UK Repression Feature Archive
Since late 2000 there has been an on-going attempt by multinationals and the Irish state to devastate a remote coastal area of county Mayo with a toxic refinery and a high pressure production gas pipeline. Since the summer of 2005 mass pickets shut down the refinery construction site after five residents were imprisoned for refusing to allow Shell’s sub-contractors access to their and their neighbours' small farms which the pipeline is to go through.
In August Shell announced that they intended to re-take the site in September, however during that month over a hundred people would gather at the gates when ever there was indications that such an attempt was to be made. Shell failed in September, but on the third of October a massive two hundred strong police unit forced a path for Shell. This week there have been sporadic sit down blockades of construction traffic and solidarity protests have taken place in locations across Britain and Ireland.
Reports from Mayo: Interview with Rossport Solidarity Camper | Rossport - Shell to Sea Video Report | S2S Oct 12 - 3 arrested in Mayo, Dempsey cornered in Galway | Bellanaboy, Community Under Siege - Day 11
At 1pm on Monday October 9th, up to one hundred and fifty angry and concerned people converged on the Palace of Westminster, to sack parliament. The plan was to surround parliament and cause parliamentary activities to cease. MPs, Lords and civil servants would be prevented from re-opening Parliament.
As soon as protesters started to arrive, police quickly moved in stop and search everyone that was considered 'suspicious'. Many people were turned away from reaching Parliament Square, others were singled out by police units and prevented from joining the protests. See 2pm update when protesters were surrounded by police. An NUJ photogapher was hospitalised by police [photo + witness appeal] after being violently thrown into a kerb. See also 3pm update and a report.
Eventually the people trapped in the police ring were let out and escorted from Parlianment Square after having been searched, photographed and identified [treatment of press report]. All were told that they would be reported for summons for the offence of taking part in an unlawful demonstration.
There are reports of up to 40 people having been arrested. The court hearings for those arrested and summoned will start on Tuesday 17th Oct at 10am in West London Court [details] Anyone who can get down there to show solidarity and support to those involved will be greatly appreciated. [screening of footage (tuesday 10th)]
- Tue Oct 10 - London - RampART - 15-17 Rampart St (starts 8pm)
- Wed Oct 11 - Brighton - The Cowley Club - 12 London Road
- Thu Oct 12 - Nottingham - The Sumac Centre - 245 Gladstone Street, 7.30pm (read article | report and audio from screening)
- Sat Oct 14 - Glasgow - Document 4 Intl. Human Rights Film Festival
- Sun Oct 15 - Edinburgh - Quaker Meeting House, Victoria Terrace, 7pm
- Mon Oct 16 - Edinburgh - Forest Café, 3 Bristo Place, 7.30 pm
In a multimedia live show, Soulless and Anger (the makers of PigBrother.info) present typical cases including weapons, injuries and favourite police excuses from the UK, Ireland, Italy, France, Germany, USA and Switzerland. The show takes place on 9th October, 8pm at East Oxford Community Centre.
Despite the heavy going topic and its technical aspects, the show is presented in an easy to understand and concise way, and Soulless & Anger also focus on the funnier aspects of several Police Operations making the Officers involved look only too human. They demonstrate how persistent work in this area can make a difference, forcing the police and the official media to at least sometimes act more by the book or even abolish some weapons or tactics.
The new centre is like Fort Knox. Its barred windows and security checkpoints make it clear that if they don’t want you to get out, you won’t. Many from Nottingham have been told to attend Nottingham with no indication of whether they can claim the fare back. Little or no information has been given about how to get to Loughborough, when the switch would be made, and how to get more information about it. One of the first asylum seekers to be transferred to the new office was told to sign on the fifth of every month! What if it’s a weekend? Who would invent such a system except an idiot; or a sadist trying to prevent A-S having any identity except one of dependency on the system.
Zimbabweans from across the UK led a huge demonstration in Leeds on Saturday 16 September against the resumption of deportations of refused asylum seekers back to Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe [see report]. The protest, called by the Zimbabwe Refugee Community Organisation with the backing of the Refugee Council (Yorkshire and Humberside) and campaign group Leeds No Borders, began outside Leeds Central Library at 12pm. It was addressed by, among others Mafungasei Maikokera, one of the famous Yarls Wood hunger strikers who resisted deportation on a plane bound for Harare. Hundreds of people then spontaneously marched into the main shopping precinct to the sound of samba and song.
