They won! Anti-Militarist Court Solidarity

On the 6th of January 2015 two local people stood trial, accused of disrupting last year’s Defence Procurement, Research, Technology & Exportability (DPRTE) Arms Fair, now an annual occurrence in Cardiff.

The defendants were accused of throwing red paint at delegates entering the fair, damaging their luxury goods worth hundreds of hundreds of pounds. They were charged with Criminal Damage and breach of s.4A of the Public Order Act (“Causing harassment, alarm or distress with intent”). They were advised that the prosecution would be seeking custodial sentences.

The defendants sought to run separate, distinct defenses. The first was to put forward a factual defense that the police had grabbed him and wrestled him to the ground for no reason. The second defendant contended that they had been acting out of necessity in an attempt to prevent war crimes based on the arms fair’s various links to Israel and the horrific attacks against Gaza that took place over the summer, in the context of the continuing oppression of the Palestinian people.

Before the trial started some 30 supporters gathered outside Cardiff Magistrates court for a solidarity demonstration with the two defendants. Several groups came out to support, including Food not Bombs Cardiff, Anarchist Action Network, Afed Bristol, Cor Cochion Caerdydd, Bristol Defendant Solidarity, Bristol Against the Arms Trade, disarmUWE as well as South Wales Anarchists.

Outside Cardiff Magistrates Court before the Trial

Outside Cardiff Magistrates Court before the Trial

Throughout the day defendants and their supporters were followed and surveiled by Police Liaison Officers, who largely failed in their documented intelligence gathering role since all attendees wisely declined to engage with them from the outset.

Court proceedings were delayed for hours as there was no prosecutor – the Crown Prosecution Service was called and the prosecutor who had been appointed to the case said he knew nothing about it. A replacement prosecutor was then speeded to the court.

As the arms dealers and lay prosecution witnesses had also failed to turn up, the prosecution sought to amend the charge to Criminal Damage of the arresting officer’s uniform. One of the police witnesses had claimed paint damage to his uniform – which surely, if it had occurred, would have been the result of manhandling and grabbing the defendants when they were arrested. The District Judge said that this was “moving the goalposts” considerably and that Criminal Damage by paint transfer during an arrest when the police grabbed the defendants would be “ludicrous”.

After lunch the CPS informed us that it would drop all charges. The many supporters in the public gallery broke out into applause and the judge scolded them saying “this is NOT a football stadium!”.

Outside Cardiff Motorpoint Arena

Outside Cardiff Motorpoint Arena

The DPRTE arms fair will be returning to Cardiff Motorpoint Arena on the 8th of March 2016. To flog their machines of torture and death. The people of Cardiff and beyond stand ready to oppose them and we ask that you will join us.

For more info on how to get involved with the campaign against DPRTE arms fair, email: stopnatocymru@riseup.net

Advertisements

Anarchists Shut Down Barclays

On Saturday, 3rd of May, a group of 25 anarchists and anti-militarists closed Barclays’ Cardiff city centre branch in protest of the bank’s investment in the arms trade.

The campaigners formed a Radical Bloc on the Trades Council-organised May Day march, breaking from the main route to take action against the bank instead of going to listen to speeches by union officials at the Trades Council’s rally.

516553.jpg.indyscaled

A local anarchist and member of the Stop NATO Cymru campaign group said: “We took part in the May Day march to draw attention to the struggles of workers all over the world against exploitation and violent oppression which is exacerbated by arms producers here in the UK.

Nice sticker butt!

We targeted Barcalys because it’s a major investor in Exelis Inc. the parent company of the EDO Corporation which is guilty of mass-producing arms to sell to oppressive regimes, exacerbating violent conflict and suppressing legitimate protest. Barclays Global Investors UK Holdings Ltd has 5,059,591 shares in Exelis and Barclays PLC has 63,071 shares.

We entered the branch after leaving the May Day march and refused to leave until we had made an impact. Within half-an-hour the management decided to close, depriving the company of a busy Saturday afternoon’s profit through direct action. We sent our message to the public by plastering the front of the building with stickers which gave details of Barclays’ guilt and sent a clear message to the company that we won’t tolerate money from our communities being used to fund war.”

516555

The protest was organised by Stop NATO Cymru as part of an ongoing campaign to oppose the forthcoming NATO Summit in Newport this September.

A member of Stop NATO Cymru added: “We oppose all wars between nations and see NATO, the armed wing of western capitalism, and the companies which manufacture its weapons as being two sides of the same coin. Both murder ordinary people who are forced into conflicts by their conditions and escalate situations like Ukraine’s, where two imperialistic powers are forcing their will over an innocent population, NATO being one of those powers.”

1) For more information on Stop NATO Cymru: network23.org/stopnatocymru 

2) For more on opposition to the forthcoming NATO Summit: 
http://www.radicalwales.org/2014/02/nato-in-newport-2014.html 

3) For more information on Exelis Inc./EDO Corp.: http://www.smashedo.org.uk

Cardiff Mayday Radical Bloc

May Day is about radicalism. It’s about celebrating working people’s history of fighting for better conditions. It’s about the global struggle against a system which tries to keep us in subservience instead of leading fulfilling and liberated lives.

In September NATO is holding a major summit in Newport, gathering some of the world’s wealthiest, most powerful warmongers in an area with a proud history of radical struggle.

NATO is the armed wing of capitalism. It exists purely to further the interests of American elites, uniting American puppet-states in bloody wars over oil, political influence and to force their ruthless, “free-market” economics on the entire world.

Every year thousands of people are killed for being in the wrong place, on the wrong side of US interests, having the wrong colour skin, or being part of the wrong class.

Join us on Sat 3rd May on the Cardiff May Day demo, not to listen to the same old speeches, but to take action against the Military- Industrial Complex, show that building a better world is possible and send a clear warning to NATO that we’re ready to fight back.

Meet 12pm, St Mary’s St, by Maldron Hotel. http://www.network23.org/stopnatocymru

dideitl