UK: Police threaten Mayday web hosts


Message received by Statewatch: 28.3.02:

"The MET police have been threatening to raid website hosts who have tried to host the website for this years "May Day Festival of Alternatives".

The content of what should be available at www.ourmayday.org.uk is information about the 2002 "May Day Festival of Alternatives". Running from 16th April - May 6th, the programme of events mostly includes music performances, film screenings, and workshops on a variety of issues and diy skill sharing, as well as ideas for protests on 1 May itself.

The website should have 'gone live' last month, however at least 3 different website hosts who agreed to host the site have been quickly approached by police, when the domain name 'ourmayday.org.uk' has been pointed at their servers.

MET Police have either contacted the hosts by phone or in person, demanding to know all of the personal details of the people behind the 'ourmayday' website. The MET Police have also told the hosts they must remove the site (or not to host it) or be faced with a police raid during which their web servers would be seized. The Police have not said under what legislation they are making these demands and threats. As a result of the police threats the webhosts have so far declined to host the website.

Recently the website was temporarily hosted on a German website, but soon after the whole server which also hosts many other websites 'went down' and has not been restored. At this time it is not known if this is connected to British police activity. Appeals have now been made for other servers to host the website.

NB: Text on the website and on May Day leaflets says:

"This Mayday we are responding to the frequently asked question 'What are you for? What do you actually want?' We aim to show our goals of creating a society based on solidarity, autonomy and co-operation - in practice. We want to show that there is a future beyond capitalism, wage-labour and the state;"

"The Festival will consist of around 10 days of community-based events aiming at celebration, subversion and DIY liberation; and to demonstrate the diversity of our movement, with the intention of building long-range sustained alternatives."

"The Mayday Festival of Alternatives is inspired by a month of dissident art/culture events in France, held last year in response to the irrelevance and media saturation of the General Election 2001."

Planned workshops throughout the Festival of Alternatives include:

*Allotments *Wildlife garden projects *Asylum *Biodiversity and food security *Clothes making *Desktop publishing *Feminist History *Film Showings *Flamenco *Gender *GM monoculture *Shiatsu *Journalism *Sweatshop labour *Nuclear issues *Climate Change *Social Centres *Squatting *Plumbing *Tree climbing *What is Anarchism? *Yoga

NB Recent public meetings about the Festival have been subject to police surveillance with people attending being filmed and photographed."



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