History is repeating itself
This is fascism, how
they [the Israeli soldiers] are dealing with people, detaining them
in big schools and interrogating each one, writing numbers on them
are terrified. The Israeli soldiers are shooting everything. Life
here has totally stopped; its dead. This is terrorism against
civilians. It is organised terrorism by the state
this is an
organised war against a whole people who have no weapons to resist
tanks, and helicopters and F16s. - Ashraf, a Palestinian
imprisoned in his home in Ramallah.
Its Monday in Beit Jala, a small town near Bethlehem and
150 people from the International Solidarity Movement and dozens
of Palestinians are marching peacefully in the deserted streets.
They are attempting to visit families besieged in their homes, before
Israeli tanks block their path. Two of the marchers start to move
towards the tanks with their hands up in order to negotiate, but
soldiers open fire at both the crowd and the reporters that are
there. Eight people are injured, one seriously.
Other activists are holed up with Yasser Arafat in his headquarters.
Mario Lill from Brazils Landless Workers Movement (MST)
is one of those who are acting as a human shield and has become
a sort of war correspondent broadcasting live to Brazil. Others
such as anti-globalisation French farmer Jose Bove were arrested
in the compound by Israeli troops.
Wednesday and two thousand people including internationals, Israeli
and Arab civilians gather at a checkpoint near Ramallah trying to
get humanitarian aid delivered to the besieged town. Soldiers fire
tear gas and baton charge people. One of the protestors was Yehudith
Harel Two Israeli faces surfaced today. One is the decent
and humane face of the Israeli Anti-war movement an alliance
of Israeli citizens - Jews and Arabs, adamant to struggle together
for Justice for the two peoples. The second is the ugly and brutal
face of the Occupation mentality and practices threatening to crush
People from around the world have been volunteering in the occupied
territories of the West Bank for over a year, taking non-violent
direct action like clearing roadblocks and acting as willing human
shields to protect the Palestinian people. Invited by Palestinian
activists, these international supporters live and work in solidarity
with them a similar call out to the one made by the Zapatistas
in Chiapas, Mexico. People from abroad can often get away with a
lot more when protesting, partly because they have the eyes of the
international press on them - until Monday that was, when live ammunition
was fired at the international observers for the first time.
As for the Palestinians, even the doctors, nurses and paramedics
are being used by the Israeli army as human shields or forced to
strip and sit on their knees at gunpoint in the streets. Israeli
forces have stopped ambulances delivering aid or picking up the
wounded and are detaining the Palestinian Red Crescent society and
aid workers. 120 Palestinian paramedics have been killed in the
last 18 months.
As Israeli tanks roll in to Palestinian settlements, they destroy
telephone lines and cut electricity and water supplies. All men
between the ages of 16 and 50 are rounded up. Some homes are destroyed,
others have their windows blown out and walls dynamited as soldiers
move from home to home. Soldiers occupy other homes forcing the
residents to live together in a single room, with little or no access
to telephone lines, news coverage or even food and water.
An entire civilian population is being openly terrorised after
over 50 years of occupation by the Israeli State.
Michael Ben-Yair, former Israel attorney general said, The
Intifada is the Palestinian peoples war of national liberation.
We enthusiastically chose to become a colonist society, ignoring
international treaties, expropriating lands, transferring settlers
from Israel to the occupied territories, engaging in theft and finding
justification for all these activities
we established an apartheid
Lev Grinberg (Director of the Humphrey Institute for Social Research
at Ben Gurion University) sums up the situation: Suicide bombs
killing innocent citizens must be unequivocally condemned; they
are immoral acts, and their perpetrators should be sent to jail.
But they cannot be compared to State terrorism carried out by the
Israeli Government. The former are individual acts of despair of
a people that sees no future, vastly ignored by an unfair and distorted
international public opinion. The latter are cold and rational
decisions of a State and a military apparatus of occupation, well
equipped, financed and backed by the only superpower in the world.
* Boycott Israeli goods protests happening around the country
this Saturday (6th) including: Waitrose, Western Road, Brighton
11am; Sainsburys, Queens St. Cardiff 10am; Marks and Spencers
Oxford St, Swansea Midday. To order boycott leaflets and stickers
and find out events happening in your area email: email@example.com
or call the Palestine Solidarity Campaign 020 7700 6192
* Saturday 13th April National rally and demonstration for Palestine.
Assemble 2pm, Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square. Tel 020 7272 2888.
* To find out about more about the International Solidarity
* Bypass the corporate media
* Nearly 400 Israeli Defence Forces reservists are refusing
to serve in the occupied territories. Read their reasons why www.yesh-gvul.org
While Palestinians are being shot dead by Israeli troops
and Americans wage War on Terrorism BAE Systems,
the world biggest arms trading company, are laughing all the
way to the bank as their share prices have increased by 13.8%.
