UK Repression Feature Archive
The University of Nottingham's Amnesty International Society's held a protest against the continuing human rights abuses at Guantanamo Bay. On Saturday the 10th of March folks dressed in orange jump suits re-created a Guantanamo scene on Long Row in Nottingham with people caged in.
It is now over five years since the first detainees were transferred to the detention camp and despite widespread international condemnation, hundreds of people from more than 30 nationalities remain there: without charge and with little hope of obtaining a fair trial. Alan Simpson, MP for Nottingham South, joined in the protest about half way through.
Links: Amnesty International Society | Amnesty International | The National Guantanamo Coalition | UK Feature article: Tackle the Shackles, Close Guantanamo | Other articles: Sheffield G8 Events: Guantanamo Bay orange jump suits | The Road to Guantánamo
Early in the morning of March 6th, high court bailiffs and police moved in to evict the Vortex Occupied Social Centre. The old Jazz bar on Stoke Newington Church Street, North London, had been occupied since the beginning of the year and had been open for numerous and varied community events [ 1 | 2 | 3 ].
The occupied house in Copenhagen, Denmark named 'Ungdomshuset' has functioned as a very important political and social cultural centre since 1982. It had been involved in a long political and legal battle for its existance. But yesterday morning at around 7am Danish police made an end to this by entering the roof of the building using a helicopter and start an unannouced full scale eviction. Riot-police sealed off nearby streets quickly and attacked the building using teargas. As the whole area was closed off, so documenting the action and police-behaviour was difficult. Some witnesses say that teargas and police violence was plentiful, although the eviction happened swiftly and according to police in a "relatively calm manner".
At the moment everything is but calm. Over 1000 people are reported to be back onto the streets last night and (burning) barricades blocked off some major roads in the city. Some people have been admitted to hospital. Riots have continued throughout the day and night and solidarity actions spontaniosly broke out in cities across europe: Berlin (300+), Köln, Hamburg (700+), München, Karlsruhe, Göttingen, Frankfurt, Bremen (300+), Magdeburg, Hannover, Vienna, Heidelberg, Gothenburg, Oslo, Helsinki, Stockholm (100+), Flensburg, Marburg, Potsdam and Leipzig. Over the next few days many more demonstrations and actions are planned and Danish activists have called for people to make Saturday 3rd March an international day of action. Danish police have started to draft in re-inforcements from all over the country and many more activists are set to arrive in the capital in the coming days. Total arrested: 600+
Articles: Ungdomshuset evicted - Protests everywhere! | Pics of the brutal eviction of Ungdomshuset, Denmark | Police evicts social centre 'Ungdomshuset' in Copenhagen | Call Ungdomshuset Solidarity Demo Friday London [Report] | Ruths facistpolice clears the Youthhouse in Copenhagen!! (Video) | Protest against police raids | Ungdomshuset solidarity in Warsaw | Mailstorm for Ungdomshuset in Denmark | Ungdomshuset - demolition work has started | We’re Heartbroken and Furious! A report from Copenhagen, and call-out for action | Sat 10th: Pics Solidarity Demo in London [Video] | Berlin: 3000 on Ungdomshuset-soli-demonstration. Riots.
Following the American pattern after 9/11, the UK government has used its own alleged terrorist attacks to push towards a police state, which is not exactly a new phenomenon, as Nafeez Ahmed, for example, explains. This has involved increasing the funds allocated to 'security services' and granting them extra-judicial powers; the systematic assault on civil liberties and human rights; media-spun fear based on dubious 'terror plots'; the clamp-down on activists and the relentless attempts to infiltrate their networks. Even Indymedia, it seems, has not been spared. At least two Indymedia activists have recently been approached, in one way or another, by British intelligence services, offering them better-paid jobs.
"I tried to help someone up who was on the floor, he was at the feet of a policeman with a dog snapping right at him, and was holding his leg and screaming. I went to help him out of the way of the dog and got hit from behind by a truncheon in the side of the knee and back of my leg 4 times before I could get out of reach." Alex - would be party goer.
