‘Remember Gaza’ – Smash EDO protest, Brighton

'Remember Gaza', 'Blood on your hands' - the protest marches along Lewes Road outside Moulsecoomb. Photo © Josh Jones 2010

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.

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‘Mayday! Mayday!’ Smash EDO Brighton: anti-war march clashes with police

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.

1 Meeting
Protesters meet at midday. Photo © Josh Jones.

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.

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Interactive online map of Smash EDO protest in Brighton

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.

Disabled student arrested under anti-terror laws whilst filming protest

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.

Hi Josh,

I am happy to tell you about what happened to me on the 15th.

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But what really happened? SMASH EDO protest in Brighton, 15th October 2008

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.