London Indymedia

Wombles targeted in Glasgow police operation

IMCista | 07.07.2005 23:22 | G8 2005 | Repression | London

It is now emerging that while the blockades were up in Stirling and the gates of Gleneagles were being breached, a huge police operation was underway in Glasgow targeting the Wombles. There will be more news on what happened on 6 July shortly, but here is today's instalment.

Yesterday, the 11 arrests in Glasgow were in fact the result of a targeted operation against the Wombles (more news to follow). At today's afternoon court hearing in Glasgow, the 8 Wombles and 3 others were charged with "conspiracy to breach the peace" and then "liberated" (actual term used) on the proviso that they remained charged and the police had up to a year to decide whether to pursue the prosecutions. The hearing took place in a heavily policed setting with some 40 all-black uniformed officers specifically there for the Wombles hearing.

The thirty supporters were escorted in and out of the public gallery in groups of 2 by police who joined them for the hearing and then followed the group of 40 Wombles and friends out of the Sheriff's Court when they finally left at around 16:40. The group then headed for a pub across a bridge but soon turned back when some 60 police, this time in yellow bibs, and a police camera van could be seen lined up across the other side of the bridge ready to stop and search the group. They eventually found another pub, The Sharkeys, all the time being discreetly followed by police vans. After about an hour (approx. 18.00), 2 police officers came into the pub and began looking around. A number of people asked them what they were looking for and why they were in the pub. According to an eye-witness, the police response was very aggressive and they began shouting at people and then pushing. Heated words were exchanged and 1 officer began threatening the group with arrest. Suddenly, the police began trying to drag one person out of the pub. The group of activists stood up and asked the police to calm down.

The situation rapidly escalated and spilled out into the streets when the police tried to drag someone out. The 2 police officers began trying to arrest somebody for assault and some scuffles broke out. Out of nowhere, 4 minibuses and a few cars acontaining some 40 to 50 police in all black uniforms (wearing 'E' numbers). Two more people were arrested for either assault or obstruction. One of the arrested was a Womble. Some of the group asked the police why they were provoking a situation "when we our minds are in London where our friends and loved ones could be seriously injured or dead?". Apparently, a number of female police officers looked like they had been crying and did not look happy with the operation they were on. As this was going on, some of the police went into the pub to talk to the bar owners.

Some 20 minutes after the incident began and with their friends now driven away, the group of activists finally went back inside the pub to finish their drinks. Moments later, a new group of 20 to 25 police officers entered the pub, including Chief Inspector Brian Murphy of Pitt Street Central police station in Glasgow, surrounded their tables and announced: "The bar owner has asked you to leave, finish your drinks as soon as possible and leave the pub". The bar owner had apparently said nothing of the sort and was more scared by the behaviour of the police. When the police were challenged, they responded by saying "this is not a debate, you've got ten minutes to drink up and leave". The group stayed for a further 10 minutes and in that time were constantly harrassed, even followed to the toilets.

When the Wombles and others finally left the pub, they found that a large number of police had lined entrance across the pub. The police made a further announcement, demanding that the activists "disperse" from the area and not in one big group but in small groups of 3 to 4 people. The police were asked under what law was this action being taken. The response from the officer in charge was "there are many laws I can use" but failed to state one. The activists then finally left as requested. It is being claimed that there were five undercover cops in the pub carpark from Special Branch.



Display the following 3 comments

  1. wombles — tripod
  2. End of the wombles — GJ
  3. end of trolls? I wish


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