bring the human cost of war to the Prime Minister’s door
Nonviolent Die-in Against Another War with Iraq
2nd December, assemble 10.30am, Whitehall Place, London SW1.
Let's bring the reality of human suffering to Tony Blair's
doorstep, with bandaged wounded, shrouded dead - hundreds
of people blocking Whitehall. No more business as usual.
Non-violent direct action preparation and anti-war teach-in
1st December in preparation for
War Zone Whitehall. This
will take place from 11am-5pm, Kingsley Hall, Powis Street,
off Bruce Road, London E3. (Bromley by Bow tube).
Accommodation is available from
Please organise a group to come and take part in the die-in.
Please contact Voices if you are willing to take on a support
role e.g. stewarding, leafletting etc.
||Contact: voices in
the wilderness uk: email
or phone 0845 458 2564.
Publicity leaflet in
(including everything on this page) in PDF format
After December 2nd
Directions for Kingsley Hall and Whitehall
On the day....
Draft Press Release
Those who profess to favor
freedom, yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without
plowing up the ground ... Power concedes nothing without a
demand. It never did and it never will.
Frederick Douglass, African-American
The projected war with Iraq is immoral, illegal, unnecessary
and counter-productive. Tens - maybe hundreds - of thousands
of people will almost certainly be killed if the war takes
place. On December 2nd we will be in Whitehall, at the heart
of the British Government, to say ‘NO’ to the war with our
bodies, ‘dying’ in on the road, disrupting business as usual
in Whitehall, showing Mr Blair what the human cost of war
Joining us in this act of nonviolent civil disobedience will
be Green Euro MP Caroline Lucas
and political comedian Mark Thomas.
We agree with George W Bush that ‘inaction is not an
option’. We must act now to stop the war.
In this briefing you will find information about the prop-making
day, nonviolence workshop and legal briefing doing presswork
with your local media and information about affinity groups
and possible penalties.
We believe that civil disobedience and nonviolent action are
powerful tools that we can use to resist an illegal and immoral
war. In using these tools we are drawing on a rich tradition
of protest and dissent that includes not only Gandhi and Martin
Luther King but also the ‘People Power’ revolutions in the
Philipines and Eastern Europe, the Suffragettes, Danish resistance
to Nazi occupation during WWII, the Argentinian Mothers of
the Plaza de Mayo and many others.
The act of civil disobedience which voices
uk and Active Resistance to the Roots of War (ARROW) have
helped organise on Monday 2 December is an attempt to respond
creatively, and nonviolently, to the massive violence of the
threatened war. We therefore ask everyone who takes part in
the Die-in in London to take part in a spirit of nonviolence.
We want to place at the centre of our action the suffering
that ordinary families in Iraq have struggled with over the
last twelve years, and the suffering they will be forced to
endure if war takes place. For the purposes of this action
participants are asked to abide by the following guidelines:
NO threats / violence (including pushing), verbal abuse, property
damage, drugs, alcohol or flags.
Roughly 4000 people in Britain have now signed the Pledge
of Resistance committing themselves to taking part (or
supporting) acts of nonviolent resistance to the war, should
it take place.
Contingency plans for action
in the event of an attact now exist for London, Scotland,
Brighton and several other places.
January 18th / 19th 2003: A Weekend of Nonviolent Action
Against the War at Northwood Military Base in London.
If you go to one demonstration
and then go home, that’s something, but the people in power
can live with that. What they can’t live with is sustained
pressure that keeps building, organisations that keep doing
things, people that keep learning lessons from the last time
and doing it better the next time.
11am - 5pm, Sunday 1 December, Kingsley
Hall, Powis Road, off Bruce Road, E3 (nearest tube Bromley-by-Bow).
We strongly encourage everyone who is considering taking part
in the Die-in to come to this preparation session at the Kingsley
Hall. As well as going through our plan for the day, the legal
situation, and nonviolence preparation, we will also be forming
affinity groups to help make the action as effective as possible.
