Tag Archives: the Sun

Redlines solidarity protests in London

Two different activist groups staged protests in London today in solidarity with the so-called Redlines protests taking place in Paris at the end of the COP21 climate talks.

First were a group of around 25, calling themselves ‘Red Lines London’, who carried 10 giant inflatable cubes, similar to those used in Paris, to various sites across London.

They began with a short roadblock outside the Houses of Parliament, highlighting our Government’s increasing subsidies to fossil fuel companies while cutting support for renewable energy schemes and alternative energy research.

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Next, they crossed Westminster Bridge to pose outside the Shell HQ building.

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After a brief pause to top up the air pressure , the next target was the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern gallery, which receives sponsorship money in a green-washing exercise from BP.

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Moving further east, the group then blockaded the entrance to News International’s London HQ near London Bridge. Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers have been very supportive of air attacks on Syria, which is no surprise as he has oil interests along with Jacob Rothschild in the Syrian Golan Heights.

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Crossing the River Thames they carried their red lines through the City of London financial centre (where they attracted inquiries from police).

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Their fifth and final destination was the office of PR firm Hill & Knowlton, which works for fracking lobbyists to promote the idea that extreme energy extraction techniques are safe and sustainable, despite scientists’ analysis that further carbon exploitation will cause runaway temperature warming.

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Meanwhile, back at Westminster,  Campaign Against Climate Change were preparing their own Redlines solidarity action starting with some speeches outside Parliament, including from Sian Berry, the Green Party candidate for London Mayor.

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The action comprised unfurling a 300m red line across Westminster Bridge.

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Despite strong winds, they managed to hang on and span the whole bridge behind Parliament.

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Both UK actions were in solidarity with the thousands gathered in Paris in defiance of emergency powers to send out a message to COP21 delegates that there are red lines that must not be crossed.


Occupy Murdoch – Saturday Rally, Trial and Occupation

On Monday 23rd March, an occupy protest began in the shadow of the Shard building, outside Rupert Murdoch’s News International HQ in London Bridge Street.

The protest focuses on the power that Murdoch and four other right-wing extremist media billionaires have over public opinion in the run up to the May general election.

Each day of occupation concentrated on different themes, such as environment, democracy, poverty, health and NHS, and human rights.

Saturday promised a mock trial of Rupert Murdoch, and a larger rally leading to a non-violent direct action (NVDA).

Although the rain mostly held off, weather was characterised by howling winds, whipped up by the tall buildings. But the show went on.

28th march 2015 #occupymurdoch activists at the Sun HQ near the Shard

The trial of Murdoch was of course part comedy, with a bumbling Boris included as a witness for the defence, along with a smarmy Cameron, but prosecution witnesses included a moving statement from an ex-Wapping print worker who described the heartless Union-bashing, police violence, and the effects on so many workers that led some to suicide at the behest of Murdoch.

28th march 2015 #occupymurdoch activists at the Sun HQ near the Shard

Among other witnesses was a speaker from the Tax Justice Network, who pointed out the hypocrisy of Murdoch’s massive tax avoidance while his newspapers focus on tiny levels of benefit fraud.

The role of the Sun newspaper in promoting the lies that led to the Iraq war were also under scrutiny, showing that Murdoch was implicit in International War Crimes.

Found guilty on several charges, in the spirit of non-violence, reconciliation, love and respect that the Occupy movement prides itself on, his punishment was that he be exiled from the UK, stripped of his business empire, and forced to live as a lowly member of the 99%, but was also given rehabilitation with a heart and hugs.

28th march 2015 #occupymurdoch activists at the Sun HQ near the Shard

A photo op was then set up to portray News International’s war crime involvement.

28th march 2015 #occupymurdoch activists at the Sun HQ near the Shard

After the trial, celebrity economist Max Keiser did a short set, and handed out free money in the form of StartCoin cards, which he hopes people will use to invest in great crowd-fund projects on StartJoin, such as the Trews awnings springing up in London to replace newsagent Sun sponsorships.

28th march 2015 #occupymurdoch activists at the Sun HQ near the Shard

An energetic and talented anarchist rock trio from Norfolk, ‘Shock Hazard’ then performed a few tunes to warm up the growing crowd.

28th march 2015 #occupymurdoch activists at the Sun HQ near the Shard

28th march 2015 #occupymurdoch activists at the Sun HQ near the Shard

As their loud amps ran out of battery juice, it was time for some Earth folk to lead a ‘Beating the Bounds’ ceremony round the building to the sound of drums and ancient horn.