Last weekend about two thousand party goers were attacked by police whilst attempting to attend a free party in the Manchester area. The A57 was closed for about 2 hrs when police forced party goers out of a warehouse and on to the streets. According to one first hand report the rave was already filling up by around 11pm, nearly half an hour before the police arrived, and the premises were protected under section 6 "squatters rights" due to it being the permanent residence of a small number of people.
The police upon entry ignored this warning and proceeded to use extreme force on people who were showing no resistance and breaking no laws. This behaviour was carried out under supervision and instruction of the attending Detective Inspector. Several accounts confirm that people were beaten with police batons, bitten by Dog units for not moving fast enough and/or were thrown around by the police.
Outside the venue a large crowd of about 800 people had gathered outside in anticipation of the rave. It response the police saw necessary to form a line complete with riot units, and rush the crowd with both dogs and batons.
On Friday 26th a protest was held at Manchester Magistrates court to support a raver charged with affray. (see video below)
On Tuesday 15 masked activists entered the car park and loading bay of EDO MBM, Brighton warmongers manufacturing arms for the UK, US and Israel blowing claxon horns and sounding sirens to signify that the Smash EDO campaign is not going away until EDO closes down 1 | .
View the video of the anonymous demo here .
Smash EDO plan to step up their campaign this year with weekly noise demonstrations at the factory, phone blockades, direct action and a week long protest camp this August. 2007 is the year to close EDO down.
On Wednesday, 17 January 2007, it emerged that important evidence against the police officers who raided the Diaz school has been 'mislaid' by the police. The evidence concerned is two 'Molotov cocktails' which were supposedly found during the raid back in 2001, and were then used by police to justify the raid. It later transpired that they had in fact been planted in the Diaz building by police. The two bottles should have been produced in court yesterday during the questioning of police officer Donnini, who was in charge of the unit that transported the bottles.
On Thursday the 19th, however, Judge Barroni said the trial will continue with other evidence as the search for the missing evidence progresses [See missing Molotovs update]. All other charges against the various high-ranking police officers still stand.
In London, over 300 people followed a call by Amnesty International to protest [Photos 1 and 2 | Videos 1 and 2 | Slide show] and to stage a vigil outside the US embassy. A break away group of protestors later targeted the arms manufacturers company Lockheed-Martin for profiteering from Guantanamo Bay [Video]. Another vigil [Photos] by London and Oxford Catholic Worker communities took place in solidarity with 90 anti-Guantanamo US activists that were arrested in an occupation of the U.S. Federal Court House in Washington DC [Report | Photos] A further candle-lit vigil was set outside Downing Street [Video]
In Birmingham around 80 people gathered in front of Hiatt, a UK company that makes shackles and other torture equipment used by the US military in Guantanamo Bay over the last five years [Report and Photos]. In Edinburgh there was a protest outside the US Consulate, and a meeting in the Scottish Parliament [Report and Photos]
To read more about facts and the mistreatment of prisoners in Guantanamo click at the Full Article link above.
The Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (SOCPA) is a major piece of legislation, which established the Serious Organised Crime Agency, an FBI-like agency to tackle "serious organised crime", as it says on the box.
People-trafficking, drug wholesaling, violent armed robbery, torture, extortion and murder, is the kind of thing that might spring to mind. The bill, however, was used as an opportunity to deal with issues that might not be considered so serious. It introduced us to ASBOs, for example; outlawed animal activists' "interference with contractual arrangements" and, most pertinently, the right to protest in designated areas without prior permission.
Below is a comprehensive 'diary', put together by IMC UK activists, of events related to SOCPA since it came into force on 1 August, 2005. See also the SOCPA topic page for full coverage.
On Friday, Loughborough Magistrates Court rejected calls from the Crown Prosecution Service to slap ASBOs on the 24 Plane Stupid activists who they described as “highly organised extremists” that were arrested in connection with the shut down of Nottingham East Midlands short haul airport in September. In an apparent move aimed to avoid having the case heard by a jury, the charge of public nuisance was dropped, as was the charge relating to an alleged breach of the aviation and security act.
