Copyleft - Information for direct action - Published weekly in Brighton since 1994

Home | Friday 23rd October 2009 | Issue 696

Back to the Full Issue



Over a thousand swoopers descended on Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station over the weekend, their stated aim to shut the whole place down. Ratcliffe is a coal powered station owned by Saruman the Mighty, and Britain’s 3rd largest emitter of carbon.

The swoopers had been well briefed before they got there, equipped with maps of the area, overlaid with a grid. This allowed rear echelon tactical groups to announce the site of swoops via text message. Forming four separate blocks (five if you include the bike block); Take Back the Power (aiming to get to the control room), False Solutions (trying to climb the coal heap), Footsteps to the Future (the ‘safe’ option) and Capitalism is Crisis (‘avin it, decentralised autonomous actions).

People R doing it 4 themselves
Although ten people were nicked first thing in the morning for ‘conspiracy to aggravated trespass’, pretty much everyone else was left to assemble unmolested. SchNEWS spoke to one of the swoopers:

We made our way to Cottagers Woods where the meet up point for both the Take Back the Power and False Solutions group was. We formed up into the five finger formation (a weird shuffling dance designed to evade police lines), we marched straight up to the south est side of the fence. Apart from a helicopter we didn’t really see any police until we got the fence. At around 1pm the first of the Swoopers started cutting the fence with bolt cutters and pulling at the sections with ropes. Police had come prepared with cutters themselves to chop our ropes. They were speedily relieved of them and the device was soon re-deployed against the fence! - then we all retreated to the woods for tea and cake.”

At 3pm the second swoop was called: “This one was bigger - because the block from the gate had joined in, lots of fences started coming down at this point - and people started getting in”. There were autonomous actions all round the power station for them rest of the day. The number of arrests continued to mount as did the casualties. The atmosphere took an ominous turn later in the day at 6pm as a breach in the fence to the north-east by 50 or 60 swoopers was attacked by police dogs - there were around twenty arrests. “In the absence of the media the police felt free to be more aggressive; otherwise they were very conscious that they were under the public eye”.

We all camped out around the power station for a night, dotted around the site. The main camp was even showing films in a marquee. By the time we got up the police had imposed a Section 14 order across the whole site and were attempting to herd everyone towards the main gate of the power station - the designated protest zone”.

There was another attempt to pull fences down along the A453 (running along the bottom edge of the site) leading to the road being blocked. At this point police began arresting people for offences allegedly committed on the Saturday. Altogether there were 57 arrests, everyone was later released although most are on bail on charges including aggravated trespass and criminal damage.

As our source said, “The Climate Swoop was a great curtain-raiser for Copenhagen” - See

*There are literally thousands of photos/videos/blogs of the swoop (although people should perhaps be a little more careful about sticking up photos of them and their un-masked mates smashing stuff)

For a taster go to


Subscribe to SchNEWS: Send 1st Class stamps (e.g. 10 for next 9 issues) or donations (payable to Justice?). Or £15 for a year's subscription, or the SchNEWS supporter's rate, £1 a week. Ask for "originals" if you plan to copy and distribute. SchNEWS is post-free to prisoners.