Four anti-war activists are occupying the Finnieston Crane at this moment (28 June 2014 5:36 am) to protest against the glorification of war on Armed Forces Day. They unfurled a banner that reads ‘Resist Militarism #WhiteFeather,’ to show dissent to the increasingly US-style culture of militarism growing in the UK and to celebrate those who refuse to participate in war.
Today is the sixth national Armed Forces Day in the United Kingdom, with this year’s main celebrations being held in Stirling. The day consists of a flyover of military aircrafts, a simulated combat mission, tanks and other military vehicles alongside musical festivities billed as a fun family day out. Armed Forces Day is presented as an opportunity to appreciate veterans – but in reality normalizes militarism through the parading of military tanks, aircraft and combat techniques behind a charade of tokenistic thanks to veterans.
This action highlights that such unbridled militarism does not go unnoticed.
The action also occurs in the context of Glasgow being the city hosting the celebration of the commemoration of the beginning of WWI. 2014 marks the hundredth anniversary of the beginning of the First World War. Far from being a "war to end all wars" or a "victory for democracy", this was a military disaster and a human catastrophe.
David Cameron plans to spend £55,000,000 on "truly national commemorations" to mark this anniversary. Cameron has inappropriately compared these to the "Diamond Jubilee celebrations" and stated that their aim will be to stress our "national spirit".
One of the protesters, Angela D, says ‘We find it repulsive that in a time of so-called ‘austerity,’ where government cuts to benefits have put 200,000 additional children into poverty, that £55 million can be spent on one ceremony.'
Another of the occupiers, Frida, has stated ‘We are occupying the crane in protest of Armed Forces day – we object to the glorification of war and are here to make our voices heard.’
Press Release from the occupiers, 28 June 2014 5:36 am
For more about White Fearther, see their Facebook page: White Feather WW1
The Finnieston Crane protesters were arrested during the afternoon after occupying the crane for several hours. They were held in policy custody for the remainder of the weekend and appeared in Glasgow Sheriff Court on Monday 30 June. The prosecution pressed for bail conditions that would have kept the crane activists out of Glasgow for the duration of the Commonwealth Games. However, they were granted normal bail conditions with a special condition not to go within 50 m of the Finneston crane. They are being charged with breach of the peace and vandalism. Their trial is scheduled for November.