This briefing is to be updated and extended in the near future
Much has been made in recent years from the activities of 'Swampy & Co', CfPS it self has developed out of Direct Action Campaigns in the North West. However are they effective and do they have a place in preserving sites from the predator developer. This can be a complex answer, in the short, where developments such as Newbury By-pass and Manchester Airport are concerned, then the answer must be unlikely, albeit that many concessions can be won, but more importantly future developments can be prevented.
However there are many instances where the mere presence of 'eco-worriers' is enough to see developers running for the hills. There have also been reductions made in the roads programme, and other major developments where it is seen as public opinion reaching up and slapping the politicians in the face who order these developments against the wishes of local communities, and where middle of the road developers have counted the costs of major security provision and pulled out.
So therefore as a campaign tactic it really should be considered, especially when there are follow on developments, and developments where finance might very well be a consideration to developers. The security for the construction of Manchester Airport, saw a work force of a 100 plus 24 hours every day for over 2 years, with during the periods of evictions and high activity these numbers increasing substantially. The contractors also were forced to erect a fence around the whole site (over 18 miles of fencing), all of which had to be patrolled, on occasion restored after callous individual's deconstructed fencing. All this considerably added to the cost of the development. That is without the evictions themselves, all of which again pushed up costs.
However at the outset it is important that all who become involved in direct actions, know that there is a fine line between lawful activity and unlawful activity, it does not do the campaign any good what so ever to be portrayed as a bunch of anarchist, hell bent on bringing down society, we make rules and laws and as far as possible must keep within those laws, however individuals must also sometimes consider actions of conscience, and carry out activities that are unlawful, all of which CfPS condemns as a law abiding organisation, as would individual campaigns, to be seen to support such activities may be seen as conspiracy to commit unlawful acts, which of course no responsible organisation would do, especially as this carries a 10 prison sentence.So what can be carried out lawfully
This list is not definitive
What might be considered unlawful:
A distinction must be made of lawful and criminal, many activities can be considered to be unlawful which are not criminal, and therefore do not carry a power of arrest. In the update to this briefing we shall look in more detail at offenses and the distinction of lawful and criminal. However at any time that you are considering direct action you should always ensure you seek legal advise, and that you have the name of a solicitor who you trust.
Any activity involving direct action should be spontaneous, in order that charged of conspiracy are not leveled against the organisers. Of course no direct action should have any organisers, every person being responsible for their own activities. Having said that pre-activity meetings should be held, in order that ground rules can be put in place, if the majority agree that no fences should cut, then all should abide by that, as if fences are then cut all present could be liable to be prosecuted. These meetings are good opportunities for old hands to give advise to new comers, to pair people up for safety reasons, to ensure everyone has a legal briefing and has the name of a solicitor. And that all have note books and pencils, as well as a reasonable number having cameras, both still and video.
People should be told that they must write every incident down, record the names of all arrested, times of incidents, descriptions not only of the other side but also fellow protestor's, who may have witnessed the incident, all of this info should then be fed to legal observers (those not taking part who are allocated the sole task of observing, and who are prepared to be called as witnesses in any future legal action).
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