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Our action sparks a debate

Our action in December has sparked a debate on the anarchist website, Rabble:

A debate: fighting to win

Back in December an article was posted on this site called “Antimilitarists target Barclays”, about an action where “Barclays Bank in Brighton was forced to briefly close to the public on one of the busiest shopping days before Christmas by people locking themselves to the doors of the branch”. This was announced as part of “a campaign to force Barclays Bank to stop dealing with arms trade shares.”

This article prompted a debate which we are publishing below. There are two articles. First, one called “Fighting to Win”, which raises concerns with the action. Then a response called In defence of the radical anti-militarist movement. Continue reading

They won! Anti DPRTE campaigners victorious

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 TrialOutside 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 ArenaOutside 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:

A tribute to Bev

Our beautiful friend Bev passed away on 31st December. She was a well-known and loved activist and she was a regular in the Smash EDO campaign, demonstrating against the arms industry for many years.

Bev and her daughter Caitlin first got involved in the demos against EDO towards the start of the campaign. They were soon a regular presence at the demonstrations against the factory. She came to the protest camp behind the factory in Wild Park and helped to set up a kid’s space for her daughter and other young people at the camp, which was promptly torn down by the police when they evicted the camp. She joined with others in refusing to leave, even when our tents were confiscated by police.

Community and helping others was at the heart of Bev’s values. She was always there to provide help and support to her friends and fellow activists, often giving a place to stay in her house for those who needed it. She thought it was important to support people who had been arrested for taking direct action against EDO. During the month long trial of trial of the EDO decommissioners, Bev came to the court every day providing support in the public gallery and joining demonstrations outside the court.

Even after being diagnosed with terminal cancer Bev still tried to attend as many regular demonstrations at the factory as she was able to and was often disappointed when she couldn’t make it.

A lot of us who got to know Bev through the campaign formed close long term friendships with her over the years. Bev was a much loved and valued friend to us all. We will always be glad to have known her.

Bev’s funeral will be on 14th January:

Bev’s funeral will be at 9.30am on Wednesday 14th January at Woodvale Crematorium, Lewes Road, Brighton, BN2 3QB. The dress code for the funeral is casual, but red and black colours are preferred. The Wake will be at the Cowley Club, 12 London Road, Brighton, BN1 4JA straight after the funeral and will last until well into the evening. People are welcome to bring vegan food to the Cowley Club to share at the Wake. You can drop it off at the Cowley on Tuesday evening from 7pm or you can drop it off between 7 and 8.30am on Wednesday morning. Call Chris on 07598 777 614 to let us know if you’re dropping food off. Bring your own alcohol if you want and the Cowley bar will open in the  evening. The Wake is an open forum. Everyone is welcome to sing, play music, bring their instruments, read poetry and say tributes to Bev. Pot plants and gin were Bev’s favourites – bring pot plants to swap with others and take home at the Wake.

Please donate to remember Bev:

Community and helping others was at the heart of Bev’s values. Please donate what you can towards the funeral/wake costs (and remember, you can still donate after the funeral and wake have happened) and we’ll be sharing this beautiful tribute to Bev together. Any money that isn’t needed for the funeral or wake will be put towards keeping Bev’s daughter Caitlin housed until she turns 18 or it will go towards causes which Bev was passionate about.

You can donate at http://gogetfunding.com/project/remember-bev-lea (but Gogetfunding take a fee), or you can transfer money straight to our bank account via http://smashedo.org.uk/donate and we’ll give it to Bev’s family.