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News in Brief - Resisting December 4, 2010

News in Brief - Resisting

- Take Back Wanstead Flats
- Ratcliffe on Trial - e.on on Trial
- Geoengineering conference picket
- Lewisham Town Hall stormed over cuts

Take Back Wanstead Flats

On Sunday 21st November, the 'Take Back Wanstead Flats' event was held in the area where the proposed Olympics police base would be. People used police tape to mark out the proposed boundary of the base, which was surprisingly large even to many already involved in the campaign and knowledgeable of the area. The day saw hundreds of people attend, with a tug-of-war between campaigners and 'police' staged. The film collective Spectacle took some footage on the day, with locals talking about their feelings regarding the supposed 'temporary' police base plans, in which most of them say the land is local, common land and should not be taken away without their permission. See Spectacle's wesbite: www.spectacle.co.uk. The 'Take Back Wanstead Flats' day was part of a broader campaign called 'Save Wanstead Flats'. If the police base goes ahead, it will set a legal precedent.

The 'Save Wanstead Flats' campaign completely opposes plans by the Metropolitan Police to base its Olympics operational centre on Wanstead Flats in 2012. They oppose the dangerous precedent the City of London Corporation proposes to set by attempting to amend the Epping Forest Act of 1878, which protects Wanstead Flats from enclosure and development, so that the police’s plans can be pushed through. They demand a proper explanation about how Wanstead Flats was chosen over
the Olympic site itself and why there has been absolutely no consultation with local residents.

The campaign is calling for people to object to the planning application that has been submitted to Redbridge Council. Go to http://bit.ly/wansteadflatsplanning or email
quoting the application number 2643/10 before 8th December. Email the campaign on:

Links: http://savewansteadflats.org.uk

Ratcliffe on Trial - e.on on Trial

On the first day of the trail, supporters gathered outside Nottingham Crown Court holding signs saying "I would stop emissions too".

The arrests were thought to be the biggest ever pre-emptive arrest of environmental activists. The defendants are charged with Conspiracy to Commit Aggravated Trespass for planning to safely shut down Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station for a week and in doing so stopping 150,000 tonnes of CO2 from being emitted. While they admit the intent, they maintain that they are not guilty of of a crime.

The defence will show that the activists acted out of necessity, to prevent death and serious injury. According to official sources, 300,000 people per year already lose their lives due to the effects of climate change and half a billion are at "extreme risk".
(www.preventionweb.net/english/professional/publications/v.php?id=9668)

Rebecca Quinn, 32, who was one of those arrested in April but later had the charges dropped, said, "Climate Change is hitting those least responsible for it the hardest. Low-lying island nations are already seeing salt water encroach on their farm land, and in recent years we have seen an increasing frequency of extreme weather events. Coal is the dirtiest method of electricity generation, and must be stopped. To avoid a climate crisis, we must put people before profit. In the face of government apathy and the failure of the Copenhagen conference, it is ordinary people taking direct action who are desperately trying to avoid a bleak future of flooding, drought, crop failure and water shortages."

James Hansen, the high profile scientist who is the Head of NASA's Goddard Institute, is one of the many expert witnesses who will testify during the trial at Nottingham Crown Court. The leading climatologist will guide the jury through the complexities of climate science and explain how coal
burning is jeopardizing the lives of millions.

Caroline Lucas MP, Leader of the Green Party will give expert evidence about the failure to achieve action on climate change domestically and within the EU parliament through more conventional political means. It will be argued that the defendants had no alternative but to physically stop the power station emitting CO2, having exhausted other channels such as lobbying, campaigning, and attending marches.

The defendants are a diverse mix of people of varying ages from 21 to 45. Living across the UK, they work in teaching, science, computing, and many other areas. 114 people were originally arrested on 13th April 2009, but most subsequently had their charges dropped.

Anyone in the Nottingham area who would like to meet the defendants or help out can come along to the SUMAC centre (NG7 6HX) each evening after
the trial at 7pm for dinner at People's Kitchen.

Link: http://ratcliffeontrial.org/blog


Geoengineering conference picket

On Monday 8th November there was a picket held outside the Royal Society's geoengineering conference at the Royal Society building in central London. Geoengineering is the deliberate large-scale manipulation of the earth's climate with the supposed aim of tackling climate change. However, many people see it as a distraction from mitigation and a corporate technofix 'solution' to keep people believing there is a quick-fix 'solution'. The ETC group have recently brought out a report called 'Geopiracy' outling various arguments as to why geoengineering makes the problem
worse, for example by feeding into the intellectual property apparatus, making money for a few individuals and corporations and taking research money away from useful renewable technology projects. The report can be downloaded here: www.etcgroup.org/en/issues/biopiracy

Activists braved the rain and gave out flyers and put up a banner saying 'our planet is not your experiment' from the 'Hands Off Mother Earth' (HOME) campaign, which is a global campaign to defend 'our one precious home, planet earth, against the threat of geoengineering experiments'.

The two day conference with academics and interested parties had a full timetable of sessions about the science and politics behind geoengineering. People chose to picket the conference, because it aimed to contribute to the process of legitimising the technofixation ideology of geoengineering. The ETC group's 'geopiracy' report also criticises the role of the Royal Society.

Link: www.handsoffmotherearth.org/2010/11/royal-society-our-planet-is-not-your-experiment


Lewisham Town Hall stormed over cuts

On Monday 29th November, there was a demonstration outside Lewisham town hall in south-east London timed to coincide with when the councillors would be voting on the £60m cuts to the council budget. Lewisham was the first council in London to vote on the cuts, with Camden to be the second on Wednesday 1st December and all the others to follow in quick succession.

Police arrested several people outside Lewisham town hall as hundreds of demonstrators tried to force their way into the council meeting, with come people managing to get in. There were hundreds of people outside, with large numbers of students from Goldsmiths College in New Cross. Police used horses, called in TSG and cordoned off the area. Only council had only allowed 40 people to attend the meeting. Although many more wanted to be there.

A YouTube video showed much pushing and shoving outside the town hall as
police barred protesters holding "Fight the Cuts" placards and chanting "Let us in, let us in."

Darren Johnson, a Green councillor, said he voted against the cuts along with two Conservatives. The Labour majority voted in favour while the Liberal Democrats abstained.

Local councils face large budget cuts after the coalition government significantly reduced local government funding in October's comprehensive spending review. Lewisham has to find savings of £60m in its annual £71m budget over the next three years.

Actions are planned for each London borough as councillors vote on our future.

Links:
www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/nov/29/lewisham-council-protest,
www.counterfire.org/index.php/news/158-fighting-the-cuts/8199-lewisham-labour-council-passes-con-dem-cuts-budget-as-riot-police-battle-protesters

 
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