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Wednesday, 3rd August

Today Midlands SHACtivists continued our regular attention against vivisection collaborators AXA, Aviva and ICS.

First up, we headed to AXA where activists slipped passed security guards and gained access to the building where leaflets were distributed to workers inside. With activists still inside the building, the police acted as private security guards for AXA and formed a line at the front of the building as well as officers being inside (including the Inspector from last time who has now admitted he was wrong about the Noise Abatement Order and is seeking "legal advice" on how else to police protests). When the activists later emerged, we had acquired the promise from AXA staff of a meeting with AXA heads from London about our protests and their shares in AstraZeneca, a major customer of Huntingdon Life Sciences.

As a professional gesture, we have agreed to temporarily cease use of megaphones just up until the meeting in return, but only for a one month time period for AXA to arrange this promised meeting. Should this meeting however not go ahead, they should by now recognise SHAC's manner of turning up the heat on those who lie to the campaign and this is exactly what will happen if their promise turns out false. Protests will continue and we await to hear a date for the meeting.

Next up, we headed over to Aviva where we held another loud and visual protest against the company for their landlord agreement of offices for AstraZeneca (a major customer of HLS) in London.

Upon arrival, we took the message right to their doors again in which security guards and one Aviva worker responded by trying to physically assault activists; pushing and shoving us, grabbing us by the neck, kicking us, raising their fists and threatening us for a "fight around the back". We confronted them and stood our ground, continued to protest regardless and reminded them that only last week we were indeed "around the back" as well as on their roof! They didn't quite know how to respond, and so quickly scurried back into their building as the demo continued.

We shamed Aviva for their unethical ties with AstraZeneca, as members of the public watched the protest and some spoke to us about the demo and the campaign, they took leaflets and were shocked and disgusted to hear about who and what Aviva are involved with. Other members of the public driving passed in their vehicles saw the protest and beeped in support of us.

Upon failing to remove us via physically assaulting us and making further threats, they then resorted to locking their doors as we continued to our demo regardless. Still unknowing what to do, Aviva then lowered the shutters down once again on their own entrance. We knew they could still hear us loud and clear though, and the shutters being lowered not only meant they would not be receiving any custom but also they served as a canvas for our placards! We covered their shutters with our placards and continued to protest under the close watch of Aviva, with staff gazing down at the demonstration against the company for their unethical dealings with AstraZeneca, we feel they are getting the message perfectly clear, if you deal in vivisection, you can expect to have to deal with us!

Finally we paid a visit to Industrial Cooling Systems (ICS), who have a contract with Huntingdon Life Sciences in supplying them with equipment.

ICS had laid out a "designated protest area" with cones and such, but this has never been enforced and they sure aren't in any position to enforce anything, so we completely ignored it and as we marched onto the site security staff were seen rushing to lock the doors as windows already began slamming shut, everyone knew about the protest in which was about to begin.

We continue to shame ICS and this week in doing so we knew we were getting to the staff even more than usual as some of them tried (and failed) to throw water from above onto us. Ironic that ICS's business is based around temperature control, and they sure can't keep control of temperatures running high inside their offices! We continued and more windows were slammed shut, but then we pulled another surprise out of our sleeve as some of us managed to gain access to the back area of the site. This sent the security guards into mayhem-mode, as they could be seen scurrying and flurrying all over the building, shouting down their walkie-talkies and desperately trying to keep watch on us.

As the protest continued from the front and back of the site, more windows were slammed shut and the message took all around their building.

Cut your ties!

SHAC Midlands



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