- Firefighters join fellow workers in strike action against the UK government’s ongoing enmity
- Wassailing in Stanton Drew
- Anarchist attacks put Italian embassies on alert
- Activists against HS2 shut down construction of ‘mega prison’
- Strikes take place across the UK
- Anti-fur trade activists arrested and facing felony charges
Firefighters join fellow workers in strike action against the UK government’s ongoing enmity
In an overwhelming 88% yes vote from a 73% turnout, members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) voted to strike on 30 January. The union said the decision has come after “more than a decade of real terms pay cuts”. And it follows on the heels of a studying showing firefighters are “more than three times as likely to die from certain cancers than the general population”. The FBU has given the government ten days to provide a better offer. If it refuses, the FBU will arrange its first strike days since 2003.
💥 This is huge 💥
The numbers speak for themselves.
🗳️ After more than a decade of falling pay, firefighters have voted by an overwhelming margin for strike action. 🗳️
We stand firm. ✊ pic.twitter.com/vqLhvoSj0d
— Fire Brigades Union (@fbunational) January 30, 2023
Wassailing in Stanton Drew
Right to Roam said on 30 January that nearly 100 people had turned up to its “wild wassail” at Stanton Drew, a stone circle in Somerset. The land justice campaign said that the day involved very little trespassing but highlighted “how ridiculous the ambiguity of current access is”. Wassailing is a traditional cider-drinking activity intended to promote the next year’s harvest.
Anarchist attacks put Italian embassies on alert
AP News reported on 31 January that “nearly a dozen attacks” have taken place against Italian embassies since the end of November 2022. These included embassies in Argentina, Bolivia, Germany, Greece, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland. The attacks result from a call for solidarity attacks following a hunger strike by insurrectionary anarchist prisoner Alfredo Cospito. At the time of publishing, Cospito’s hunger strike has lasted more than 100 days.
Earth First! Journal also reported that protests in Rome held in solidarity with Cospito on 28 January led to the arrest of 41 people.
Activists against HS2 shut down construction of ‘mega prison’
On 31 January, activists associated with HS2 Rebellion occupied the construction site of HMP Full Sutton. Mark Keir, who has been part of direct action against the HS2 high-speed railway line, said on Twitter that the occupation was taken in solidarity with an another anti-HS2 activist who received a “disproportionate 268 day sentence”. Keir said the occupiers erected bamboo tripods at the site at 5.30am and chose to climb down at 4pm the same day. Their presence prevented the delivery of materials and items for construction.
UPDATE: ACTIVISTS BLOCKADE MEGA-PRISON CONSTRUCTION
On Tuesday 31st January HS2 activists successfully blockaded and shut down the construction site of HMP Full Sutton in solidarity with a protest tunneller imprisoned on a disproportionate 268 day sentence. pic.twitter.com/eYXWIOjqiB
— Mark Keir (@MarkKeir6) February 1, 2023
Strikes take place across the UK
An estimated 500,000 workers engaged in strikes on 1 February, with many thousands more turning up in solidarity at rallies held in cities across the UK. Video shared by Twitter account @amoola_83 showed a march taking up much of Regent Street in London.
1 February was a day of strike action co-ordinated across education, rail and civil service unions. The National Education Union (NEU) formed the bulk of strikers, with roughly 300,000 teachers refusing to work. This resulted in just under 50% of primary schools and 16.7% of secondary schools remaining open.
This is, of course, just the latest in a string of strikes across multiple sectors in the UK, and it’s unlikely to be the last.
Anti-fur trade activists arrested and facing felony charges
Campaign to Abolish the Fur Trade (CAFT) USA said that two people protesting under its banner were arrested on 2 February. Four people demonstrated outside a branch of Max Mara in Los Angeles, USA. CAFT USA made Max Mara a “priority campaign” on 25 January for selling mink and fox fur clothing. As a result, the Los Angeles group of protesters led a noise demo at their local Max Mara store, which led to the arrest of two people. According to the group, police charged one with misdemeanours including “possession of a destructive device” for holding a smoke flare. They charged a second person with “assaulting a police officer”, which is a felony crime. The group says it is “unclear” as to what act led to the assault charge. It’s currently fundraising to help cover the costs of the arrests and possible future fines and lawyer fees.
Featured image via Glen Black