28th march 2015 #occupymurdoch activists at the Sun HQ near the Shard

All week, the protest has been under intense scrutiny from authorities. There was a continual array of private security guards, from the Shard, News International, London Bridge station and elsewhere. Intelligence-gathering Police Liaison Officers were always mingling with the crowd and trying to engage in conversation. There were red-coated Community Wardens, British Transport Police, and Met Police too.

28th march 2015 #occupymurdoch activists at the Sun HQ near the Shard

A silver-windowed office over the road, which was an abandoned Ambulance Control Centre, was commandeered by police to provide a perfect viewing and meeting spot.

28th march 2015 #occupymurdoch activists at the Sun HQ near the Shard

As the time for direct action approached, a police helicopter buzzed overhead, and a FIT team with police photographer and video operator turned up.

28th march 2015 #occupymurdoch activists at the Sun HQ near the Shard

Before the moment of action, some very welcome sustenance, curry and fruit, was provided by the mobile Hare Krishna food cart.

Then, after a briefing to go through the ‘safe space’ policy, and to stress the non-violent nature of the exercise, a crowd (bolstered by activists who had attended the ‘This Changes Everything’ conference during the day) approached the main entrance of the News International building.

While a small number of ‘blac bloc’ activists scaled the wall and occupied the attention of the corporate security guards, others jumped over fences from behind, and made a run for the front doors. Organiser, Donnachadh McCarthy was briefly pinned against a wall behind the legs of a burly guard, but he slipped out and nearly made it to the revolving glass doors, while security guards tried to prevent others entering the area.

28th march 2015 #occupymurdoch activists at the Sun HQ near the Shard

28th march 2015 #occupymurdoch activists at the Sun HQ near the Shard

In the chaos, more people flooded the covered space in front of the doors, and security gave up holding that space and concentrated on stopping any entry to the building.

Then a dozen or so TSG officers pushed their way into the crowd and formed a further line in front of the entrance.

28th march 2015 #occupymurdoch activists at the Sun HQ near the Shard

The brief excitement subsided. No-one, despite minor scuffles, had been hurt nor arrested, and an open mic session began with the megaphone, while protestors held the huge ‘occupy’ banner in front of police lines, and a variety of other banners and placards were displayed.

28th march 2015 #occupymurdoch activists at the Sun HQ near the Shard

28th march 2015 #occupymurdoch activists at the Sun HQ near the Shard

28th march 2015 #occupymurdoch activists at the Sun HQ near the Shard

Later that night, many people drifted away, but a core group of a dozen or so continued the occupation, two tents sprang up, and police stepped down their presence so that the occupation settled in for a peaceful night, still buffered by strong wind, but sheltered from rain.

The occupation was of course symbolic, and didn’t actually shut down the news empire, as staff were seen scurrying in and out of a rear service door and through a fenced gate guarded by more security.

28th march 2015 #occupymurdoch activists at the Sun HQ near the Shard

Certainly, the news-makers can not have been unaware of the protest, even though the papers were strangely muted about this news the next day.

Sunday was planned to be the final day of the week-long protest, on the theme of alternative media, with strong representation from the soon to be launched ‘Real Media’ platform.



Occupy Murdoch – Day One

With more than fifteen hundred people signed up to the Facebook page, hopes were high for a good turn-out this morning. Truth be told, the dozen or so protesters were completely outnumbered by police, security and journalists, as they gathered at London Bridge this morning.

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While the half dozen blue-tabarded ‘Police Liaison Officers’ mingled with the activists trying to gain intel as they do, a Forward Intelligence Team was sightseeing from a distance, pointing their video camera at the gathered journalists, having filmed the Occupiers from every angle.

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There were also security staff (the men in black) from the Sun offices, and other unknown undercovers watching from a distance.

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After a photo-call, the small group set off for the ‘mini-shard’ Sun HQ where again they posed for pics and organiser, Donnachadh McCarthy, gave a short speech, before delivering their ‘arrest warrant’ for Mr Murdoch.

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Opposite the modern Shard entrance to London Bridge station is a small area where works are in progress behind blue fencing. There’s not much through footfall here, and there are some benches to sit on, making an ideal spot for the week-long occupation.

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Soon, banners and posters were fixed on the fence, a symbolic tent and a children’s play pen were set down, and the first speaker, Occupy’s George Barda turned up.

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The full week’s activities are up on the web page, along with ideas for solidarity actions for those that want to support but can’t make it to London Bridge.

The organisers believe a civil injunction will be fast-tracked to try to move them off the land, and a call-out for peaceful resistance will no doubt go out on their twitter feed when that happens.

The biggest event of the week will most likely be on Saturday, but in the meantime there are some fab speakers and some excellent cabaret lined up, along with daily assemblies.