So Dirk and I went to the Climate Camp last week, to add our voice to the growing number of people who are actively seeking alternatives to fossil fuelled way of life, and who are protesting against the new planet-threatening coal powered station at Kingsnorth in Kent.
As we arrived we were greeted with a wave of police who had corralled everyone trying to go on site into a pen for searching. Dirk and Dave (who turned out to be Dave Morris of McLibel Trial fame) refused to be searched as the law being invoked – a terrorist law – required police to suspect individuals of intent to do harm. Which clearly most of us weren’t. Dirk and Dave successfully made their case, and then returned to invite the other detainees to break ranks. Two days later, when they tried again (by this time police were also searching people leaving camp, often forcibly and brutally) Dirk was arrested. That's him being bundled into the van.
He was let out on bail at midnight during the dramatic thunderstorm and since he wasn’t allowed back on camp made his way back to Lewes by dawn. He was charged, with a trial date of 3 September. He’s fine now. He lodged a complaint and lawyers will be contesting this and the many other illegal actions carried out by police (I won’t go into them here for risk of sickening you as much as I have been). Norman Baker, who was also nearly caught in pepper spray by riot police against peaceful people during his visit, has also lodged a complaint to the top brass.
The camp itself, in contrast, was stunningly organised, with its self-managed consensus decision making and very diverse culture. Compost loos, brilliant vegan food, passionate and intelligent speakers – amazing legal backup with legal observer training, and 1,500 people looking after each other, peacefully and playfully. A real celebration of human ingenuity, a little ray of hope for humanity.