11.am Introductions and affinity group formation for people
risking arrest (Milan Rai, Voices/ARROW)
11.20 initial outline of schedule for the day with 5 minute
initial discussion in affinity groups on how to respond to
different situations (Gabriel Carlyle, Voices/ARROW)
11.30 What’s Going On Update on the drive to war (Milan Rai)
12.00 Parallel sessions
A) Nonviolent Direct Action preparation workshop (Kathryn
Tulip and Matthew Herbert)
B) Non-arrestable street theatre session
D) Improving skills in arguing against the war (by request)
1.30pm Lunch - 2.00pm Legal briefing (Kathryn Tulip, Activists’
3.00pm Parallel sessions
A) Nonviolent Direct Action preparation workshop contd.
B) Legal observers briefing
C) Stewards briefing
4.30pm Final session
5.00pm Close Crashpad accommodation available Sat/Sun nights:
please contact 0845 458 2564 (local rate call)
Saturday November 30th: 12 - 4pm, Kingsley
Come and help make props for the day (‘bloodied’ bandages,
for Kingsley Hall and Whitehall Place.
Kingsley Hall (from Bromley-by-Bow tube station): exit,
turn left and walk downhill. Turn off (left) into St Leonards
Street and then left again into Grace Street. Powis Road is
at the bottom of Grace Street and the Hall is on Powis Road!
The whole journey should take 5-10 minutes. If you get lost
call 07980 748 555.
Whitehall Place (from Trafalgar Square): walk down
Whitehall towards Parliament Square. The turning into Whitehall
Place is on the left-hand side of the road.
We will gather in Whitehall Place at 10.30am. Props and ‘bust’
cards (containing the legal support number and advice on what
to do if you are arrested) will be distributed and there will
be some brief announcements by the chief steward. We will
then process into Whitehall and continue until we arrive at
The ‘die-in’ will take place at this point, blocking as much
of Whitehall as is possible given our numbers, the number
of police, barricades etc... Those not intending to risk arrest
will separate out to form a vigil on the pavement. Leaflets
will be available for distribution to the general public.
We are encouraging everyone who takes part in the Die-in to
try to gain coverage of their participation in their local
media (radio, press, TV). While voices
will be putting considerable effort into getting the action
into the national media, the experience of activists over
the years is that it is much easier to get your message into
the local media. Tens of thousands of people read the local
papers, listen to local radio, and watch the local TV news
in your area.
The Die-in will be a hundred times more effective in
getting its message over to the British people if everyone
taking part sends a press release to their local media the
week before the event. The ideal press release explains who,
what, where, when, why and how. It contains a contact name
and phone number. It is brief, legible, and typed (double-spaced).
For the press, it is best to talk to the news desk early on,
tell them the story, find out their deadlines, and fax/post
them the press release. Please send copies of press releases
and any coverage you get to voices, 5 Caledonian Road, London
[INSERT DATE HERE]
Beanotown woman to ‘die’ in Whitehall Iraq protest
On Monday 7 August, Minnie Minx, 21, will be joining
Green MEP Caroline Lucas and comedian Mark Thomas at
a mass ‘die-in’ outside Downing Street to protest against
the looming war with Iraq.
Hundreds are expected to block Whitehall in this act
of civil disobedience in the tradition of Gandhi and
Martin Luther King.
Ms Minx, of Minx Road, Beanotown, says, ‘The threatened
war on Iraq is immoral, unncessary and counter-productive
and would likely kill tens of thousands of civilians.
I feel I must make my voice heard’
According to Save the Children Fund UK bombing Iraq
would ‘lead to a humanitarian disaster for which the
international community would bear a heavy responsibility’.
The London protest comes days before the deadline for
Iraq to make a ‘complete and full’ declaration of its
chemical, biological and nuclear programmes - a declaration
which could trigger an attack by the US and Britain.
CONTACT: Minnie Minx, 01234 567 890
country wants to bully the world. We must not allow that.
