Archive for the ‘direct action’ Tag

Vestas workers besieged by riot police

Vestas workers besieged by riot police

Workers staging a sit-in at the soon-to-close Vestas wind turbine plant on the Isle of Wight are being starved out by police.

The police, many inside the factory and dressed in riot gear, have denied food to the workers who took over the factory offices last night, to protest about the closure of their factory. The police, operating with highly questionable legal authority, have surrounded the offices, preventing supporters from joining the sit-in, and preventing food from being brought to the protestors.

Around 20 workers at the Vestas Plant in Newport, on the Isle of Wight, occupied the top floor of offices in their factory to protest against its closure which will result in over 500 job losses.

Acting without an injunction, on private property, the police have repeatedly tried to break into the office where the protesting workers have barricaded themselves, and have threatened the workers with arrest for aggravated trespass, despite the fact that no damage has been done to the property where the protest is taking place. Police have also forcibly removed people from private property, another action that is of very questionable legality in the absence of a formal injunction.

The officer involved in the latter action was number 3606. The officer who appears to be in charge is 3115. It may help to let the local police authorities know that we are unhappy with their handling of the situation – in this case the email address to bombard is professional.standards@hampshire.pnn.police.uk

This heavy handed response is the latest in a long line of over-reactions to protest by various UK police forces.

For more updates on the Vestas occupation please visit Save Vestas.

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Turbine factory shuts over sit-in

Turbine factory shuts over sit-in

A sit-in protest by about 25 workers has closed the Vestas wind turbine factory on the Isle of Wight.

Danish company Vestas Windsystems plans to lay off 625 workers at the end of July, despite rising profits.

It said the Newport factory was being closed due to reduced demand for wind turbines in northern Europe.

Those inside the Newport offices say they will stay until “someone listens”. Vestas said a consultation on the site’s future was still on-going.

The workers began their protest at about 1930 BST on Monday.

Reoccupation of the Wyndford www.citystrolls.com

Police caught on tape trying to recruit protester as spy

Police caught on tape trying to recruit protester as spy

Undercover police are running a network of hundreds of informants inside protest organisations who secretly feed them intelligence in return for cash-in-hand payments, according to evidence handed to the Guardian.

In the material, the police claim to have infiltrated a number of environmental groups and say they are receiving information about leaders, tactics and detailed plans of future demonstrations.

The dramatic disclosures are revealed in almost three hours of secretly recorded discussions between covert officers, claiming to be from Strathclyde police, and Matilda Gifford, an activist from the protest group Plane Stupid. The officers attempted to recruit Gifford as a paid spy after she was released on bail after a protest at Aberdeen airport last month.

Gifford, 24, said she recorded the meetings in a bid to expose how police seek to disrupt the legitimate activities of climate change activists. She had two meetings with the officers, who said they were a detective constable and his assistant.

Audio and transcripts can be found here.

Mass Arrest of 114 Climate Activists in Raid

Mass Arrest of 114 Climate Activists in Raid

114 activists were arrested in a 2am police raid on a community centre and school on Sneinton Dale, Nottingham, early on Easter Monday, 13th April 2009. It is believed that a demonstration was planned at the E.On powerstation at Ratcliffe-on-Soar as a spokesperson for the company claimed that it was the “planned target of an organised protest”. The Ratcliffe-on-Soar coal-fired power station is the 3rd largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the UK and has been previously targeted by activists. Similar to past police actions, some of the homes of those arrested have been raided while they were held in custody. It has been confirmed that 6 homes have been raided in Nottingham, including the Sumac Centre, and personal paperwork and computers have been seized. Activists are now being released on bail, to appear in court on 14th July, with no other conditions. More raids are expected.

This police action is reminiscent of the arrests of climate change activists in April 2007 when they were on their way to protest against the M1 widening. While the protestors were held in custody their homes were raided and computers were taken. A year after the arrests the M1 case was thrown out of court.

Workers occupy Visteon Ford car plant in Enfield, North London

Workers at a car parts manufacturing plant in Enfield, North London, have occupied their workplace. The occupation began following news that 600 workers were to lose their jobs at plants in North London, Essex and Belfast.

Photos of the Enfield occupation can be found here, while ongoing coverage is available from libcom.org.

