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The weekly newsletter from Justice? - Brighton's direct action collective

Issue 627 Articles:

Only Fuels & Horseplay

Palestine: Occupation From Within

Taking Pole Position

Dodgy Export-Import Business


...And Finally...


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Home | Friday 4th April 2008 | Issue 627

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Vaguely sane people are now well acquainted with the biggest hoax of the day - the corporate/governmental response to climate change. Their solutions to the planet’s desperate situation inevitably involve increasing growth and consumption, with the biggest joke of all being energy policy: not only ramping up the nuclear programme (see SchNEWS 618) but by building loads of new coal fired power stations (one a week opening in China, loads going up in the US, and see SchNEWS 623 for the UK attitude). Yes coal, that single most polluting fossil fuel of all - the burning of which from a couple of centuries ago onwards, started all this climate choking in the first place!

So this year, activists around the world decided to have another go at pointing out the madness of it all and one day in particular seemed most appropriate: April Fools Day. All it needed was rebranding for the occasion (set your phasers to pun) as: Fossil Fuels Day.

And pranksters from every global corner rose to the challenge and came out in force. Here’s the potted SchNEWS round-up of some many climate-in-jeopardy japes:


WALES: early-bird activists occupied and halted work at one of the biggest opencast coal mines in Europe at Ffos-y-Fran, near Methyr Tydfil. From 6am they barricaded the entrance to the site, with several climbing onto the roof of the coal washery and others chaining themselves to machinery. Later they unfurled a 36 metre banner across the main building saying ‘Coal: the black hole in UK climate policy.’

This opencast mine is within 36 metres of local homes – which would be illegal in England or Scotland, and no compensation has been offered for those affected. After being delayed by almost 20 years due to local protests, it is operated by Miller Argent Ltd and will mine 10.8 million tonnes of coal, causing over 30 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. Use of coal power stations has risen by 10% in the past decade, giving the UK higher CO2 emissions than ever. For more see

Two days later (3rd), people from Bristol, Bath, Cardiff and Oxford joined forces to successfully blockade Aberthaw power station, Wale's worst polluter. Some locked on to the main gates, halting all deliveries for over five hours and causing tailbacks of a mile and a half. Unamused cops responded by nicking nearly everyone.

NORFOLK: Over twenty activists, at times applauded by locals, blocked both ends of the road leading to the UK’s largest off shore gas terminal at Bacton in Norfolk, where 40% of the UK’s domestic gas comes in. Whilst unable to take on the heavily militarised facility directly, they were in place from 6.30am, preventing access for construction workers, deliveries and shift workers. As they heard that cops were arresting just about everyone at one end, the other group decided to call in a day and managed to sneak past a roadblock, getting waved through like a recreation of the movie Leon... before their van was later pulled over and they were all nicked. 19 have now been bailed to return to the area on May 2nd – just one day after the date of another callout for action at the terminal...


LONDON: On the South Bank, one bunch of visionary activists launched a new brand of thirst-quenching drink, EV-EON - Unnaturally Carbonated Water. The planet-cooling-but-still-profitable refreshment idea was to use carbon die-oxide captured at the planned new E.ON run coal power station at Kingsnorth (see SchNEWS 623) to make fizzy water in order to store that carbon safely inside consumers – as long as they remember not to burp or breathe it out!

Any confused punters were swiftly educated about the great carbon capture greenwash scam. Hailed as the ‘clean’ way to burn coal – the technology is nowhere near ready for commercial use (if ever). It was trotted out by the government as justification for going ahead with the Kingsnorth plant, even though they then instantly caved in when E.ON whinged that it wasn’t profitable enough to implement (see SchNEWS 623). For more about the spoof product and some funny madvertising, see

Before all this, Rising Tide had kicked off a day early (31st) by visiting the Football Association headquarters to give them a red card for accepting sponsorship from E.ON.

NOTTINGHAM: E.ON’s offices were targeted by 30 people. First thing in the morning, activists covered in green paint - human examples of greenwash - locked on to the front entrance, stopping workers from getting in to start another day’s planet-bashing. Police later broke up the demo and arrested two.


NEWCASTLE: Howay the activists who blocked the gates of a Hummer dealership with a ‘Car Culture Kills the Climate’ banner. Even though persistent workers were allowed through, one determined job nut rammed into the people stood across the gates with two ending up on the bonnet of the car after being hit. Cops turned up - only to arrest the protesters for criminal damage to the car! - confiscating all their cameras and video tapes as ‘evidence’ into the bargain. In a calm, proportional response to the threat, they later raided both arrestees houses taking computers and ripping up floorboards.

EDINBURGH: Tens of gas guzzling 4×4’s and swanky sports cars in posh areas of the city were left feeling a little flat after activists attacked them armed only with humble mung beans, placing them in the tyre valves - causing the slow, hissing emission of tyre air.

LANCASTER: ‘Rush’ hour drivers gridlocked at the town’s busiest roundabout were confronted with a banner reading simply: “Worried about Climate Change? Stuck in Traffic? Get a Bike!

LONDON: Rising Tide ruffians occupied the offices of Y&R, the lovely ad-men behind the latest Land Rover ads (not to mention another new campaign for arms company BAe Systems). They drew attention to the brains behind the spin by distributing a spoof press release claiming Y&R were proud to be dreaming up publicity for a new civilian version of the harrier jump jet. The two creativists involved were arrested. Meanwhile an audience of cockneys and polar bears outside a posh Porsche showroom were treated to a mock ‘apology’ from the car company, for damaging the environment and lobbying against the higher congestion charge for super-gas-guzzlers.

There were also occupations at an Esso in PLYMOUTH, Shell and Waitrose in SHEFFIELD, and a Shell in SOUTHAMPTON.


CAMBRIDGE: A Royal Bank of Scotland branch in Hills Road was occupied as protesters climbed on to the canopy of the building with a banner re-branding the bank as “RBS – The Oil and Gas Bank: Climate Criminal”.

WORTHING: Activists turned to high street theatre to shout about the climate crimes of RBS, Natwest and Thomson travel agents, after which a upset polar bear went into the local Natwest branch and closed down his account in protest.

And there’s not even space to tell you about some of the other many actions and spoofery all over the UK, including in Hull, Hastings, Glasgow and Norwich. Or anti-shopping actions by clowns in Edinburgh and fancy-dressers in sleepy Leamington Spa. Not to mention the big Fossil Fools day parade in central Manchester... or the anti-Newhaven incinerator actions in Brighton. So to all you jesters out there - we think that’s what you call a good days work.

* To prove that Brits aren’t the only one’s with a sense of humour, there were similar Fool’s day high jinks in Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and America...

For fuller reports on all the april 1st antics see




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