Nelson Mandela, 17 September
Bombing Iraq would lead to a humanitarian disaster for
which the international community would bear a heavy responsibility
... Any attacks that targeted sectors used for ration distribution
(eg transport) or for public health (eg water, sanitation,
electricity) would be an attack on children’s ability to survive.
Save the Children Fund
UK, March 2002
We deplore any military action that regards the deaths
of innocent men, women and children as a price worth paying
in fighting terrorists, since this is to fight terror with
Archbishop Rowan Williams
and 3000 others, Pax Christi Declaration, August 2002.
voices in the
wilderness uk is a campaign of civil disobedience
against the economic sanctions on Iraq. Since February 1998
voices uk has sent 11 sanctions-breaking delegations to Iraq
with medical supplies and textbooks. voices uk, 5 Caledonian
Road, London N1 9DX. tel: 0207 837 0561, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Active Resistance to the Roots of War (ARROW) is a
small nonviolent action affinity group. Over the last twelve
years ARROW has campaigned on a wide range of issues including
East Timor and the arms trade and has held a weekly vigil
outside the Foreign Office against the economic sanctions
on Iraq since July 1991. ARROW., c/o NVRN, 162 Holloway Road,
London N7 8DQ. tel. 0207 607 2302. e-mail: email@example.com
If you are considering taking part in the Die-in, we strongly
recommend that you take part in a nonviolence and legal preparation
session such as the one on December 1 (see page 3). Apart
from the other benefits, this is the best way to be properly
prepared for the possible legal consequences of taking part
in the Die-in.
Here we will just note that there are a range of possible
charges that the police might decide to bring against someone
taking part in the action.
The most obvious is ‘highway obstruction’, maximum penalty
up to £1000. It is possible that refusal to comply with an
instruction from a police officer could lead to a charge of
‘obstructing an officer,’ maximum penalty up to £1000 or 1
month in prison.
An offence which involves more than just sitting in the road
are section 5 of the Public Order Act (threatening, abusive,
insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour within
sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, distress
or alarm), maximum penalty £1000.
Then there is ‘conduct likely to lead to a breach of the peace’,
which merely leads to a court order to ‘bind you over’ to
behave yourself for a set period.
There will be legal support for everyone arrested on 2 December,
until everyone is released. There will also be legal and court
support for everyone charged until the end of their legal
process (acquittal, fine paid, or sentence served).
If you are unfamiliar with the procedure of getting arrested
and processed, please contact the voices
office on 0207 837 0561 for a copy of the Activists’ Legal
Project’s briefing ‘The arrest process and your rights’. This
briefing is also available on-line.
Affinity groups are small groups of people, usually between
three and fifteen, who come together to support one another
during nonviolent actions. Sometimes the group disbands after
a particular action, sometimes it carries on meeting.
We are encouraging everyone wishing to risk arrest on this
action to be part of an affinity group.
Safety and support
If you’re by yourself, it is easy to get lost, especially
in a police station when nobody outside knows who you are,
or even that you’ve been arrested. Also, it is good to be
around people you know and trust, especially when arrests
begin to happen.
Strength and flexibility
Affinity groups help stop the action being a crowd which can
be manipulated. Each group has an identity, as does each person
Rather than grand debates being dominated by the few, a collection
of affinity groups can use more democratic decision-making
processes - in which everyone is involved. The action is unlikely
to go exactly as planned, and the group may well need to make
decisions on the hoof.
An affinity group can contain one or two support people who
are not risking arrest, who can witness events. Support people
can give the Legal Support Unit accurate information, and
wait for arrestees to be released (a vital job). You may also
consider having a local press contact feeding information
to your local media during the day.
Forming an affinity group
An affinity group can be a collection of friends, or it can
be a group who meet for the first time at a nonviolence and
legal preparation session. There will an opportunity to form
affinity groups at the preparation session in London on 1
December (see p. 3).
|Further information on Non-Violent
Direct Action can be found on our Resources
for Activists pages.
Register your event
Please register the details of your local
event by emailing ARROW.
Please also inform your local media of your anti-war vigil.