The demonstration was called in response to a legal ruling in August that 'refused' asylum seekers no longer automatically face persecution if returned to Zimbabwe - despite the UK government's own very public condemnation of human rights abuses by the Mugagbe regime. These Zimbabweans now face the possibility of imminent deportation. Only last Wednesday in Zimbabwe, the country's main trade union leader was arrested by police for attempting to hold a demonstration which the government had earlier banned. Wellington Chibebe was beaten with batons and rifle butts as the police arrested him and 15 others. Zimbabweans are not alone - the Home Office has recently stepped up its efforts to forcibly remove asylum seekers en masse back to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Read: Demo call out | Report of Original Ruling, October 2005 | Recent legal ruling, August 2006, & Report | Refugee Council briefing | Zimbabwe Situation | Amnesty International Country Overview | Satellite images of Mugabe's community destruction scheme
Links: Coalition to Stop Deportations to Iraq | International Federation of Iraqi Refugees | National Coalition of Anti- Deportation Campaigns | Noborders UK communication channels | No Borders | Asylum Policy.info | Barbed Wire Britain | Peter Tatchell
32 Iraqi asylum seekers, who had been incarcerated in different detention centres, were deported to Arbil, northern Iraq, on 5 September, 2006, on a specially chartered flight from the RAF Brize Norton military base in Oxfordshire. There was a demonstration at the Home Office in London, called by the Coalition to Stop Deportations to Iraq and the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees, but that did not apparently stop the process, and neither did the warnings from international organisations [1 | 2 | 3] or the legal challenges.
The first forced deportation of Iraqi Kurds from the UK took place on 19 November, 2005. 15 men were taken to an airport at night, handcuffed, beaten and forced onto a military plane headed for Arbil through Cyprus. The move then sparked a lot of anger and protest [1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5], and the deportation of Iraqis was halted for a while until resumed this month. Tens of Iraqi Kurds are believed to be interned in UK detention centres, while thousands more have been served notice that they will be 'removed' from the country [latest report].
Labour's ID scheme is supposedly on the rocks, but let’s not be overly comforted by this news. There are good reasons to continue to build up the pressure. In particular, passport developments in the UK Identity and Passport Service (IPS) and the European Union could result in alternative identity databases, and since the Act is on the statute books, compulsory ID could start at any future date.
From emails leaked to the Sunday Times on July 9th, a senior Whitehall official has said the multi-billion pound scheme for compulsory ID cards and the National Identity Register (NIR) could take years to introduce and is likely to end in failure, and officials responsible for ID in the crisis-ridden Home Office are preparing for the project to be 'canned completely'. We can rejoice that a damning assessment from those closest to the plan should help to undermine Labour’s attempts to win support for ID cards. But let’s not be overly comforted by this news.
For the 12th day in a row, Israeli forces have been bombarding Lebanon, while more Israeli troops are moving into southern parts of the country. So far more than 400 Lebanese civilians have been killed, over 1,000 wounded and some 500,000 displaced, compared with 36 Israeli deaths (17 civilians) caused by Hizbullah's Katyusha rockets fired at northern Israeli cities and towns. Reports from Beirut talk of a deserted, devastated city, with residential buildings, roads and bridges being hit by Israeli air strikes [click the Full Article link for details].
Meanwhile in Palestine, Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip continue. Tens of Palestinian civilians have been killed and many more injured, not to mention the periodic shortages of food, fuel, electricity, water and medicine. Many of those killed were Palestinian civilians, including children, who died during Israeli air force "targeted killings". As well as actual bombing raids, Israeli military airplanes have conducted nightly sonic booming raids over Gaza, with the aim of making the civilian population fearful that actual bombing is under way. In retaliation, Palestinian groups also continue to fire Qassam rockets at Israeli towns [see Human Rights Watch's statement].
Apart from the mass destruction of civilian infrastructure, there are reports that Israeli forces have been using internationally banned weapons, such as phosphorus incendiary bombs and vacuum bombs, both in Gaza and in Lebanon.
Although still small in scale, there have been a few protests against the continuing Israeli attacks on Lebanon and Gaza throughout the world. On 18 June, several hundred people demonstrated in Parliament Square in London. National-wide demonstrations have been called for July 22nd by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War Coalition and various Muslim organisations. July 22nd is also going to be an International Day of Action Against Israeli Aggression. Earlier this month, protesters blockaded EDO MBM in Brighton, which makes electrical weapons components for the Israeli military. [see also "Boycott Israeli Goods" National Day of Action].
Read more: Global Indymedia feature | Word from Lebanon | Cyprus Indymedia features 1 | 2 | Appeal for Solidarity with Lebanese Civil Society | The racist subtext of the evacuation story | The Israeli Censor | The Gaza Sea Weeps Blood | Background to the Israel-Palestine crisis | Arab-Israeli wars | Photos: cmaq gallery
On Wednesday 28th June the J B Spray building in Radford was squatted. It was illegally evicted by the police on Friday 30th June and reoccupied on Saturday 1st July. A new squat is born in Squattingham!