Why not congratulate them at their AGM on May 3rd. To get
involved, contact: Campaign Against Arms Trade 0207 2810297
CRAP ARREST OF THE WEEK
For selling saucy postcards
A couple from Hookers for Weed were nicked on Monday
for selling postcards at Camden in London. The Medical Marijuana
Barbie cards featured a marijuana leaf where the traditional fig
leaf would cover. This offended the Polices sensitive natures
and the couple were banged up for six hours and charged with Obstructing
Free Passage along a Highway (sic). Mind you, last time the
group protested, a woman stripped off on top of a bus stop at Oxford
* Bournemouth has become the latest city to open a Dutch-style
cannabis café . Police are yet to act, go down fast and leave
real slowly. www.whspliff.net/Bournemouth.html
* There will be cannabis festivals all around the world in over
200 cities on 4th May www.schmoo.co.uk/cannabis/
Before we knew it we were all inside the perimeter
face to face with the detainees, only a few metres of
steel railing and razor wire separating us. This was an incredibly
emotional moment, people were crying, reaching through to touch
hands, I will never forget those peoples faces.
quite suddenly some of the men managed to break some of the fencing,
it seemed to actually be quite weak. One by one they clambered out,
stage diving down onto the excited mob of protesters. Still the
police seemed to be paralysed, maybe they couldnt believe
what was happening. The escapees melted quickly into the throng
of people, swapping t- shirts and hats and running with us in big
groups back to camp. Miranda.
Last weekend an asylum seekers detention centre in the Australian
desert was broken into by 1000 protesters, 50 detainees
managed to escape and a few are still unaccounted for. This
was part of the Woomera 2002 Festival Of Freedom a tour of
actions held around the desert town of Woomera 500kms north of Adelaide
which was to call in on the detention centre, then move onto nearby
uranium mines. Working with the local Kokatha and Arabunna peoples,
this festival was to combine the issues of uranium,
refugees and indigenous land rights: Rebecca Bear Wingfield of the
Kokatha people said that aboriginal people did not want the refugees
to be imprisoned on their land, and also pointed out the connections:
the uranium mined ends up as bombs and depleted uranium weapons
is used in wars which create more refugees.
In the days leading up to the protest a camp had built up near
the detention centre and on Friday protesters took cutting tools
to the centre and passed them to the detainees to help free themselves.
That night the campers were huddled in tents with asylum seekers
and heard horror stories about both Woomera and the places the people
had come from. The next day protesters tried to move detainees out,
some succeeded, but others were caught and are up on charges of
aiding and abetting escapees and bizarrely found themselves
sharing cells with asylum seekers. Detainees claim that tear gas
is used in the centre, and after the breakout some who had contact
with the protestors were tortured and beaten.
Since 1994 the Australian asylum policy has been to bang up all
asylum seekers kindly housing them mainly in remote desert
centres such as Woomera where people can wait for years for a verdict,
and many are now prepared to risk possible deportation and death
rather than suffer the conditions. Already this year Woomera has
seen riots, hunger strikes, suicide attempts and people sewing their
lips together in protest about their treatment.
Check out the following web sites for more info:
Yarls Wood detention centre in Bedfordshire which was the scene of
the fire in February (see SchNEWS 348) closed
this week. Unfortunately this wasnt due to a change of asylum
policy by the government, but a result of the insurers whacking up
their premiums. Just to guarantee that they wont be out of pocket
over Februarys incident though the insurers have put in a claim
for £97million against Bedfordshire Police Authority. www.ncadc.org.uk
SchNEWS in brief
- Organisers of this years Mayday Festivities are getting more
than their fair share of police attention. Police have successfully
manage to persuade web hosts not to host their site www.ourmayday.org.uk
the site is currently up and running but Met Police are threatening
to raid the current host. The May Day Festival of Alternatives
runs from 16th April-6th May.
- Mayday Meeting Sunday April 7th to discuss actions, ideas, affinity.
