Annual 4th July Independence FROM America demonstration

Tony Gosling tony at
Thu Jul 15 00:00:45 BST 2010

Annual Independence FROM America demonstration

Lindis Percy | 14.07.2010 20:56 | Anti-militarism | Sheffield | World
An account of the Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases 
(CAAB) annual 'Independence FROM America' demonstration held on 
Sunday 4th July 2010 at Menwith Hill, Near Harrogate.

What went on - 4 July 2010 at the American base at Menwith Hill 
(apologies for the delay)

Menwith Hill celebrated independence from Great Britain (1776) the 
week before the traditional
date - 4 July each year. Maybe this was because we were there to call 
for Independence FROM
America on that date. It was the annual demonstataion 'Independence 
FROM America' at the American
base at Menwith Hill. There has been a demonstration here since 1982.

Having had glorious hot summer weather for a lovely long time, on 4 
July it changed! Very strong
winds and the heavens opened.

About 200 people came which was more people than last year. Perhaps 
this was because Mark Thomas
(comedian and political activist) and Peter Tatchell (Human rights 
activist) were the guest
speakers as well as an excellent 'line up' of musicians. This year 
the general theme was in line
with the World Cup - the goal is Independence FROM America.

Steve Hill (Daftasadrum) started the demonstration with a wonderful 
drumming workshop. The
demonstration was hosted by Martin Schweiger (doctor, activist and 
Quaker). Moira Hill and Peter
Kenyon read the Declaration of Independence FROM America (amended 
original version).

Mark Thomas spoke and was Mark Thomas and signed copies of 'the 
Peoples Manifesto'. Sadly Peter
Tatchell could not come, having rung on the morning of the 
demonstration to say that he had a
ferocious migraine. People signed a get well card at the 
demonstration which we sent.

Mark handed in a large Red Card which people had signed adding 
inspirational messages to Mary
O'brien as to why Menwith Hill should go. Whistles were blown as this 
was happening. (We had
writen to Mary O'Brien to say we would like her to receive the Red 
Card - David Elliott (RAF
Liaison officer) replied saying they were both at a prior engagement 
and that a representative of
the Ministry of Defence Police Agency would receive it.

If anyone hasn't heard Roy Bailey before (socialist folk singer - he 
has a website) then you missed
something very special. East Lancs Clarion Choir sang unaccompanied 
some lovely songs. The
wonderful folk band Seize the Day played while the heavens opened and 
a band from Preston played
before we walked round the base.

Dave Bevan and his excellent team provided wonderful food throughout.

The walk was special in that we had retrieved a small civil liberty 
(a bit of a struggle!). North
Yorkshire police (NYP) have prevented the traditional walk round the 
base for the past three years
by putting on conditions (Public Order Act 1986). CAAB contacted 
Liberty once again and this year
with their help NYP agreed that we could walk round Menwith Hill and 
further more they would help;
our argument that it is the duty of the police to enable protest as 
protest is one of our Human
Rights ('right to assemble' and 'freedom of expression'). We had 
carefully liaised with NYP and
had met senior officers before to stress these points.

The police were excellent - polite, helpful and courteous (how 
effective are we being?!!!!) and as
they used to be at these demonstrations. Please refer to the letter 
we wrote to Aubrey Smith
(Chief Inspector NYP). There were very few police visible (all tucked 
up on the base), no police
horses or police vehicles etc etc or any 'evidence gathering' 
officers to be seen. Police on
cycles helped with the walk. The traffic was 'sheparded' by police on 
motor bikes.

Many thanks to everyone who helped to make the demonstration 
possible. We are now planning the
next annual demonstration (Keep Space for Peace) at Menwith Hill - 
more details nearer the time.

demonstration outside the main
entrance to Menwith Hill - every Tuesday evening (6-8 pm) - if you 
haven't been before - come and
learn what they do there....

Lindis Percy
  e-mail: percy at

+44 (0)7786 952037
"Capitalism is institutionalised bribery."

"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic poison which 
alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung

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