Police crack down hard as St Athan demo finally awakens mass media

Protesters were banned from marching through Cardiff city centre today as police invoked the public order act to minimise the visibility of the demonstration against the St Athan military academy.

Clearly acting on orders from high up the political food chain, police also insisted that written applications would be needed for further protests and threatened march organisers with arrest if anything untoward should happen at the event.

The pretext for the clampdown was that police intelligence suggested that disruptive elements were targetting the march. Perhaps we should take heart that police “intelligence” proved to be so resoundingly mistaken. Far more likely however is that the MoD and Welsh political establishment feared a movement which threatened the military-industrial complex they are building and the huge sum of money the stinking war profiteers and their allies are trousering through a scheme which will undoubtedly attract mass opposition once people get wind of what really is happening.

It that sense today’s march was a great success. Finally elements of the mass media, including Red Dragon Radio, the BBC and HTV Wales have allowed anti-military academy arguments to be aired. Although the march, routed round the back streets of Cardiff to the OU building on Custom House Street, was seen by virtually no-one, hundreds of thousands will have heard its message: no public money for war criminals!

The rally at the end of the march, which attracted exactly the kind of enthusiastic young audience PR have argued the campaign needs, was addressed by Davy McAuley of the Raytheon 9 (see previous articles), whose rousing speech was followed by that of Wales’ only openly anti-St Athan full-time politician, Jill Evans. Following our criticisms it was heartwarming to see Leanne Wood AM also on the march, and we confidently expect other councillors, AMs and MPs to break cover in the coming months.

The build-up for the march has been an excellent example of left unity, with South Wales anarchists, Cardiff PR, the SWP and others working together harmoniously. Now we must take that forward. The campaign meets this Tuesday, 29 April, 6.30pm at the Temple of Peace. If you care about the future of Wales, be there.

HTV news report is here.

This entry was posted in Metrix, politics, Qinetiq, socialism, St Athan, Wales, war. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Police crack down hard as St Athan demo finally awakens mass media

  1. anne says:

    Note this story today Police in court over pictures at arms protest Politics The …
    This article appeared in the Observer on Sunday April 27 2008 on p6 of the … Arms campaigner Andrew Wood from Oxford claims that his human rights were …
    The power of the police to mount surveillance operations at peaceful protests will be challenged in court this week. In a case seen as opposing Britain’s move towards a Big Brother-style society, the High Court will determine if police are legally entitled to take photographs and compile information on protesters even if they do not break the law http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008/apr/27/police.humanrights

  2. permanentrevolution says:

    The Open University, already riven with dissent over the academy issue, is the weak link in Metrix’s chain. Anti-St Athan activists targeted its Cardiff centre again today (Mon), leafleting the OU’s open day. Responses to the new leaflet (see resources page) were sympathetic. We must keep up the pressure on the OU through further actions, the lecturers’ union UCU and dialogue with lecturers and students.

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