Plane Stupid lawyer, Mike Schwarz, described the action to the court as a “classic piece of civil disobedience” and reminded the court that “Tony Blair himself has described climate change as the greatest threat facing mankind.” Campaigner for Plane Stupid, Ellen Rickford, said, “The same day that we learn the government is pushing ahead with its airport expansion proposals, they try to use ASBOs to stamp out peaceful protest. Well, it seems their plans for that were as doomed as the aviation industry.”
On Wednesday 6th December, Professor Sir David Williams came to Nottingham to talk about 'Public Order and Freedom of Expression'. His lecture at Trent University covered "both the traditional law and principles relating to freedom of assembly and with the impact of new legislation and new responses with regard, for instance, to anti-terrorism, to race and religion, and to new forms of protest. It will involve an inquiry into many pressing issues of legal, political and social concern".
Campaigners have won a massive legal battle after they proved that the police violated their rights to protest when around 120 peace protestors were prevented from reaching USAF/RAF Fairford on the 22nd of March 2003. Three coaches full of protesters were first stopped and searched, then forcibly returned to London under police escort. At the start of the war with Iraq, Fairford airbase in Gloucestershire (and the B-52 bomber planes that were flying from it) had become a focus for anti-war protest and direct action.
The High Court and Court of Appeal had already ruled that the police acted unlawfully in detaining protesters on the coaches. But on Wednesday 13th Dec, in a judgement that has implications beyond the Fairford case, Law Lords ruled that the police also violated the right to freedom of expression and lawful assembly. See campaign Press Release.
Original coverage on Indymedia UK: Pics 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | Reports: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | Video: 1 | 2
July 03: Civil Liberties and Anti-war Protest Policing | Aug 03: Judicial Review Granted | Feb 04: High Court Victory [ruling] | Dec 04: Court of Appeal Outcome [ruling]
The very mention of custody deaths brings to mind nasty foreign repressive regimes. But these deaths happen in Britain, too - on average, one a week in police custody alone. Then there are the deaths in immigration detention centres and in prisons, including children. Many of these deaths occur under dubious circumstances. Moreover, those in custody may not not have been convicted of any crime and are supposed to be presumed innocent.
The suicide rate is much greater in custody - as much as 18 times the UK average for young males, and disproportionately large among black people, especially as a result of "the excessive use of force by functionaries of the state", according to the group Inquest [example]. Deaths can also occur as a result of deliberate police inaction.
There is a lack of transparency in investigations into deaths in custody and very long delays before inquests (up to five years in some cases) as well as lack of accountability after juries return 'unlawful killing' verdicts. Of those verdicts since 1990, which the group Inquest is aware of, 18 police officers were prosecuted but all were acquitted. As far as is known, no police officer has ever been brought to justice for such killings.
Links: United Friends and Family Campaign’s annual Remembrance Procession (2006) | 19 minute video | photos Guido, Real2Reel, Marc Vallée | 2005 (photo report) | 2003 (photos & audio) | Ireland 2006 part 1, part 2.
"We are on the eve of either a great uprising or a civil war," the EZLN's Delegate Zero stated recently, referring to the current situation in Oaxaca in southern Mexico. Whilst the 45,000km-long Other Campaign tour around "the forgotten corners of Mexico", which the Zapatistas started on 1 January, 2006, ends in Mexico City, the repression in Oaxaca is worsening by the day. And this is why the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) is now calling for a global wave of active solidarity with the people of Oaxaca, to culminate with a "worldwide day of action" on 22 December to "say and to demonstrate that the people of Oaxaca are not alone" [Full communique | Words from Delegate Zero | APPO's response]. Closer to home, the Network of UK Zapatista Solidarity Groups called for a national week of solidarity actions from the 9 to the 17 of December, 2006.
