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From: "Jo Makepeace" (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: SchNEWS 598, Friday 27th July 2007
Date: Tue, 28 Aug 2007 09:08:35 +0100
INJUNCTION TO BE TAKEN OUT AGAINST HEATHROW CAMP FOR CLIMATE ACTION?
If you were in any doubt that the Camp for Climate Action is gonna have a big impact this year then check out Heathrow airport's reaction to having been chosen as the venue! This year the camp will be at the world's busiest airport which is a bigger source of CO2 emissions than most countries. Of course it's sheer lunacy in this time of ecological crisis but the aviation industry are pushing to almost double the airport's capacity by increasing flights and building a third runway. The battle to stop them will be one of the most important environmental battles in Western Europe.
BAA (owners of the privatised Heathrow airport) are running scared of the climate campaigners and have called on the services of protest-busting corporate lawyer Timothy Lawson Cruttenden (TLC - see SchNEWS 581) to get an injunction under the Protection from Harassment Act. They want an exclusion zone not just around the airport and its infrastructure but between junctions 3-6 of the M4 and 13-16 of the M25. The exclusion zone being applied for also covers the Piccadilly line and the Heathrow Express. The injunction seeks, first and foremost, to prevent any protest of any kind at, or in the vicinity of, Heathrow Airport, and it is specifically aimed at stopping the Climate Camp from happening.
If an 'interim' injunction is granted (and its already been press-released by the Met) then police will be able to arrest those pitching tents, or carrying 'wooden poles, pallets, scaffold poles, bow saws, panel saws, fret saws, axes, screwdrivers or wheelbarrows' for any reason at all. In fact they seem to be taking this DIY culture thing pretty seriously. Also forbidden in a frivolous afterthought are 'balloons'. Basically an 'interim' injunction would enable those the police consider to be protesters to be confined to a 'designated protest zone'.
Four named individuals have been served with the by-now familiar black ringbinders of evidence that accompany TLC's attempts to restrict protest activity. Crucially, although only four people are named, they are deemed to represent certain groups - Plane Stupid, AirportWatch, Heathrow Association for the Control of Airport Noise (HACAN) and No Third Runway Action Group (NoTrag).
While Plane Stupid are a grass roots direct action group (and more power to their elbow) of the kind that TLC specialises in bullying on behalf of corporate clients and the police, the others are broad-based umbrella groups featuring such subversives as Greenpeace, the RSPB (membership inc. Bill Bryson and the Queen) and Council for the Preservation of Rural England. And while we at SchNEWS would be more than happy to see her madge hauled off in the back of a paddywagon - we suspect that the enforcement of this bit of PFI martial law is going to be a little more selective.
In total the organisations affected number some five million members. That's quite a chunk and let's hope that this time TLC has bitten off more than he can chew. Greenpeace have assembled a legal team to fight the injunction, including a QC from Cherie Blair's chambers. In an effort to bolster the injunction it is claimed that it is being taken out on behalf of all of Heathrow's contractors, employees and even passengers. So it looks as if Court Number 4 at the Royal Courts of Justice is going to be a little crowded on Wednesday 1st August.
Despite the attempted legal crackdown, campaigners are still going ahead with the camp come what may. Leo Murray, named in the writ as the organiser of Plane Stupid, told SchNEWS, "This provides an enormous campaign opportunity - to illustrate the bullying tactics of BAA, the diversity of opposition to expansion and as a publicity outlet for the Camp for Climate Action. It will become abundantly clear that they've made a terrible mistake. The camp is doubtless going to go ahead regardless of rain, injunctions, or any other external influences, and BAA engaging a conscienceless legal mercenary to persecute a handful of people who are only tangentially connected to the Climate Camp - and implicate literally millions more - is not going to alter this. In fact, I would guess it is very likely to mean more people come to the camp than would otherwise have done".
Alex Harvey press spokesperson for the Climate Camp said: "We're not only adamant but confident that the camp will go ahead. This year's camp has a massive profile - we're here, we're going to do this thing and it's going to be fantastic".
For more about some of the groups involved see -
No Third Runway Action Group
The Camp for Climate Action
August 14th - August 21st, 2007 - Eight days of low-impact living, debates, learning skills, and high-impact direct action tackling the root causes of climate change.
email - email@example.com
web - http://www.climatecamp.org.uk
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