In the Autumn newsletter we mentioned that the local council were about to hold a review of their policy of always agreeing to police requests for banning orders under the Public Order Act and the CJA. This was to have been a round table discussion with 'all interested parties'. When it appeared that no interested parties other than from 'their' side were being invited, George of Robin's Greenwood Gang contacted them as an intermediary and suggested some names from 'our' side. People connected with travellers, free festivals or the Campaign were rejected, but George, Rollo of the Glastonbury Druids and ex-mayor Tim Abbott went to the meeting, which eventually took place in November. The Chief Constable turned up, giving the meeting some credibility as he is the one who actually makes the decisions in Wiltshire. The core of the problem was not tackled, as areas of the past were ruled out of order for discussion, but it appears that some of the rabid hostility to Solstice events is slowly calming down.
Councillors seem to be mainly concerned with finding a way of saving money on police operations. Some are under the impression that allowing a fenced, Reading style commercial festival miles away would make the problem disappear, with the police being paid from the protection rackets they run at these events. They do seem to be more ready to start accepting access to the Stones for celebrations, but are reluctant to look at realistic ways of managing this without repeating the mistakes of '88. There has to be somewhere to go for people who are not members of well defined groups, have heard the Stones are going to be to some extent open, and want to come, celebrate the Solstice, and maybe take part in a ceremony in the Stones. And this somewhere has to be generally acceptable or people will just find another for themselves. Very few want to return to the 1984 festival where it left off, with problems that needed tackling. But the spirit of the free festival lives on, and many still believe that with the experience of varied events in the '90s and without fanatical opposition, a free event could be a workable solution that even the locals could accept.
One compromise being suggested is for a non-profit making but licensed event, with 'reasonable' ticket prices covering costs only, with site jobs for those who cannot afford even that. Something perhaps along the lines of the Big Green Gathering and similar events.
Another is to have a main event some distance away and a campsite of minimum impact - no vehicles - acoustic music only etc, in the sacred landscape itself for those mainly interested in ceremonies in the Stones.
The talks so far seem to have achieved little in practical terms, and were seen as a possibly useful first step towards more productive discussions. A next stage might have been talks between facilitators of Urban Free Festivals, BGG etc and council officers to find out what options are worth pursuing and what local concerns need working on. However the first step was the only step, and as far as we know the review will be taken no further before the police apply for next year's orders. George will be trying to move what he calls the 'peace process' forwards in the meantime, and we would welcome any feedback on what people think our position should be.
The authorities at the meeting apparently said they weren't happy that we continue to list the Solstice Free Festival annually (surprise!), and that removing it might help with the processing of the peace. We have been fobbed off so many times by false declarations of good intentions by various authorities in the past that we would take a lot of convincing on that one!
The Campaign holds monthly meetings in London from Sept to May, to which all are welcome. We always need help with - money, stamps, stationery, artwork, info and dates of events, gigs, demos, festivals, gatherings, etc.
We also welcome letters or articles for possible inclusion in the newsletter to give a wider base of views expressed.
Newbury Friends of the Earth and The Third Battle of Newbury P.O. BOX 5520, Newbury, Berks. RG14 7YW. Tel: 01635 45544 Fax: 01635 45545 24 hr info: 01635 550552 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org URL: http://www.gn.apc.org/newbury Immediate release Tuesday 3rd December 1996 Press Release - Advanced Notice Reunion Rally at Newbury Bypass - one year on ENDS
EDITORS NOTES For further information contact Andrew Wood at the above telephone number. A more detailed press release to follow on Monday 5th Jan. 1997.)))
In February of this year eight thousand people attended a mass Rally opposing the Newbury Bypass. Those returning are likely to be shocked at the destruction of some of the finest countryside in southern England. Most striking is the ten foot high security fencing topped with razor wire which lines the nine mile route and forms numerous compounds which are guarded by security guards.
People attending the Rally will arrive at Newbury train station from 11.00 a.m. and walk along the Bypass route to the Rally site. The Rally which starts st 2.00 p.m will feature several speakers including Charles Secrett, Director of Friends of the Earth. After the Rally people will decorate the bypass fence and link hands around a compound. A two minute silence will be observed once the human chain is formed.
The linking of hands and decoration of fencing echoes the 'Embrace the Base' demonstration in December 1982 at RAF Greenham Common, near Newbury. At that time cruise missiles were being stationed at Greenham Common.
24 HOUR INFOMATION HOTLINE: 01635 550 552
The other will be heard in February and concerns the so-called 'exclusion zone'. Three people have accepted cautions, but five others will be contesting charges of being illegal processions. It is hoped that the nonsense that underpins the making and use of these orders will be exposed in court for the first time.
