Monday July 22nd: 9.30 a.m. at Derby Magistrates court – Trial of JCB protestors; #stopthedemolitions

Please join us at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates Court, 27 St Mary’s Gate, Derby

DE1 3JR.

Update on JCB blockaders trials

There are currently two criminal trials taking place against activists involved in the Stop the Demolitions campaign. These arise from direct action protests that took place in September 2018 and March 2019, both protesting the use of JCB bulldozers in Palestine.

JCB, a British company privately owned by one of the richest families in the UK, supplies both civil and military bulldozers to Israel, which are used to demolish Palestinian homes, schools and businesses.

Both criminal cases have so far been characterised by the incompetence of the CPS and the inefficiency of the court system. And in both cases the CPS have failed to specify the exact charge against the activists. The charges against the four people charged in connection with the second protest were also changed at the last minute, giving the defence no time to prepare.

All the activists are now charged under Section 241 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations Act, a piece of legislation that was introduced under the Tories to make secondary picketing illegal. It is now being widely used against protestors (eg, against anti fracking protestors).

As a result of the CPS failures in both cases, and the late change of charge in one case, both cases had to be adjourned at the hearings which took place in June and early July, which were meant to be dates for trial.

Meanwhile JCB bulldozers continue to be used by the Israeli police, military and civil administration in demolitions. JCB bulldozers are also being used by Israel to strengthen the barrier which encloses and imprisoned Palestinians inside the Gaza Strip.

The Bamford family, which owns JCB, have proved completely impervious to the fact that their bulldozers are being used to destroy Palestinian lives and communities. They have failed to respond over a number of years to letters, reports and most recently a closely researched book which details the complicity of JCB in the war crimes being carried out using their equipment.

They failed to respond to a report submitted by War on Want as far back as 2012, and more recently a letter sent to them by Lawyers for Palestinian Human rights in 2017. In March 2019 the Shoal Collective published a book containing research on each of the international companies which supplied construction equipment used in Israel’s home demolitions during 2018.

Most recently campaigners have made a direct appeal to Carole Bamford, appealing to her widely publicised values supporting children’s charities both in the UK and internationally, and her environmental interests. Carole Bamford has so far ignored these direct, personal pleas, which suggest that her claim to be concerned with children’s welfare does not extend to Palestinian children, and her concern for the environment does not extend to Palestinian land.

JCB promotes an image of itself as a company concerned with its workforce, including the economy of the Staffordshire and Derbyshire region in which many of itsf actories are based.

In reality JCB is heavily involved in the international arms trade. It manufactures 5 different military bulldozers and its military excavator was originally developed for the US Army. It is a regular participant at the DSEI arms fair, one of the largest arms fairs in the world, and is expected to be an exhibitor at the 2019 arms fair, which takes place in London in early September.

New book: Resisting Demolitions in Palestine – This new book contains information-for-action for activists who want to stand with the Palestinian communities resisting home demolitions. Buy the book for £7 in the UK, or £9 if you live elsewhere worldwide.

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