While the 24 hour cable news cycle has been obsessing over “Obama vs. the Pirates,” this weekend the British police pre-emptively arrested 114 anti-coal activists suspected of planning actions at an EON coal plant.
Recently, U.K. activistas have been stepping up direct action against coal and climate change (this has been very visible in Australia and, now, the U.S. as well) and the authorities appear to be stepping up their actions against protesters.
The Guardian reports that British police have been surveilling thousands associated with U.K. Climate Camps and storing that info in a database for the past 7 years.
I’ve been part of many movements (anti-war, global justice, etc.) where the police act like George Bush in Iraq (and now Obama in Somalia) and pre-emptively strike at a perceived threat. As we organize and step up our activities against the fossil fuel empire, we can expect violations of our civil liberties by their agents.
Police hold 114 in power protest
More than 100 people have been arrested in Nottingham over a suspected plan to target a power station.
Police said 114 men and women were arrested in Sneinton Dale on suspicion of conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass and criminal damage.
Officers said they believed those arrested were planning to protest at nearby Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station.
Police said equipment including bolt- cutters was found and they feared a threat to the safety of the site.
A police spokesman said it was thought there was a “serious threat” to the coal-fired power station, which is eight miles south-west of Nottingham.
More than 200 police officers from Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Staffordshire and British Transport Police were involved in the arrests at the Iona School.
There were no reported injuries.
City councillor David Mellen said the police raided the privately-run school as a result of “an intelligence-led operation”.
He said: “I don’t know whether it was the school itself being used or the car park.
“Neighbours reported a lot of noise after midnight. It seems to have been used as a rendezvous for people from a wide area.”
No-one at the school was available for comment.
Residents in the suburb of Sneinton contacted the BBC with reports of a large police presence in the area.
Tess Rearden, who lives near where the arrests were made, said she saw 20 police vehicles.
She said: “It was all slamming of doors and van doors and all these vans were coming up here – police vans, riot vans.
“ Police had big black and yellow bin bags full of something which they took away ”
Susan Lawson, neighbour
“My son came out of his bedroom and he said: ‘Have you seen what’s going on out front?’
“They were all up and down the roads here. It was bedlam, real bedlam.”
Residents said handcuffed suspects sang loudly as they were led away.
Susan Lawson, 56, who lives opposite the school, said: “The police said to me: ‘Get in the house and don’t come out’.
“Then I saw them bringing people out of the school gates in handcuffs and putting them into vans.
“The vans kept coming back to pick up more of them. Police had big black and yellow bin bags full of something which they took away.
“I was shocked, I couldn’t get back to sleep afterwards. It was terrible.”
Eon, which operates the power station, said it was helping the police with their investigation.
Eleven people from a group called Eastside Climate Action were arrested in April 2007 after chaining themselves to buildings and equipment at the site.