Anarchy group targets Bristol railway in bid to 'paralyse economy'
An anarchist group claims it has sabotaged signalling on the railway network in Bristol and started a campaign to “paralyse the economy”.
British Transport police said lives were put at risk by the attacks, which involved anarchists digging out signalling cables, wrapping them in flammable material and then setting them on fire.
Police and railway operators say they are investigating after the two attacks happened early on Tuesday morning in two locations – near Parson Street station in the south of Bristol, and near Patchway railway station on the other side of the city.
A statement was put on Bristol’s ‘Indymedia’ website claiming responsibility for the attacks. A group calling itself the Informal Anarchist Federation said the attacks were the opening salvo in a “low-intensity” war, which it was declaring on the “financial, judicial, communications, military and transport infrastructure” and its employees.
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The IAF statement warned of further “guerrilla attacks” and sabotage to “hurt the national image and paralyse the economy however we can”.
Police said they were aware of the statement and it was now one of their lines of inquiry. Network Rail said the nature of the attack was rare – normally damage to the railway network is either caused by the specific targeting of metal thieves or by random damage by young vandals.
DCI John Pyke, from British Transport Police, said: “We are aware of a statement posted on the internet in which a group is claiming responsibility for these incidents. At the moment, this is one of a number of lines of inquiry officers are investigating. We will do everything possible to trace those responsible and bring them to justice.”
The anarchist statement said it had specifically chosen the locations to disrupt the employees of Bristol’s many firms involved in defence.
“The purpose of guerrilla attack is to spread the struggle into different territories and facets of life,” it began.
“Finance, judicial, communications, military and transport infrastructure will continue to be targets of the new generation of urban low-intensity warfare.”
“The group said the points on the track had been chosen to target employees of the Ministry of Defence, “military industry companies” such as Raytheon, Thales, HP and QinetiQ in the business park near Filton Abbey Wood station, and the “corporate hub of Bristol” near the Temple Meads station. Normal services were not restored until the evening.
“We have no inhibition to use guerrilla activity to hurt the national image and paralyse the economy however we can. We don’t want rich tourists – we want civil war,” the statement added.