Built in 1870 the historic lace mill, a grade 2 listed building, has sat empty for years while the owner apparently seeks community uses for the property. Unwilling to see such a beautiful building left to rot this inspired group is seeking to answer both their own need for housing and the wider community need to reclaim spaces like these as social spaces to share and bring people together.
Links to more information and pictures about the squats' progress
J B Spray Building Occupied / Evicted / Reoccupied | Spray Building Squat, Radford: A Guided Tour | Spray Squat Party 1 : Acoustic Gig | Spray Building Squat : Nottingham County Court Appearance | Spray Squat Party 2 : Acoustic Gig, with diner |
When is a demonstration not a demonstration? That's a question that SOCPA followers have been asking for almost a year now, with ever more people coming before the judge as Serious Criminals. Since Brian Haw's protest was trashed early in the morning of 23rd May by 50 police there have been many reports of challenges to the Act's restriction on protest and its uneven enforcement by the police.
Saturday, 24th June, saw a day of protest at 5 British airports (Glasgow, Prestwick, Edinburgh, Gatwick and Birmingham International) against the so-called rendition flights, used by the CIA to secretly and illegally transport 'terror suspects' arrested or kidnapped around the world for 'interrogation' in other countries, where torture of prisoners is practiced. The protests were supported by Birmingham Guantanamo Campaign, Scotland Against Criminalising Communities, Save Omar Deghayes Campaign and Edinburgh Stop The War Coalition. The 5 are among tens of British and European airports where CIA-owned or chartered jets have been logged.
In Birmingham, about 20 people took part in a vigil on the A45 outside Birmingham International Airport to "demand action to put a stop to the CIA's torture flights". They were later joined by people from Oxford and Coventry. In Edinburgh, the protest involved about 35 people from different campaigns. Banners and placards read "Stop the torture flights", "Stop the War". In both cases, activists were dressed up in orange jump suits, worn by detainees in Guantanamo, and shackled and handcuffed. Similar protests took place at Glasgow, Gatwick and Prestwick airports.
The UK and other EU governments have repeatedly dnied any knowledge of such flights, despite the mounting evidence of their complicity. A report by the Council of Europe's rapporteur, Dick Marty, said European governments, including Britain, were complicit in these abuses. The report was debated by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on 27 June. [the report in pdf]
Read more: El-Masri suing CIA for flight to prison | List of CIA torture planes | CIA's secret jails | CIA aircraft flying into Scotland | Europe knew | Europe's agreement
Amnesty International's report | Liberty's page on extraordinary rendition.
On Wednesday, 14th of June, at 3am police units started to shoot teargas from helicopters on the encampment of striking teachers, from the Oaxaca Democratic Teachers’ Union, Section 22 of the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE in its Spanish initials). Shortly afterwards thousands of police, armed with tear gas, smoke grenades, stun grenades and firearms, stormed the occupied main Plaza in Oaxaca where teachers have been gathering for 23 days to protest against Governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz and for better education.[NarcoNews] The union building was stormed and four journalists from Radio Planton were the first to be arrested. After the police retreated, the teachers retook the central square. [Statement of the EZLN]. At about 6pm the University Radio was raided by police and the transmission cut off.
On Friday, hundreds of thousands demonstrated in Oaxaca against this police brutality and to demand the resignation of the governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz.
Since the Other Campaign begun, state repression has increased, with a red alert anounced by the EZLN after a brutal police attack in Atenco about a month ago.
Pictures [1 | 2] | Video (12,5 mb)
[Indymedia Oaxaca | Indymedia Chiapas | global Indymedia | Indymedia UK Zapatista page | Indymedia Germany | Indymedia SF Bay | Indymedia Portugal | EZLN Blog | Local newspaper | La Jornada ]
A crowd of several hundred demonstrators, mainly Muslim, gathered outside New Scotland Yard on Sunday afternoon 11 June to voice their disquiet at the June 2 raid in Forest Gate. The police raid which involved some 250 officers, was one of the largest single 'anti-terrorist' raids in Britain. Two houses were targeted based on intelligence that they were the location for a chemical bomb factory run by two brothers, Mohammed Abdul Kahar and Abdul Koyair.
The raid was brutal and Koyair was shot in the shoulder in circumstances that remain a mystery. The two brothers were eventually released without charge late on Friday June 9.
A demonstration was called for the 18th of June to show support for the families of the Forest Gate raid. More than 2000 people marched in East London to show the community’s anger and frustration at the raids. Demonstrators carried placards with statements such as “The War on Terror is a War on Us” [Report]
On Friday, 9th of June, the Isreali Navy shelled families holidaying on Gaza beach. Ten people were obliterated in the bombing and children were left screaming over the mutilated bodies of their loved ones. Please follow the Full Article link for more details. [listen to audio interview with surviving member of the family]
The situation in Palestine is becoming more desperate in every area of life, from the continual land theft and increase in illegal settlements across the West Bank to the daily incursions, assassinations and arrests.