Meanwhile, the popular uprising continues in and around Oaxaca city, and so do the illegal detentions of the so-called 'leaders' of the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO), which have increased in the last few days, forcing many people into hiding. APPO is a grassroots movement organising for popular democracy, and it is currently at the centre of the Mexican government's latest wave of repression, which has already resulted in mass illegal arrests of more than 500 people [Flavio Sosa's arrest | more | Interview] and the 'disappearance' of up to 100 people [APPO Communique | APPO activist interview | Eyewitness report].
At the same time, there is also a concerted effort by the Mexican government to try to silence any independent media that is reporting the truth on what is happening in Oaxaca. Following the murder of Indymedia videographer Bradley Will, who was shot dead by paramilitaries whilst documenting an APPO barricade on the 25th of October, the attacks against international and national independent media have continued. Two documentary filmmakers and a translator were illegally detained on 3 December while they were eating at a restaurant in Oaxacxa city centre.
Oscar Beard is an independent journalist from London currently travelling in the southern estates of Mexico. He has regularly contributed text, video and photo reports to the Indymedia newswire. See a list of his reports from Mexico.
Frustrated at being detained in awful prison-like conditions, often for long periods, the detainees of Harmondsworth detention centre, near Heathrow, have 'gone wild'. Around 10pm on 28 November, 2006, a group of detainees started a riot in Wing B after a guard switched off the TV preventing them from watching a report about Harmondsworth, and it soon spread to all 4 wings. Some detainees have reportedly been beaten up, while others were kept locked in, with fires and smoke all over the place [reports and updates]. 'Specialist officers' from prisons across the south of England were brought in to help the prison and immigration services 'contain the situation'. Everything is 'under control' now, according to the Home Office [John Reid Invokes Riechstag Fire Tactics For Detention Centre Fire]. For further information click at the Full article link above.
Several calls to protest have been made to show solidarity with those struggling inside the detention centres. On Friday, 1st of December No Borders London called for a solidarity demonstration outside London's headquarters of Kalyx, the private company that runs the detention centre. Around 80 people joined the protest [pics]. Barbed Wire Britain also called for a demonstration at Harmondsworth and Colnbrook detention centres near Heathrow airport on Sunday 3rd December, when over 80 people gathered near to the gates of the detention centres [Reports and Pics 1 | 2] London FRFI also staged a protest on Tuesday 5th December outside London's Communications House immigration reporting centre.
Related: Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre 'Not fit for Purpose' | Noborders Demo at Harmondsworth Detention Centre | Harmondsworth Detainees Protest after Death in Detention | Severe riot at Harmondsworth refugee removal centre (2004) | Hunger Strike in Colnbrook Detention Centre | Voices From Detention | Asylum Statistics: Q3 2006 | Continuing conflicts that create refugees | Why campaign against deportation | The truth behind the deportation statistics | Asylum Seekers get an early xmas present | Gay refugees abused at UK detention centre | Babar Ahmad to appeal to Lords against extradition | Singing Session at Campsfield House Detention Centre | Glasgow: 6 Kids Abducted in 2 Days.
A peaceful demonstration to show support and solidarity with the Oaxaca people currently suffering violent police and military repression by the Mexican state took place in front of the Mexican Embassy in London on Monday [Press release]. Around 60 people including drummers and Indymedia supporters gathered in front of the Embassy with banners, and murdered indymedia videographer Brad Will's final footage was projected directly onto the Embassy's facade - all eventually violently interrupted by a massive police presence resulting in eight arrests. Reports: 1 | 2 | Photos: 1 | 2 | 3 | Videos: 1 | 2 | Updates on the London arrests: Tuesday and Wednesday.
On Wednesday night red paint was thrown on the walls, stairs and doors of the Mexican Embassy in London to symbolise the blood of the people of Oaxaca. On Thursday another demonstration took place outside London's Mexican embassy [Photos] Later in the evening, discussion and screening of films related to Brad and the situation in Oaxaca took at rampART Social Centre and another one is planned for Saturday 4th (E4E).