The results of both cases should be known around the time of year that the police usually start applying for orders.
Salisbury's Magistrates have issued a witness summons against Walter Girven, Witchfinder General and Chief Constable of Wiltshire to appear in court over a Solstice trial.
Girven signs the orders that allows the police to impose para-martial law and as such can be compelled to come to court as a material witness. Girven has been on a power trip for years, and can expect a fiery cross- examination from anyone defending themselves which is what is happening.
Trial date 18th Feb, for more info phone Hengist McStone on 0973 716 310.
======================== Letter From Karelia (Fri13Dec1996) ------------------------------------ Dear Stonehengerists, Saw that Hillsborough drama/documentary on telly last week - horrorshow - I didn't believe all of it but empathised - the ambulances locked out - horrorshow then fast cycled across London - spitting at a van that almost. ---------------------------------- Hitched from 9.30pm to 11.30pm September Equinox but no lift so last bus home to Wandsworth EcoVillage (my best summer since 1995( at least!)) Hope to get to Stones for Dec Solstice Don't relish a windy wet cold outside- (bet Arthur'd rather be out+wet tho) -------------------------------- Got me a new free website at www.geocities.com/SoHo/9000, dicenews.htm world-wide... .....your cousin,,,,,,, .....Dice George Lightshow.... =======99% fluffy =========
A group of consumers, students and a scientist carried out an action in Bath to increase public awareness of the dangers of consuming genetically engineered soya last Saturday 14th to coincide with the international day of action against genetic engineering. This local action, organised by Bath Eco- Futures group, consisted of dressing up in white lab-coats with the slogan "Genetic Engineering? NO THANKS!" written around a circle within which was drawn an angry, evil-looking genetically modified plant.
After assembling outside Waitrose they gave out about 1000 leaflets from WEN and Greenpeace and the Natural Law Party urging consumers to write to supermarkets, unilever and their MP and MEP.
They then paraded with banners raised through the city centre and, before being moved on by police, joined the local busking band "The Mop-Heads" and danced. Following this they made their way to Sainsburies and walked into the store with banners to inform shoppers before being asked to leave by the manager, at which point there was a valuable discussion about consumer rights.
Many of the points raised were ignored by the manager. Leaflet distribution then continued outside for the rest of the morning. There was good coverage in the local rag due to an earlier press-release.
There was much positive response from Christmas shoppers, and one or two complex discussions with other university students and scientists who happened to be shopping at the time.
The day was a great success and was followed up today (monday 17th) by ringing Waitrose head office on 01344-424680 to ask what action they were taking to protect consumers and by informing the company that un-modified soya shipments have been made. Their reply information is going to be posted back, and they declined to comment further on the phone.
All the best,
For info on the GMO's (genetically modified organisms) being used now to
experiment on you,
contact the Women's Environmental Network (see contacts) or Manchester EF!, Dept 29, 1 Newton St, M1 1HW. 0161 2744665.
Many who have been involved in street protests, especially in London, in recent months will have come across the Metropolitan Police's Public Order Intelligence Unit (POIU), part of its public Order Branch. Led by Inspector Barry Norman, it was set up initially to deal with football hooligans.
A recent television document showed Norman and his side-kick, PC Tony Brittain (affectionately known as Laurel and Hardy), 'dealing' with football supporters, The concept of the POIU appears to be a belief that by actively mixing with its 'troublemakers' they are able to gather intelligence about future 'public order' incidents and help identify ringleaders.
Certainly they have been diligent: POIU officers have been turning up at protests in and outside London, advising local police about how to deal with 'situations' such as Reclaim The Streets protests and Earth First! actions.
Conversations with other police officers, however, some of whom seem to resent the POIU, suggest that its activities are not universally welcomed within the Met.
The POIU and other TSG officers have also been taking an interest in photographers and journalists .
They initially try to be friendly by offering to 'ex-change information' about future protests.
They will sometimes try ringing them at home.
When this fails they get aggressive and suggest that they 've.
it'll make life very difficult for you' if they do not assist.
So far the threats have yet to be translated into action but the NUJ's lawyers are ready to respond if they do.
Gathering intelligence on public order activities has always been the remit of Special Branch (SO).
Even within the police, SB officers are said maintain an air of intellectual superiority (not difficult) and are often envied or disliked by ordinary officers Their relationship with MI5 -- or `box' as they call it--is their justification for their obsessive secrecy.
It is difficult to see how the unsophisticated approach of the POIU is appreciated by SB officers.
Britain's favourite chat up line -- I've got a picture of you on my wall at Scotland Yard'--runs against the whole ethos of discreet and subtle intelligence gathering.
Certainly since the POIU have been on the scene, activists have become far more aware of plainclothes officers trying to mingle with protesters.
