6th March, 2010: Workers, students and young people of Brighton gathered today to March for Jobs. The aptly named protest opposed public sector cuts and job losses. The demonstration marched Brighton city centre for one hour, with chants such as ‘Students, and workers, unite and fight.’
The protest comes in the wake of two student occupations at Sussex University, proposed public sector job cuts in Brighton, and promises by both the major political parties to make nationwide cut-backs in public services.
Monday 18th January, 2010: Hundreds gathered in Brighton today to protest the presence of EDO, an arms firm that develops weapons parts used in the assault on Gaza last year. Police responded with force, and scuffles outside the EDO/ITT weapons factory on Home Farm Road led to several injuries. In Brighton city centre, protestors were kettled by police for up to an hour, and several arrests were made, including one medic.
The Smash EDO campaign has been calling for the closure of the Brighton-based arms manufacturer for six years, and claims EDO/ITT corp. is complicit in war crimes.
27th Sep, 2009: While Labour began its Party conference, Brighton seafront hosted thousands of people calling for ‘Jobs, Education and Peace’. The national protest, supported by major trade unions and left-wing parties, also ran under the banner ‘Rage Against New Labour’. The protest passed without interference from police, and caused minimal disruption to the city.
The Lewes Road Community Garden in Brighton, featured in my previous blog, is at risk of total closure. This week, a private security firm locked the gates and declared the site closed to the public. The land is privately owned, but has been unused for over four years, and the Community Garden project has transformed the empty lot into a green space for local residents.
If you feel the garden should remain open, please sign the petition, or send a message of support to firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 2009: Residents in the Lewes Road area of Brighton have reclaimed a derelict plot and are turning it into a community garden. The project is entirely run by volunteers and supported by donations of soil, plants, and turfing. The plot, formerly a petrol station, is privately owned but has been derelict for over four years.
Hundreds of people from all over the country met in Brighton today to protest against the war, capitalism, and the arms trade. Organised by the Smash EDO movement, which for years has been campaigning against the EDO/ITT weapons factory based in Brighton, the protest started off very peacefully and remained generally positive throughout the day.
May Day, 4th May 2009: Hundreds of people from all over the country met in Brighton today to protest against the war, capitalism, and the arms trade. Organised by the Smash EDO movement, which for years has been campaigning against the EDO/ITT weapons factory based in Brighton, the protest started off very peacefully and remained generally positive throughout the day.
Weeks of intensive research have culminated in the launch of an online, interactive multimedia map. It documents events surrounding the Smash EDO demonstration in Brighton on October 15th. Clicking on markers brings up raw evidence, such as photography, eyewitness reports, and video footage.
The map makes for harrowing reading. It shows how police invoked anti-terror laws against suspected protesters. It also describes how one disabled observer was arrested and denied access to a doctor, and how peaceful protesters were attacked by police dogs.
While assembling the interactive online map of the Smash EDO demonstration, I came upon several harrowing stories. This was by far the most distressing. The student writing the letter is still under bail terms.
I am happy to tell you about what happened to me on the 15th.
My experience of the protest was quite tame. Anti-war protesters marched towards town but were blocked by a barricade of vans and police in riot gear. A few scuffles between protesters trying to break through and the police. But nothing too serious. This is Brighton, after all. This is a nice town.
But the more I talked to people, the more scary it got. One friend of mine attacked by a police dog. Protestors trapped in a ‘kettle’ – a brickwall of police – for over 45 minutes, right in the North Laine where gentle Brighton folk like to go shopping. And at least a dozen arrests, most of them under Section 60AA – an anti-terror law passed in the wake of 9/11.
When police are using anti-terror laws to make arrests of peaceful protesters, something is going seriously wrong. I have spent the last two weeks compiling evidence of various forms – photographic, video, eyewitness reports, official documents – and will soon be releasing it as an interactive, online article. Hopefully it will shed some light on what really happened in Brighton on October 15th. My greatest wish is that by raising awareness of the event, it need not happen again the way it did.