There were also protests at embassies and consulates around the world, with 14 demos in the US including direct action at the Mexican consulate in New York City | demos in Rio de Janeiro, Soa Paolo, Brasilia, and Fortaleza in Brazil | Madrid | an embassy occupation in Barcelona | an embassy occupation in Napoli | and several actions in Berlin.
Further information: Last Communique from NYC Indymedia Journalist Brad Will | NYC Indymedia | IMC Mexico | Narco News | CML | La Jornada | APPO Radio Live Broadcast (Sp) | Live Radio Transcript (Eng)
"They might have the strength to impose their will, but we will never give them our consent". (Extract from the Radio APPO log)
Outrage spread around the world over the weekend following the killing of the documentary filmmaker and Indymedia video reporter Brad Will, from New York City at the hands of pro-government supporters who opened fire on unarmed protestors on the outskirts of Oaxaca, Mexico. Three others were also killed alongside him (making four dead in total); one member of Radio Universidad was injured.
On Sunday, more than 10,000 military swept the streets of Oaxaca. At their head were tanks with water cannons, laced with tear gas, followed by lines of 3,500 riot cops with batons. Behind them, a further 3,000 military police with automatic rifles. 5,000 army troops were waiting in the outskirts of the city while the paramilitaries continued attacking. Reports came in of snatch squads operating within the city centre, with police and military using helicopters and ambulances to grab protestors and injured people. Many arrests were reported, and at least two protestors were confirmed to have been killed in the clashes. See timeline of events. Photos: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5.
This unprovoked aggression by the Mexican State against the pacific and unarmed people of Oaxaca is one of the largest in the recent history of México and Latin America. As a result, the Zapatista Army of National Lberation (EZLN) is calling for a day of action on November 1st and announces a nationwide strike on November 20th [Call]
A peaceful demonstration against the repression by the Mexican state (police and military) of the Oaxaca workers and the general population took place in front of the Mexican Embassy in London on Monday evening [Press release]. 60-70 or more gathered in front of the Embassy, with a screening of Brad Will's final footage projected onto the Embassy's facade - violently interrupted by the police, resulting in eight arrests [Update on arrests: Tuesday | Wednesday]. Reports: 1 | 2 | Photos: 1 | 2 | 3 and Video. On Wednesday night red paint was thrown on the walls, stairs and doors of the Mexican Embassy in London to symbolise the blood of the people of Oaxaca.
28th and 29th October saw a weekend of Nonviolent Resistance in London against the Occupation of Iraq on the 2nd anniversary of the US/UK massacre in Fallujah culminating in an unprecedented 'unauthorized' Peace Camp in Parliament Square defying the SOCPA.
Personal Accounts:here and here and Rikki’s Report
'William Bradley Roland, also known as Brad Will, 36, a documentary filmmaker and reporter for Indymedia New York in Mexico, Bolivia and Brazil, died today of a gunshot to the chest when pro-government attackers opened fire on a barricade in the neighborhood of Santa Lucia El Camino, on the outskirts of Oaxaca, Mexico. He died with his video camera in his hands.' (source: Narconews) Read NYC-Indymedia statement and a Call to all independent journalists to support the struggle in Oaxaca.
Brad had been in Oaxaca taking video and reporting on the state wide popular uprising and teacher strike that began in June with the violent attempted removal of the striking teachers from their encampment in the centre of Oaxaca City by federal police forces. 3 others were also killed alongside him (making 4 dead in total); 1 member of Radio Universidad was also injured: he was taken to the hospital in a volkswagen van as police would not let any ambulances come.
Since the beginning of the strike in June, teachers and other groups have formed the APPO - the Popular Assembly of the Oaxacan People - and have called for the removal of the governor of state Ulises Ruiz of the PRI. There is a long history of Mexico using government sponsored paramilitaries to repress social movements, including a massacre of hundreds of students in Mexico City in 1968. As reports of protesters surrounded by armed government forces and police continue to pour in, activists in cities around the world are planning protests at Mexican embassies and in cyberspace in outcry against the violent aggression against the people of Oaxaca.