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Strikes, airports and a boat party: August round-up

As August comes to a close take a look back at all the action across Bristol over the last month. 

You can always read more about protest in Bristol in The Bristol Activist’s monthly guest blog for the People’s Republic of Stokes Croft.

Campaigners target Bristol Airport owners

A new campaign brings together voices from across Europe to criticise Bristol Airport owner the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan, a Canadian pension provider that in addition to our local airport is also backing expansion at other airports across Europe including Birmingham, Brussels and Copenhagen. 

The campaign, launched with a video, has been created by Stop OTPP Funding Airport Expansion (SOFAX), a group composed of members of the National Education Union (NEU) climate network, medical activists MedAct Bristol, and airport campaigners BABE and London-based HACAN East. 

Tanguy Tomes, of BABE, said: ‘We know teachers in Ontario are worried about climate change. Some have even campaigned on this issue before, so SOFAX seeks to build on those efforts. The Pension Plan’s claim to be a responsible investor is completely incompatible with its commitment to expanding airports across Europe.’

Read the full story: Bristol Airport owners targeted by new anti-expansion campaign

Kill The Bill returns for prisoner solidarity demo

As the number of people imprisoned for taking part in the Bridewell riot of March 21, 2021, continues to rise, Bristolians took to the streets to vent their frustration at the injustice of imprisoning those who were the victims of police violence. 

Protesters carried flags with messages of support for the likes of Charly Pitman (sentenced to three years) and Ryan Roberts (sentenced to 14 years). 

They marched a route through the city centre, stopping outside Bridewell police station where Heidi Gedge, mother of Mariella Gedge-Rogers, imprisoned for five and a half years, spoke of her fight to see her daughter released. 

This week, Ailsa Rauh was acquitted of violent disorder and affray by a jury at Bristol Crown Court, one of a handful of Kill The Bill defendants to walk free.

Watch: Bristol’s latest Kill The Bill protest 

Peace Gathering returns bigger than ever

The annual peace gathering to mark the anniversary of the dropping of atomic bombs on Japan took place from August 6-9 in Castle Park. 

A prop built for the peace gathering. It is a trailer with a mock wind turbine on the back and fake missiles at the front. A sign attached says "Wind and green energy yes. Missiles and Bombs no".
A prop at the Peace Gathering in Castle Park. Image: James Ward.

Following a weekend of talks, workshops and craftivism, attendees marched to City Hall to ask Bristol City Council to support Nuclear Ban Communities, an initiative of the CND to rally towns and cities in support of a United Nations treaty banning nuclear weapons.

Hannah Tweddell, chair of Bristol CND, said: ‘Seventy-seven years have passed since the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with 340,000 people killed. We are calling on Bristol City Council and Mayor Marvin Rees to support the historic UN Treaty to ban nuclear weapons by passing a motion in support of Nuclear Ban Communities joining cities including Manchester, Paris and Washington.’

Read the full story: Peace gathering calls on council to back nuclear weapon ban

Royal Mail strikes begin

Posties across the UK stepped onto picket lines early on the morning of August 26 in dispute over pay. 

TBA spoke to strikers outside the Bristol central delivery office who spoke of their frustrations over the ‘unacceptable’ 2% pay rise offered by management. 

The strikes continue on Wednesday, August 31, Thursday, September 8 and Friday, September 9.

Read the full story: Royal Mail strikes begin across Bristol and UK

Protesters visit notable Bristol landlord

The mooring of the yacht Miss Conduct was a fitting location for a protest against a landlord who shut down a popular queer space last year. 

Around two dozen protesters came for a “boat party” outside the yacht, berthed at Wapping Wharf. The protest attracted much public attention and protesters were keen to share their allegations against the landlord, who is currently facing legal proceedings against allegations of illegal evictions. 

Two people stand in front of a large yacht. they hold a placard that reads "All Landlords are Bastards"
The helicopter atop the Miss Conduct is understood to be fake. Image: James Ward.

Read the full story: Boat party outside landlord’s yacht

Hong Kongers remember and condemn police violence

On August 31, 2019, Hong Kong police entered a metro train station and began beating pro-democracy protesters returning home after a demo. 

The 831 incident, as it became known, was a shocking display of police brutality, even by the standards of the “Umbrella Uprisings” that rocked Hong Kong in 2019 and 2020 in response to increasing Chinese encroachment on Hong Kong’s affairs. 

On bank holiday Monday, Hong Kongers living in Bristol, many of whom left their city in fear of reprisals following the uprisings, gathered on College Green to remember 831 and condemn the police violence they witnessed. 

Monday’s demonstrators formed a human chain along the length of College Green, a spectacle that attracted much public attention and created a platform to speak about events in Hong Kong and the ongoing struggles for justice. 

Read the full story: Hong Kongers condemn police violence with human chain

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