Archive for August, 2008

The Day of Action

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008

Aim: Enter Kingsnorth power station and shut it down
Method: Air, Sea, Land and Air
Outcome: Varied

The day of action saw groups taking to land and sea to reach the power station.

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One group came by road, holding banners and placards, with music and dancing. They were allowed to reach the gates of the powerstation before being told to turn back. When over 20 protestors refused to leave, they were arrested.

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A land group made it the fence kings north and scaled the first palisade fence with the help of some convenient bits of fencing lying around. They made it to the second electrified fence before being turned back.

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The Great Rebel Raft Regatta (Grrr) saw 123 people take to the water. Some made it the jetty of the power station, some to a small island where banners were hung. Many were pulled from the water by the police and their boats destroyed.

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Overall the day was a great success with a whole load of fun and a whole load of media attention.

Police Presence

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008

Cops on Site!

The police presence around the site was oppressive. Over 3 million pounds was spent on policing the camp. With officers shipped in from London and as far as Yorkshire. With constant searches, vans of riot police outside the gates, and helicopters over head, it was hard to forget that we had been deemed a “criminal element”. Climate camp is built on non-violent beliefs. Although campers may break the law in order to make their voices heard, it is always done in a non-violent fashion, and with respect for local people and their environment. Our everyday lives at the camp consisted of cooking, learning, building, and having fun, hardly justification for the 3 million spent on watching our every move.

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 The camp has a police liason team. But conversations broke down quickly with both sides refusing to accept the terms offered by the other. At the camp last year at heathrow, police were allowed on site every hour and were shown around the camp. This year Police refused this, demanding greater access to the camp, and because this was found unacceptable, the police therefore had no access at all.

The police used a number of tactics to try to gain control over the camp. One of these was their early morning wake up calls. At 5.30am almost everyday, vans of riot police would begin to arrive at the main gates of the camp, and look like there were going to try to storm the camp, there would be a call out and campers woken up to help the defend the gate. We would appear bleary eyed, in pyjamas and sandals to protect the camp from rows of riot police kitted out with helmets, shields and batons. There was a team of police that used the opportunity to take our pictures, one after the next along the line. And then they would withdraw. It was believed to be a tactic to wear us down, interrupt the running of camp, and get our faces on film.

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The were a number of arrests during the week and on the day of action. Some arrestees were handled violently recieving kicks, punches, and even pepper spray in the eyes on arrest. There were police reports of finding knife stashes in nearby woods, and this was used to justify their treatment of the campers. However, as had been the case last year, the violent criminal element the police so fondly used to justify their presence at the camp, failed to materialize.

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Climate Camp – The week

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008

Unfortunately due the nature of the camp, there was very little time or energy to write the blog during the week. But here is the summary. This post explores the week, how the camp was set up and the problems and successes of the week. The next post will focus on the day of Action and what we all go up to.

The Week

Climate Camp began with a protest march from Rochester to the power station at Kingsnorth, a journey of 6 miles, through town and countryside. There were about 250 protestors in all, and we finally joined up with the caravan, whose journey had begun in London. The protest took us through villages, where we were recieved with curiosity, and mostly positive comments.

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As we arrived at the camp the police presence was already strong. Almost everyone coming into the camp was being searched, sometimes 2 or three times within the space of 200 metres! These searches were to become more and more thorough as the week went on. Police were confiscating anything that could be seen to possibly be used “to cause criminal damage” they took the obvious stuff such as knives and bicycle locks…but then the fun began with officers confiscating crayons, board games and essential kitchen items.

Finally entering the camp, felt like coming home.

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The camp with Kingsnorth in the background

Living sustainably 

The camp was set up on a uncultivated field. 3 days in there were already marquees, compost loos, a welcoming tent, kitchens and washing facilities set up. As the week went on the camp became a fully functioning community, with food for over 1000, santitation and washing facilities, bicycle powered cinemas, bicycle lending, a bakery, computer facilities, phone charging, grey water systems and much more all in a squatted field.

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Grey water system. Straw bales filter used washing up water before it is drained back into the ground

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The eco-wash area (bucket and water)

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Elly and Sarah on cooking duty for 100 people

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Compost loos. Liquids went on strawbales (urine works as a compost activator, so the straw breaks down quickly) and solids in wheelie bins with a handful of sawdust (no smells I promise). Last years bins and bales were composted by local growers and fed to fruit bushes.

The workshops

During the week there were a huge variety of over 200 workshops on offer, looking at everything from climate science to practical tips such as how to make a rocket stove and how to maintain your bicycle. There were talks from people such as George Monbiot and Arthur Scargill. There were also workshops on Direct Action, how to carry it out safely, calmly and practical tips for making it a success. There was an indepth workshop looking at sailing the high seas! With information about how to stay safe, tides, and what to do if you go into trouble.

The practical ways the camp ran and the range of workshops was an inspiring working demonstration of how we can live more sustainably and in cooperation with others.