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Carmel Agrexco visited by protesters

February 10th, 2009 · post by anon · Make a comment

On Saturday 7th January around 60 protesters visited the main UK depot of Israeli export company Carmel Agrexco located near Heathrow airport, Middlesex. The protest was heavily policed with up to 150-200 police officers on site including forward intelligence (FIT) teams.

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The weekend before Valentines day is Carmel Agrexco’s busiest period of the year, as they import large amounts of flowers from Palestine, Israeli settlements and Israel. The protest was organised to coincide with this date in an attempt to disrupt the running of the depot.

Protesters gathered outside the depot in the early hours of Saturday morning only to find that the depot had been closed in anticipation of protest and possible direct action. An attempt made to march to a nearby company with links to Carmel Agrexco was blocked by a police line.

Find out more about Carmel Agrexco at the BIG campaign website

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Personal account

As I sat on a bench on The Level in Brighton waiting for the mini-bus to pick me up I noticed two police officers standing on the opposite side of the road. I instantly recognised them as members of the forward intelligence team. They where taking notes and when the mini-bus finally came and we got on our way they gave us a wave goodbye! This could have been seen as a sign of things to come.

After stopping to ask for directions more times than I can remember we finally found our way to the industrial estate that is home to Carmel Agrexco. As we rounded the first corner a police van pulled into the road blocking the way. Roughly 12 police officers jumped out and commanded us to get out of the bus.

They lead each of us away individually in an attempt to glean personal information from us. Whilst this was going on another officer searched the mini-bus.

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We were then allowed to continue down the road to where the protest was taking place.

At this point we were already running late and a samba band had started to lead people down the road towards Cargoflora. I saw a police van move out and block the road 100 meters ahead and police officers started to file out, filling the gaps, effectively blocking us from going any further. A few people attempted to get though gaps in the police line but were quickly stopped.

At this point it was clear that the protest lacked the numbers to attempt to get any further and people started heading back towards the Carmel Agrexco depot where we remained up until 3pm. carmel6

As we set off home we quickly picked up a police ‘escort’ in the form of not only a car but a van too! Again we were lost and headed in and out of housing estates making U-turns after finding ourselves on unknown back roads. After a while this clearly became an annoyance to our escort and with blue lights flashing and sirens wailing they pulled us over into a garage.

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Members of the general public looked bewildered and amused at the almost comical scene unfolding before them. Our small battered old mini-bus was surrounded by around 15 police officers, who threatened us with fines for road safety offenses and did every check possible on the mini-bus they could; generally just looking for a reason to stop us from getting home. Luckily for us the mini-bus just about passed all inspections and we headed on our way.

They continued to follow, even waiting for us outside a pub for an hour till finally we got to the M25 and we all breathed a sigh of relief.

More photos

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