September 8, 2010 : News in Brief – Resisting

– A ‘week of hell’ for Shell in Mayo

– Council takes anti-coal community organisation to court

– ‘Grow Heathrow’ eviction reprieved

– Anti-BP campaigner banned from Capitol


A ‘week of hell’ for Shell in Mayo

The last week of August saw a series of actions as part of the ‘Beat the Boreholes’ campaign against Shell’s operations in County Mayo, Ireland. On Monday, the 23rd, a successful action stopped work for three hours, inspiring activists from the Rossport Solidarity Camp to step up the pressure. Tuesday marked the start of a court hearing into whether Shell can lay the gas pipe line through the estuary, which gave locals and campaigners the chance to question Shell about the legality of its business in the region. Shell is drilling bore holes to determine whether a tunnel can be made for the gas pipe line to run through. But despite not having this information yet, the company had lodged the application claiming the pipe line will be ‘completely safe’.

Wednesday saw a group of activists occupy, and have a picnic in, Shell’s security compound. Early on Thursday morning, a group set off towards the the drilling rigs occupying security and stopping workers from getting onto the platform for over an hour. A community walkout followed later in the day, when low tide allowed people to walk under the platform. Despite people gathering under the platform, drilling still continued, which is against health and safety rules. Attempts to stop the platforms being moved on Friday were foiled by Shell’s security. Despite many attempts to climb the legs of the platform, security guards turned violent and many were knocked to the ground.

Council takes anti-coal community organisation to court

The South Lanarkshire Council has threatened Douglas and Glespin Community Council with legal action over alleged libel claims. The reason for the draconian move was a logo reading “South Lanarkshire COALcil” and an article titled “South Lanarkshire Council and Scottish Coal hand-in-hand at community LIE-aison meeting.” The logo superimposes the Council’s logo with that of Scottish Coal. The article, which was a repost from the Coal Action Scotland website, described a meeting between the community, the Council and Scottish Coal, at which the Council made every effort to exclude the community.

Meanwhile, a protest camp near the Huntington Lane open cast coal mine site near Telford, Shropshire, is threatened with eviction. UK Coal has started preparations to begin work on the site, with water supply being connected and farmers being asked to remove stock from the southern site. Local firm McPhilips will begin working on the site infrastructure very soon. Campaigners have also started their own preparations to resist eviction. The camp has been there since March.

‘Grow Heathrow’ eviction reprieved

The eviction case of the squatted community garden in Sipson, Heathrow, has been referred to a Circuit Judge in Central London. Last month a court summons for eviction was served on Grow Heathrow, the heir to Transition Heathrow, which reclaimed a neglected plot of land called the Berkeley Nurseries in Sipson on the planned site of the 3rd runway in order to grow fresh food for the surrounding area.

Dozens of local residents from Sipson, Harmondsworth and Harlington turned up at court to show their support. Security guards were frequently called upon to quell the noise outside the court, both during and after the hearing.

Anti-BP campaigner banned from Capitol

Anti-BP protester Diane Wilson has been spared jail by a US judge on the condition that she does not get arrested for a 9 months, anywhere in the United States, and does not trespass on the US capitol grounds. The shrimper was facing a possible two and a half years in prison for her protest actions at a Senate Energy Committee hearing, during which she poured fake oil on herself, and again at the hearing of BP CEO Tony Hayward, during which she demanded, with her hands and face covered in black fake oil, that Hayward is charged with a crime. Wilson is a cofounder of CodePink, a grassroots activist group of women concerned about peace, social and environmental justice. She has now begun a hunger strike to raise awareness of the campaign to end offshore drilling and to push a legislative bill to lift the liability cap on oil companies, making them pay full damages.

Meanwhile, another explosion has torn through an offshore oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico, operated by Marine Energy, west of the site of the BP blast in April, which caused a huge oil spill. BP last week said the cost of its oil spill has risen to $8bn (£5.2bn), a rise of more than $2bn in the last month alone.