Check out the links below to read and listen to reports form across the region. For constant updates, please visit the International Middle East Media Centre website.
Palestine Today [ Mon, 5 June | Tues, 6 June | Wed, 7 June] | This Week in Palestine [2nd June] | Analysis from Palestine | Report from the West Bank | AL Numan report | New Fateh-led force in West Bank | Interview about the non-violent movement in Palestine | Israeli Army repression of non-violent protests in occupied Bilien
On Friday 12th May, several activists and human rights campaigners, including people from different groups such as the London Zapatista Action Project (z.a.p.), Bristol Solidarity group Kiptik and the Comite Cerezo support group in the U.K, staged a peaceful occupation and noise demonstration at the Mexican Embassy in London [Photos and Report]. Four people locked on in front of the Embassy, effectively closing it down for business for most of the day. Meanwhile a Samba band was playing whilst other activists held banners referring to the events that have been taking place in San Salvador de Atenco, northern Mexico [Press Release]. Another protest outside the Mexican embassy had already taken place on Wednesday 10th [Pics and Report]. The Electronic Disturbance Theater and the Borderlands Hacklab also called for a virtual strike against the Mexican Government on May 5th.
Last week, residents of Atenco, a municipality near Mexico City, suffered massive police brutality and repression, after local organisations helped 60 flower vendors of the Texcoco local market to resist a blockade by state police that prevented them from setting up their stands. People from Atenco quickly responded by obstructing the highway that borders their town and leads to Texcoco market. The events that followed speak of unprecedented levels of police brutality. More than 3000 armed police forces stormed the town beating everyone in their path [Photos: 1 | 2 | 3 | Videos: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4] and arrested more than 200 people after a house to house search around the town. Francisco Javier Cort�s, a 14 year old local boy, was killed as a result of police violence on the first day, and many were severely injured. Since then there have been reports that a total of up to 300 people were arrested (of which the authorities have only recognised 109), 18 people were disappeared, 5 women were raped whilst in custody, and 5 foreigners deported.
Reports in the IMC-UK newswire by: Global Exchange | The Other Campaign Montreal | Irene of Mexico City | Erika Del Carmen Fuchs from Mexico DF | Kasa de Kultura para Tod@s | Edinburgh Chiapas Solidarity Group.
Follow the unfolding events in: Narconews Bulletin | IMC-Chiapas | IMC-Mexico | IMC-UK Zapatista Page
Radio webstream with daily reports (Sp): Ke-Huelga Radio Zapote
Brian Haw's display was removed early in the morning of 23rd May by 50 police officers. At 2.45am they turned up and started to load a container with all the placards and banners and almost all of Brian's personal possessions. [Photos | Video]
A timeline since Monday 8th, when the state won its appeal against the decision that the SOCPA legislation could not be applied to the protest which Brian Haw appears in full article and additions below.
Since the election of the Kadima party, violence and incursions against the Palestinian population has intensified. A report prepared and published by the Palestinian National Information Centre on the Israeli violations in the period between 4 and 10 April, 2006, revealed that Israeli soldiers shelled Palestinian homes, killing 19, while 7 residents were extra-judicially assassinated.
The Israeli violations also include repeated invasions of Palestinian cities, villages and refugee camps, with checkpoint closures isolating the Palestinian territories from each other.
Reports: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | Global Indymedia feature
Audio: report on extra-judicial killing | interview with Dr Ghassan Hamdan of the PMRS | interview with a member of the Hebron Christian Peace Maker team who was attacked by settlers
Read also: article from Laila El-Haddad's blog
For continuous updates on the situation in Palestine, please visit International Middle East Media Centre | Palestine News Network | and also This week in Palestine, which is a weekly audio round-up of key events in Gaza and the West Bank.
Condoleezza Rice - Secretary of State and former National Security Advisor to the Bush Administration - toured Liverpool on the weekend beginning 31st March. She visited LIPA & was serenaded by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. Mersey poet Roger McGough was due to compere the concert in her honour, but withdrew his support. Masses of protesters turned out and let Rice know she was not welcome here.
Liverpool Foots the Bill…And People Say Scousers Are Thieving Bastards
Sat 1st April - Maritime Museum visit Rice, Straw and Liverpool's Rich Cultural Heritage
On Indymedia: 30 Mar - Protests outside Condi's hotel | Protestors, performers & police get ready for Condi visit
Previously:1 | 2