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Hammertime in Brighton

A mass siege of the EDO arms factory in Brighton took place on 13 October.

The Hammertime demonstration effectively closed the factory for the day. However, with massive resources and the invoking of public order powers, the police kept control of the streets.

At the start, over 100 police surrounded the convergence centre, and demanded everyone go to a “designated protest area”. Protesters insisted on going to the announced start point, which the police had to allow.

When a 100-strong police line approached, some demonstrators ran into the woods; many were kettled in small groups; others formed a picket with a sound system and 12-foot replica F-16. Later in the day activists targetted investors in ITT, EDO’s US owners, including Barclays bank and the Royal Bank of Scotland.

In all 53 arrests were made. All were released without charge. l On 6 October, EDO Decommissioner Elijah Smith was found guilty of witness intimidation for a remark made to EDO chief Paul Hills. He received a five-year ban on protesting outside the EDO arms factory. The judge used a new amendment to the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, originally passed to protect people from stalkers.