It is probably the case that the POIU's antics are resented by SB even though they presumably appreciate the flow of U intelligence' that they gather .
Thus at one demonstration, a TSG officer, who asked why he was taking photographs and notes when it was the job of SB, replied: `Because they're shit!' misinformation perhaps, but it seems slightly too sophisticated a line for the TSG.
On that occasion the police attempted to stop two sound systems entering Hyde Park As the conflict escalated, protesters eventually succeeded in chasing fully equipped riot police, supported by horses, dogs and vans, out of Hyde Park and into Park Lane.
It took the police a long time to regain control of the situation and eventually they cleared Hyde Park.
As a consequence many thousands of pounds worth of damage was caused to shops and cars in Oxford Street. (Had the police chased protesters from Oxford Street to Hyde Park, rather than the other way round, thus minimising damage, the Met would presumably have congratulated itself.
In the event, having done precisely the opposite, it still congratulated itself!) At the time observers noted that individual police units appealed to be acting a-most randomly. A police van, for instance, was driven at speed around Hyde Park attempting to run over protesters.
Of course this was all emphatically denied by the police at the time.
Later, in a report, Commander Kendrick, who had been in charge, conceded that their had been a ' cultural abhorrence" by the TSGs to withdraw when ordered.
Diplomatically, he noted that "some of the serials responded by advancing in an uncoordinated manner to the crowd while others were withdrawing" .
In response the Met set up two 'command training courses' to teach senior officers about how to respond they were the 'Pre-Planned Public Order' course and the 'Spontaneous disorder' course.
They also devised the concept of the Public Order Intelligence System which would involve teams of 12 'specially-trained' officers terming Forward Intelligence Teams who would attempt to build a "rapport" with street activists" so that people "likely to provoke disorder can be identified early in the event" ss.
The activities of the POIU at recent events seems to fit nicely into this pattern. Supposed key activists have been identified by Norman and Brittain and they have then been arrested by ordinary police officers.
Many of the 80 people arrested at the RTS action in Brighton on 24 August had been identified by the POIU.
Some of the arrested, including a scientologist, suggest that the POIU 'intelligence' is still some-what lacking.
Before the major RTS action on 13 July, the Metropolitan Police were telling journalists that on this occasion it would fail. They had earmarked sufficient police units to prevent any street being blocked.
Certainly when activists arrived at the location the police tried very hard but were eventually overwhelmed.
They then started telling the press that the road was a largely irrelevant stretch of Motorway and that the protest had caused no significant delays to traffic.
When they eventually discovered that parts of the Motorway had been dug up during the festival the embarrassment of the police was hard to hide.
indeed the heavy-handed raid on the RTS a few days later not only exposed these feelings but confirmed failure of the POIU's 'intelligence-gathering'.
As activists increasingly become aware of the POIU's methods, their ability to provide anything remotely useful will diminish.
it is hard to understand why senior police officers believe that such provocative and brutish tactics assist them in dealing with public order situations.
The presence of the POIU, as with the TSGs, gives people an added incentive to succeed.
It is very easy to regard the state as an united instrument of oppression in which is various arms work in unison. Any contradictions are seen as de-liberate ploys to confuse.
In practice, however, things are different.
On many occasions protesters have en-countered ordinary police officers who are keen to provoke trouble: their motive is not that they are part of a sophisticated MI5 - led plan to discredit dissent, but because they are about to start overtime and need the extra cash to pay for their holidays.
Given the traditional hostility between uniformed and plain-clothes sections of the police, it seems likely that the activities of the POIU and the crude intelligence gathering that is being carried out by TSGs, is resented by their more sophisticated SB colleagues.
The most likely explanation is that Scotland Yard created the POIU just to deal with trouble at football matches.
Certainly its heavy-handed tactics of intimidation and abuse appear to have been partially successful in identifying and isolating individuals and gangs at matches. It was possibly on the basis of this success that Norman decided to extend its remit to political demonstrations. It would also help justify its work throughout the year and not just during the football season.
For Norman it might also have offered him to chance to add more officers to his four- strong team: for an Inspector to command one Sergeant and two PCs is baldly a measure of personal success in a career-motivated organisation like the Met.
Anything that you say or do is noted or videoed and no doubt collated at Scotland Yard.
Police officers have, for instance, been seen with sheets of photo-graphs with names of 'key activists' which have been produced by the Public Order Branch.
So even though the POIU's antics have probably strengthened the determination of protesters--at the very least it has shown them that have achieved something--they should not be assisted in their work.
Intelligence gathered by the POIU is no doubt passed on to other units such as the Animal Rights National Index (ARNI) and then used to intimidate individuals and disrupt protests.
