On Wednesday 23rd September at around 5pm, James Beecher – who has been involved in the Vestas campaign since the end of July – was arrested by two police officers.
He was taken to Newport police station where he watched two episodes of ‘The Simpsons’ (one of which was, amusingly enough, about police attempts to stop drug smuggling) and a bit of ITV news while in the waiting room, before being taken into custody and held until 1.30 am, reading Richard Mabey’s ‘Fencing Paradise’ and the ubiquitous Police and Criminal Evidence Act handbook for entertainment.
James has been granted bail (on condition that he does not go within 200 metres of any Vestas site), and told to return to Newport Magistrates Court for 9.30am on Tuesday 29th September – the same time as the Southampton 4 appear in Southampton.
James originally came to the Vestas factory due to the cancellation of the Big Green Gathering, where he had intended to celebrate his 25th Birthday. He stayed on with the Bicycology ‘Pedals’ soundsystem to ensure it was present at the Court hearing where Vestas were granted the eviction order that ended the occupation.
Since then James has attended both the Welsh and UK Climate Camps, and has been raising support for the Vestas Workers at these camps and in his home town of Stroud, Gloucestershire. He has also been living at the Vestas site for most of the past 2 months – though bail conditions prevent him doing so currently. On Thursday 24th September James negotiated with Hampshire Constabulary to be allowed back to the camp (ie, to break bail) in order to collect a tent and personal items, so as not to be made homeless on the IOW by the bail conditions.
James appeared in the Isle of Wight County Press on Friday 25th September, in a positive article looking at life at the camp – where he and Marina Pepper were interviewed. On Saturday 26th he used the opportunity of being elected a Director of the newly incorporated Transition Stroud to raise support for Vestas Workers, giving out ribbons and acorns, and selling Seize the Day CDs, and raising £30 in donations for the campaign.
James invites anyone who cannot make it to Southampton for 9.30 am on Tuesday 29th September to meet him at Newport Magistrates at the same time – to show support for all those arrested during the Vestas campaign – particularly the Southampton 4. Solidarity!
(P.S. James is also known by the pseudonym George Hill and has been twittering about the Vestas campaign and other climate and labour issues at www.twitter.com/PeterPannier.)