Occupiers have issued a leaflet explaining their action and issuing demands:

We have occupied our factory Ford Visteon workers have occupied our factory since Wednesday 1st April. The previous day in a meeting lasting just 6 minutes we were told that the European company, with plants in Belfast, Basildon and Ponders End, Enfield, was going into administration and that we were to leave – without our wages being paid. Personal possessions could be collected the next day, but at 10 o’clock the factory was locked closed. Workers had already occupied the Belfast factory.

We demand what is due to us The 200 workers who are part of the Ford subsidiary want the same conditions they have always had via “mirror contracts” with the parent company. Up to now they don’t know when they will get wages due, and their pensions are to be controlled by the government Pensions Protection Fund. This means a maximum of £9,000 payout, and much reduced conditions! Some of the women and men have 40 yrs service!

The whole situation has been created for news management – announce it during the G20 and it will get buried in the media. And this is largely what’s happened. The move is to save Visteon USA money at our expense.

But unexpectedly Unite union members have taken determined action that bosses thought they had eliminated years ago.

The workers want their existing terms respected. Ford Visteon can’t be allowed to avoid their responsibility. So far they have tried legal intimidation but have even managed to mess this up.

As well as proper redundancy payments, some are suggesting that the skills of the workers who can make anything in plastic, should be used to make increasingly needed parts for green products – bike and trailer parts, solar panels, turbines, etc. Government investment in this rather than throwing money at bankers could be profitable & save jobs in the long term.

On Saturday, supporters converged for a solidarity protest with the occupiers. Today the leader of the union will be demanded to appear in court, while in Belfast, the sit-in continues and messages of support come in from around the UK and further afield. An interview with some of the occupiers and workers can be found here.

What I Saw: Protestors tell of G20 police violence

This week saw protests around the G20 summit being held in London. While world leaders met and talked, protests took place in the City of London, one of the biggest financial centres in the world.

During the protests, clashes took place between police and protestors. First hand reports are being collated at G20 Police: What I Saw, while coverage of the protests themselves can be found at the Indymedia feature on the G20.

Village mob thwarts Google Street View car

Village mob thwarts Google Street View car

A spate of burglaries in a Buckinghamshire village had already put residents on the alert for any suspicious vehicles. So when the Google Street View car trundled towards Broughton with a 360-degree camera on its roof, villagers sprang into action. Forming a human chain to stop it, they harangued the driver about the “invasion of privacy”, adding that the images that Google planned to put online could be used by burglars.

As police made their way to the stand-off, the Google car yielded to the villagers. For now, Broughton remains off the internet search engine’s mapping service.

It was Paul Jacobs who provided the first line of resistance. “I was upstairs when I spotted the camera car driving down the lane,” he said. “My immediate reaction was anger; how dare anyone take a photograph of my home without my consent? I ran outside to flag the car down and told the driver he was not only invading our privacy but also facilitating crime.”

He then ran round the village knocking on doors to rouse fellow residents. While the police were called, the villagers stood in the road, not allowing the car to pass. The driver eventually did a U-turn and left.

Camp protesters ‘sleep-deprived’

Camp protesters ‘sleep-deprived’

Police have been accused of using sleep-deprivation to intimidate climate change protesters in Kent.

Activists at last year’s Climate Camp gathering at Kingsnorth were woken up by The Clash’s I Fought The Law and the Hi-de-Hi! theme, a report claimed.

The Liberal Democrats, who presented the study to Parliament, renewed their calls for an inquiry into the policing.

Kent Police said the team responsible for playing loud music inappropriately was from another police force.

About 1,000 demonstrators attended the camp in August to protest against plans for a new coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth.

The Lib Dems said policing was disproportionate and outrageous.

“The camp started with searches carried out on a massive scale – in my view all unlawful,” said Francis Wright, a co-author of the report and lawyer for Camp for Climate Action.

New York University occupied

Students at NYU have occupied their campus in solidarity with student occupations around the world and have issued a list of demands, covering union issues, student problems, solidarity with Gaza, and the activities of the university itself. Their demands were issued alongside this solidarity statement:

We, the students of Take Back NYU! declare our solidarity with the student occupations in Greece, Italy, and the United Kingdom, as well as those of the University of Rochester, the New School for Social Research, and with future occupations to come in the name of democracy and student power. We stand in solidarity with the University of Gaza, and with the people of Palestine.

Last night a solidarity demonstration resulted in clashes with the police as the occupation continued to grow in numbers. For more updates visit http://www.takebacknyu.org