By far the best response to the POIU is to ignore its activities.
Any questions or threats from the likes of Brittain should be ignored and care should be taken when talking to each other in their vicinity.
One should also collect and circulate intelligence about their activities.
One Eye on the Road
writing at 23:57 , on 01 January 1997 Using EMail Assist for WinCIM [ends]
Date: Sun, 23 Feb 1997 10:06:06 -0500 From: Alan Lodge [email@example.com] Subject: tash3 To: "`Dice' George" [firstname.lastname@example.org]
The first two people charged with the new offence were Dr Margaret Jones, a university lecturer from Bristol, and 26-year-old student Richard Lloyd, who took part in a peaceful roadside demonstration at Stonehenge, Wilts, in June last year, while an or der made under the Act banning assemblies of 20 or more persons was in force. They were found guilty by Salisbury magistrates. Dr Jones was given a conditional discharge and ordered to pay £100 legal costs, while Mr Lloyd was ordered to pay £300 in fines and costs. But their convictions were overturned on appeal to Salisbury Crown Court in January, which decided there was no case to answer. High Court ruled the Crown Court had got the law wrong and ordered a re-hearing. Lord Justice McCowan said the Crown Court had appeared to accept "that any assembly on the highway is lawful as long as it is peaceful and non-obstructive of the highway. "In my judgment, however, that is mistaken."
The judge said it left out of account the fact that an order had been made to prohibit the holding of a demonstration for the right of access to Stonehenge within a four-mile radius of the ancient monument between May 29 and June1. A demonstration had taken place on the grass verge at the side of the A344 beside the perimeter fence. The judge said: "In my judgment, the prosecution need prove no more than that the assembly consisted of 20 or more persons and that the particular person accused was taking part in that assembly, knowing it to be prohibited by an order under section 14 A of the 1986 Public Order Act."
Mr Justice Collins agreed, adding: "The holding of a meeting, a demonstration or a vigil on the highway, however peaceable, has nothing to do with the right of passage. "Such activities may, if they do not cause an obstruction, be tolerated, but there is no legal right to pursue them." Later Dr Jones said: "This ruling is extremely bad for democracy in this country. It supports something which is ill-liberal, undemocratic and wrong. "The judgment denies any right to assemble freely in a public place if the police seek and obtain a banning order from a local authority under the new Act on the grounds that there is danger of disruption to the life of the community. "Peaceful protest, protests of all kinds, whether to prevent the closing of a hospital wing or in a trades union context, are all affected. "We are going to attempt to take the case to the House of Lords. If we fail or we don't get an enlightened judgment we shall fight on and go to the European Court of Human Rights. "This draconian law runs counter to the letter and the spirit of European law."
Dr Jones and Mr Lloyd contend there were less than the number required for a "trespassory assembly" and not all present were involved in the demonstration. The public rights pressure group Liberty reacted with dismay to today's "extraordinary" ruling and called for a Bill of Rights to defend the freedom to protest. Director John Wadham said: "A peaceful, non-obstructive gathering is a reasonable use of a public highway.
"To say that it is a form of trespass seems extraordinary.
"It must be one of the more bizarre consequences of the 1994 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act.
"If we had a Bill of Rights then it would be much harder for Parliament to pass such a ridiculous law which has resulted in people being prosecuted for effectively doing no more than walking along a footpath.
"In the absence of such protection for human rights under our own laws, I hope Margaret Jones and Richard Lloyd succeed in the European Court of Human Rights."
The "Dance till dawn' paper is a series of guidelines and recommendations for local authorities to consider when granting public entertainment licences. Organisations like Release, Lifeline, Festival Welfare Services, The Scottish Drugs Forum and Megadog, had some input into the guidelines which have many positive elements. Like the provision of free drinking water, ventilation and chill-out areas. However, about 20 percent of the guidelines are so bad, they make the rest unworkable. These include increased stringent searches, anti-drug notices, strict security, exclusion of convicted drugs offenders (ermm ... how!), installation of cameras, the tapes of which will be routinely inspected by the police.
Originally the guidelines stated, (and generating some amusement!) that there should be a requirement for periods of quiet during an event. It is now suggested that clubs face losing their licence if DJ's play tunes that are too fast. These guidelines say they have a duty to play slower pieces if dancers are getting "over-excited or exhausted" ...!! and they could be criminally liable if they don't.
House of Commons Hansard Debates for 17 Jan 1997 (pt 1)
, ______ _________ _______ , , / Free \ / The \ / Stones \ , , \________/ \_________/ \_______ / , , ____ ___ ___ ____ , , / \ / \ / \ / \ , , | | | | o | ! ! ! , , | | | | m | ! ! ! ,