers of every one of its customers-was leaked to Fur Free London. The leak comes before a Week of Acton against the Fur Trade (16-21st November) where fur farms and shops all over Britain will be the target of protests. This is timed to coincide with the annual gassing of mink on the UK's dozen fur farms.
Mrs Betty Ford (not the famous alchoholic) said, "I think these animal rights actitivsts should all be shot. Fur is the most becoming thing a women can wear, but at the moment you cannot wear it because public opinion is so strongly against it."
Fur Free London, BM Box 2248, London, WC1N 3XX 0171 278 3068
Don't forget the next Rebel Alliance meeting, November 25th 7pm upstairs at the Hobgoblin Pub, London Road.
Last updated 4 December 1998
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