Friday, July 27, 2007

Protest to survive

According to the Independent "On Monday, BAA served an injunction on four protest leaders: Joss Garman from Camp for Climate Action and Plane Stupid; Leo Murray, of Plane Stupid; Geraldine Nicholson, of the Heathrow campaign group No Third Runway Action Group; and John Stewart, of Hacan and AirportWatch, an umbrella group of 10 environmental groups such as the RSPB, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the National Trust, whose members total more than five million people. Members of all the groups would be banned from setting up a camp at or in the vicinity of Heathrow and from carrying items including spades, saws, ropes, cables, aerosol cans, balloons, whistles and loudhailers."

Jenny Jones, Green London Assembly Member, is meeting with the police today in an attempt to prevent this blanket ban on environmentalists approaching Heathrow, a ban that has no time limit. Local protest groups who oppose airport expansion have issued a statement which lists some of the areas covered where even local residents will be forced to avoid or risk arrest;

· Platforms 6 and 7 of the railway station known as Paddington Station, London W2;
· All railway trains and carriages known as and/or operating under the names “The Heathrow Express” and “Heathrow Connect”;
· All railway trains and carriages travelling to and from Heathrow Airport;
· All railway trains and carriages operating upon the Piccadilly line of the London Underground System (‘the Piccadilly Line’);
· The M4 Motorway and all service stations between and including junctions 3 and 6;
· The M25 Motorway and all service stations between and including junctions 13 and 15”.

"Christine Shilling, NoTRAG Press Secretary says ‘it’s time BAA got it straight – we need protecting from them – they intend to bulldoze our homes, our schools, destroy our communities, erase our history and ruin our lives. But somehow we are now the threat and not them! It’s an Alice in Wonderland logic.’ "

Siân Berry, Green Party Principal Speaker said of the injunction "The floods this week have shown us that climate change is already taking place - protests like this are crucial. This injunction is not just unworkable, but is also immoral. It is a blatant and heavy handed attempt to intimidate people who care about the environment and prevent them from expressing their concerns."

Hilariously the Greenpeace blog has noticed something odd here "Even more bizarrely, the injunction covers many of BAA's own staff. Their 2006 Corporate Responsibility report (pdf) tells us that BAA sent its airport staff to the RSPB nature reserve at Lochwinnoch "where they spent the day building nest boxes for the native bird population". Which seems to me to fit the description of "persons acting as members, participants or supporters"."

It was already a given that the police will be using anti-terror legislation against legitimate and necessary protest. Whilst the police ask for unlimitted powers to fight terrorism they are simultaneously using these powers against anyone they like.

Shami Chakrabarti, the director of Liberty, said: "Speech and peaceful protest, the lifeblood of democracy, were recklessly curtailed over the last decade by one of the most authoritarian prime ministers in living memory. If our new Prime Minister wishes to turn this around, we urge a swift start."


Camp for Climate Action, HACAN, Clearskies, Plane Stupid, No Third Runway Action Group, Airport Watch, Aviation Environment Federation, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, CPRE, Transport 2000, The Woodland Trust, World Development Movement, National Society for Clean Air and Environmental Protection, National Trust and the RSPB.

Communists the lot of them. My advise is to avoid the camp for climate action at all costs.

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