Just do it!
A feature of these and many other incidents has been the abuse by the state & police (and indeed local authorities such as Bristol) of existing legislation – such as the Public Order Act 1986, the Criminal Justice Act 1994, the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, the various Anti-Social behaviour type acts (ie 2003), the Terrorism Act 2000, the Anti-Terrorism, Crime & Security Act 2001, and the recently passed Serious Organised Crime & Police Act, with yet another anti-terror bill about to be introduced. The Geneva convention on refugees, the European Convention on Human Rights, even the EU Human Rights Act, are proving to be worthless pieces of paper, as our freedoms of speech, expression, assembly, and even thought are attacked.
History has shown us that where there are demands for greater rights, or protests against injustice and oppression, the ruling elite and the state will crack down hard, often using the pretext of unrelated issues (currently the ‘war on terror’). Issue 18 of Bristle, published last January, was titled ‘Welcome to the police state’. In issue 19 we admitted we were wrong, the new police state would be Europe-wide, not just in the UK. Since then attacks on our rights, or freedom to protest, have increased. Fortunately history also shows us that when the ruling elite and the state behave in such a way, resistance has tended to increase. Bristle mag has been pleased to report and comment on such acts of resistance & defiance since 1997, and it is great to see Bristol Indymedia, and the Bristolian, doing the same in their own unique ways.
It will come as no surprise then that Bristle is supporting the Freedom To Protest Conference, in London on 23 October (same venue as the Anarchist Bookfair on 22 October – see http://www.anarchistbookfair.org). Going under the slogan of ‘We will not be silenced’, the conference will bring together people to share experiences, promote mutual aid & co-operation, and develop effective strategies for standing up against injustice & oppression.
Any oppressive laws can be rendered unworkable through protest, non-co-operation and defiance. History has taught us that. Relying on the Tories, the Lib Dems, the peers, the legal system, the mainstream media, or celebrity spokespersons (see Monbiot below) is not going to work. The only people we can rely on are ourselves.
You can get leaflets for the event from here http://www.freedomtoprotest.org.uk/FTPleaflet2colour.pdf
You can get links to legal resources & useful contacts here http://www.freedomtoprotest.org.uk/links.htm
See also George Monbiot here http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2005/10/04/protesters-are-criminals/
Supporting groups include:
Aldermaston Womens Peace camp; Birmingham Guatanamo Campaign; Brighton Peace & Environment Centre; Campaign Against Criminalising Communities; Campaign Against the Arms Trade; Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases; Campaign to Close Campsfield; Cardiff World Development Movement; Corporate Watch; Defend the M&S Picket Campaign (Manchester); FreeBeagles; Friends of Maldives; Genetic Engineering Network; George Fox 6; Haringey Against ID Cards; Haringey Solidarity Group; Haringey Trades Union Council; Legal Action for Women; Legal Defence and Monitoring Group; London Anarchist Federation; London Rising Tide; Matlock Peacerights; McLibel Support Campaign; Milton Keynes NO2ID; Muslim Parliament; Newham Monitoring Project; Oxford Action Resource Centre; Parliament Sq Peace Campaign and Brian Haw Supporters; Peace News; Penzance Peace Moves Coalition; Privacy International; Rhythms of Resistance; Sante Refugee Mental Health Access Project; Smash EDO Campaign; Speak Campaign; Veggies Catering Campaign; Wimbledon Disarmament Coalition / CND; Worthing Eco-Action; 56a Infoshop.