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Last Updated: Friday, 22 April, 2005, 15:45 GMT 16:45 UK
Anti-war protesters 'have rights'
Protesters outside EdoMBM last year
Protesters blockaded the road outside EdoMBM last year
Anti-war activists say an injunction against their Brighton demonstrations would breach their right to protest.

Arms firm EdoMBM Technology is trying to stop the Smash EDO campaigners from protesting outside its plant.

Stephanie Harrison, for seven of the defendants, said the injunction would have a "draconian and totally unjustified" impact on their rights.

On Friday, the High Court saw footage of a roadblock and a 24-hour rooftop occupation. The case continues.

'Mass murder' memo

The High Court claim has been brought by the managing director of EdoMBM, David Jones, on behalf of 156 Brighton employees, security guards, and three sub-contractors.

His representative, Tim Lawson-Cruttenden, claimed the factory had been targeted in a "concerted campaign" of unlawful harassment, with employees assaulted, intimidated and insulted.

Footage shown to Mr Justice Gross was of a roadblock last May which closed access to the site for five hours, and the rooftop protest in September.

The court heard a memo containing Mr Jones's address had linked him with "mass murder".

Protesters on the roof of EdoMBM last year
Protesters highlighted the firm's role in making arms systems

The court has been asked for an order under the Protection from Harassment act against 12 named individuals and two groups - Campaign to Smash EDO and the Bombs Out of Brighton Campaign.

The order would be in force until a full trial took place and would restrict all protests to four and a half hours on Thursday afternoons.

No more than 10 people would be allowed to attend, and artificial or amplified noise would be banned.

Protesters would also be stopped from having contact or seeking to communicate with the firm's employees.

There would also be an exclusion zone around the premises in Brighton.

'Proof impossible'

But Ms Harrison said the protesters had rights of free association, expression and protest.

She said it concerned a matter of the most public controversy - the war in Iraq.

And she said it was impossible for the claimant to establish the required criminal standard of proof for its allegations that the two protest groups had run an anti-war campaign of which the individual defendants were a central part.

The hearing will continue on Monday.




SEE ALSO:
Anti-war protesters told to stop
14 Apr 05 |  Southern Counties
Ten arrested over weapons protest
20 May 04 |  Southern Counties


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