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Peace Campaigners attacked by Private Police Force

PRESS RELEASE from the Smash Edo Campaign

Jaya Sacca, a long term peace activist was remanded in Lewes Prison this afternoon (JULY 14TH) by District Judge Arnold. On Wednesday 13th July he was 'arrested' and handcuffed by members of Guardian Security hired by arms dealers EDO MBM. He was 'detained' by the security firm for allegedly stepping onto the road which constitutes the 'no protest zone'. At the time no police were at the scene. Mr Sacca is also alleged to have assaulted one of the security guards when four of them 'arrested' him as attempted to leave the area.

The terms of the injunction as enforced by Sussex Police mean that it is illegal for protestors to film the security guards no matter what the provocation. One protester Paul Leniowski has already been remanded in Lewes Prison by Judge Arnold for three days for attempting to film Guardian Security.

Andrew Beckett press spokesman for the campaign said:
'This is a direct attack on our right to protest. In a democratic country how can a private security force be allowed to handcuff members of the public on the public highway? They are unaccountable to anyone. When the police arrest someone there are procedures for complaint and redress, with these untrained hired goons there is nothing. They constantly video us, except when they want to break the law- We must have the right to video the security personnel. EDO MBM are once more trying to enforce the injunction they would like rather than the one they have got.'

Support Demo for Jaya Sacca outside Lewes Prison 4pm Friday 15th

The same security guards were present today as EDO/MBM employees conducted a two minute silence for the victims of London’s bombings. Protesters on the scene who attempted to hold a vigil for all victims of bombing were intimidated into leaving by Guardian Security.

Andrew Beckett said 'We are in a situation where a private security firm can make allegations which lead to imprisonment without any possibility of us gathering evidence to counter their lies and fabrications. We were unable to confront the hypocrisy of bomb makers holding a vigil for bomb victims. '

SMASH EDO urge all those who are against the arms trade and for freedom of speech to join them on the regular Wednesday demo between 4 and 6.

Notes for Journalists

Brighton&Hove is a UN Peace Messenger City.

The Injunction referred to was served under the1997Protection from Harassment Act (originally designed to protect people from stalkers) and is the first of its kind directed at activists outside of the animal rights movement. Crucially it is a civil injunction but carries criminal penalties. It affects anyone deemed to be a protestor

Initially EDO/MBM requested a large 'exclusion zone' comprising the whole of Home Farm Industrial Estate. They and Sussex police also wanted to limit demonstrations to two and a half hours, with less than ten people who had to be silent. Judge Gross refused to impose these conditions at the initial hearing. In his summing up he said, 'The right to freedom of expression is jealously guarded in English law' and consequently refused to impose the requested limits on size, timing or noise made at demonstrations.

EDO MBM Technologies Ltd are the sole UK subsidiary of huge U.S arms conglomerate EDO Corp, which was recently named No. 10 in the Forbes list of 100 fastest growing companies. They supply bomb release mechanisms to the US and UK armed forces amongst others. They supply crucial components for Raytheon's Paveway IV guided bomb system, widely used in the 'Shock and Awe' campaign in Iraq. EDO also withdrew a threatened libel action against Indymedia over being named as 'warmongers'.

Lawson-Cruttenden & Co, a solicitors firm working for EDO have been instrumental in developing the Protection of Harassment Act 1997 from a measure designed to safeguard individuals to a corporate charter to make inconvenient protest illegal. They have pioneered to use of injunctions to create large 'exclusion zones'. They have secured numerous injunctions against anti-vivisection and anti-GM protestors.

Campaign against EDO MBM, People involved in the anti-EDO campaign include, but are not limited to: local residents, the Brighton Quakers, peace activists, anti-capitalists, Palestine Solidarity groups, human rights groups, trade unionists, academics and students.

The campaign started in August 2004 with a peace camp. It’s avowed aim is to expose EDO MBM and their complicity in war crimes and to remove them from Brighton.

CONTACT: Andrew Beckett 07875 708873