Police have intervened across the country to censor ‘On the Verge’ an independent documentary about a campaign to shut down a Brighton weapons manufacturer. So far establishments in Southampton, Chichester and Bath and Oxford as well as Brighton have come under police pressure to cancel film showings. In Brighton police intervened to prevent a showing at the Duke of York’s Cinema.
Staff at the Arthouse Community Cafe in Bedford Place, Southampton were approached at 11 a.m (Weds 19th March) by police accompanied by licensing officers. Threats were made concerning their licensing if the film, due to be shown on Thursday 20th was screened. Jani Franck director of the Community Cafe said “I grew up in South Africa and this feels awfully familiar. This has nothing to do with protecting the public this is nothing but censorship”
Sussex Police initially denied involvement in the decision to cancel the screening at the Duke of York’s cinema, with Chief Inspector Taylor telling the Argus newspaper that “Police played no part in the controversial cancellation”.
Subsequently however the police were forced to admit that “a junior officer, who is not based in the city, alerted the city council to the showing and they advised the cinema of its responsibilities.”
Spokesman for the production company SchMovies, Steven Bishop said ““I am extremely disappointed but not entirely surprised by the police’s action. There may be issues with certification but as we’re not charging for entry this shouldn’t be an issue. If the police really had problems over the certificate they could have approached us at a much earlier stage. Our film although focussing mainly on the rights and wrongs of protest shows a number of examples of questionable police behaviour — Perhaps this is why they left their move so late”
Andrew Beckett, spokesman for the campaign said ‘It looks like a co-ordinated campaign against the film. When the police are reduced to banning film showings via the back door another blow has been struck against our rights to free speech and free assembly’
Steve Bishop — SchMovies 07879 261625
Andrew Beckett/Chloe Marsh 07875 708873
Arthouse Community Centre, Southampton 02380238582
Sussex Police Press 01273 404173
Hampshire Police Press 01962 871619
On the Verge — An independent film about the SMASH EDO Campaign — View a trailer at
“In 2004 a group of Brighton peace campaigners began to bang pot and pans outside their local arms manufacturers EDO MBM in disgust of their part in the Iraq war. This has grown into the Smash EDO campaign, which has cost the company millions, been the subject of large scale police operations and has tested the right to protest in the UK.Using activist, police and CCTV footage plus interviews with those involved in the campaign, ‘On The Verge’ tells the story of one of the most persistent and imaginative campaigns to emerge out of the UK’s anti-war movement and direct action scene.”
EDO MBM Technologies Ltd are the sole UK subsidiary of huge U.S weapons manufacturer EDO Corp.From their base in Moulescoombe Brighton, EDO MBM
manufacture vital parts for the Hellfire and Paveway weapons systems,laserguided missilesused extensively in Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and Somalia. EDO Corp
were recently acquired by ITT in multi-billion pound deal. ITT’s links to fascism go back to the 1930s. The founder Sosthenes Behn was the first foreign businessman
received by Hitler after his seizure of power.
There has been active campaign against the presence of
MBM in Brighton since the outbreak of the Iraq war.Campaigners include students, Quakers ,
Palestine solidarity activists, anti-capitalists and academics. Despite an injunction under the protection of harassment act (which failed) and over
forty arrests the campaign is still going strong.Their avowed aim is to expose EDO MBM and their complicity in war crimes and to remove them from Brighton.
They hold regular weekly demos outside the Moulescoombe factory on Wednesday’s between 4 and 6.