The London Action Resource Centre (LARC), Fieldgate and Parfett
Street, E1, 2pm, Tel 07786 716 335 firstname.lastname@example.org
- No Sweat Comedy Cabaret fundraiser for Indonesian workers
featuring Rob Newman and Atilla the Stokebroker, next Friday (10th),
7pm The Bread and Roses, 68A Clapham Manor Street SW4 Tel 07904
431 959 www.nosweat.org.uk
- The 20th is an alternative health/healing day at the Radical
Dairy, 12-6pm 47 Kynaston Road, Stoke Newington, London, N16
- The history of foxhunting and land ownership in
Britain, which digs all the dirt on the Countryside Alliance
is a new pamphlet available for £2.50 inc postage RPM Publications,
BCM Box 3328, London WC1N 3XX 07967 886257 www.red-star-research.org.uk
- The Council meeting to decide the future of the Brighton Station
site has been postponed. Theres still a Dragon and Drums
demo with samba band this weekend against Sainsburys
meet 1:30pm Saturday x-Harvest Forestry building New England Road
- Plans to widen the A303 road near Stonehenge are currently
in the pipeline. An alliance is now forming to try and make sure
its not built www.savestonehenge.org.uk
- Next Monday is Roma Nation Day it will be marked in this
country with a celebration march starting at noon in Victoria
Tower Gardens, next to the the houses of Parliament. Bring refreshments
for the picnic in the park and flowers for the ceremony email@example.com
- End Factory Farming - before it ends us a rally and march
against factory farming. Meet Noon at the level, Brighton. Sat
13th 01273 777688
- Women, Peace and Security a meeting with speakers from
International Alert and Widows for Peace at University of London
Union building, Malet Street, 2-4.30pm, 14th April Tel:020 8467
- Close Down Harmondsworth Detention Centre 11.30am - 1.30pm
15th April email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- The End Of The Road Direct action gathering to build
resistance to the new roads program and the corporate dominance
it fuels. Is happening from 19-20th April at the Sumac Centre,
245 Gladstone street, Nottingham, NG7 6HX. Info 07813
- Stop Huntington Animal Cruelty week of action 20-28th
April 0845 4580630
- Theres a National Day of action against Profiteering
Employment Agencies on the 24th April the 4 anniversiary
of Simon Jones death. The Simon Jones Memorial Campaign
are asking supporters across the country to mark the anniversary
of Simons death by demonstrating, in whatever way they see
fit, at an employment agency in their area that profits from casualisation.
Phone (01273) 685913 email@example.com
- To keep up-to-date with whats going on check out the
party and protest section on our
A day of Action for Mark Barnsley is planned for Saturday April
13th Meet at 11am at Meadowhall bus station near Sheffield. (M1
Junc:34) to picket the Home Office Minister David Blunkett at his
surgery. Mark is currently serving 12 years in prison after being
beaten up by 15 drunk students. Now in his eighth year of his sentance
hes not been eligible for early release because he continues
to maintain his innocence. www.freemarkbarnsley.com
The Kurdish New Year (Newroz) was celebrated with fires and dances
in traditional Kurdish dress towns and cities in Turkey. Millions
of people demanded the use of the Kurdish language, the abolition
of the death penalty, the recognition of their cultural identity,
and universal democratic rights and support was voiced for the national
leadership of Abdullah Ocalan and for his immediate release.
Turkey responded in its usual manner. In Istanbul and Mersin, they
outlawed Newroz, police armed with tanks, water-cannons and plastic
bullets attacked and killed two people, with more than one thousand
arrested and hundreds hurt. Threats and intimidation, house arrests,
confiscation of the Kurdish colours and arrests for talking in the
Kurdish dialect as well as obstruction of speakers were ordered
in many of the towns. In one instance police threw a hand grenade
into an apartment. Despite all this, there were a greater number
of revellers than previous years.
36 people were nicked on the first day of the Peat Alert Protests
at Hatfield Moor which started on Monday 25th March, with more during
the next four days. The threat of the four day blockade to the Easter
DIY sales of peat was so much that US-based Scotts contacted groups
to see if there was anything they could do to stop it. Er, how about
stop digging. Scotts is due to phase out work at Hatfield and neighbouring
Thorne Moors over the next two years, but continuing extraction
at Hatfield could mean it will be too late to save the moor. Once
again a big police presence stepped in to protect corporate interests
with helicopter, vans with cops in riot gear and this time a section
14, making it an arrestable offence to get on the road that needed
to be occupied to stop the lorries. After some scrambling over the
moors, the road was secured for a few hours stopping all traffic
to and from the works, this continued with some peat drainage filling
done on the moors for extra fun. Peat Pixies also helped delay Scotts
operations after sneaking in the end of last week and slashing and
ruining thousands of prepared peat bags. www.peatalert.org.uk
of Cupid in Calcutta, India have won a victory for passion. The
Lovers Organisation for Voluntary Exhibition (LOVE) have been protesting
for more space in the city for courting couples to give each other
mutual admiration, without being disturbed by police and passers-by.
After hugging and kissing at the Mayors office for the right to
snogging space, the local mayor Subrata Mukherjee has now agreed
to let lovers enjoy each others company in free love
zones along the river Ganges The Mayor warned however that
these zones are for lovers not love makers. LOVE says their campaign
will not end here, it wants a public library and a consultancy to
be set up for lovers, and legal recognition of love letters written
Mums the word. Honest.
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