UK Repression Feature Archive
On Friday June 27, Zimbabwe went to the polls in the second round of its presidential election. This followed a first round in March. Concerned about the scale of state-directed violence against supporters, the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai had withdrawn on Sunday June 22, making a victory by the incumbent Robert Mugabe inevitable.
In Nottingham, the election was marked by the recently formed Nottingham Zimbabwe Community network (NZCN) who held a protest against deportations to Zimbabwe in Old Market Square and organised a public meeting at the Sumac Centre to discuss the situation in the country.
Previous Feature: Nottingham's Zimbabwean Community Responds to Rigged Elections
Links: Nottingham Zimbabwe Community Network | No Borders Nottingham | Nottingham & Notts Refugee Forum | Nottingham Refugee Campaign Ground | National Coalition of Anti-Deportation campaigners | Notts Indymedia Migration topic page
On Sunday 15th of June, as George W. Bush was making his way to Downing Street for his last state visit to the UK, thousands of people were gathering in Parliament Square following a call from the Stop the War Coalition.
Although the turn out to Sunday's protest was much smaller than in 2003 when Bush last visited the UK in the high of the Anti-War protest movement, by mid afternoon a crowd of around 2500 determined people were already making clear what they thought of the legacy of George Bush's wars in the Middle East and the US driven War on Terror [Demo video report] A powerful sound system had been set on the square from where several people, including Brian How, made speeches. Meanwhile the crowd kept demanding the arrest of George Bush for his "terrorist activities and war crimes" in countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan.
The protest had already been banned by the Metropolitan Police from marching through Whitehall, therefore crash barriers and police lines had been set at the southern end of Whitehall to prevent the demonstration from moving forward. At some point, the crowd approached the barriers and police lines to demand their right to demonstrate, but they were faced by a line of baton wielding police that started hitting those at the front. As a result a series of scuffles followed, resulting with some head injuries and bruises to some protesters, and the first wave of arrests.
Eventually, a large number of police with riot gear took positions to protect the entrance to Whitehall, whilst at the same time groups of TSG and FIT police forces started to carry a series of snatch arrests around the Parliament Square area [Video of arrests]. By the end of the evening 25 people had been arrested, some of which are now facing charges.
Ten animal rights campaigners have been held since the 21th May after police raided twenty-three homes and offices in Austria charging individuals with 31 different offences related to the campaign against the the fur-promoting fashion company Kleider Bauer, but most significantly of forming a criminal organisation under Section 278a of Austrian law. One of the prisoners, Martin Balluch has been on hunger strike since the arrests against the violation of his human rights and the state attacks on legitimate campaigning organisations. He is now becoming very weak and was recently moved to a prison hospital after suffering from dizzyness, blurred vision, and stomach pains. Dr Balluch, Chairman of the Association against Animal Factories (VGT) in Austria has asked for "...everyone who cares about animal protection and human rights to take action now to prevent this crime. This kind of police arbitrariness against NPOs is something we might recognize in dictatorships, but not in a democracy. Please stand up strong; stand against this outrageous injustice. My life depends on it." Chair of the Austrian Vegan Society, Felix Hnat and other members have even been remanded, although no charges have been made against any members of the board.
Newswire: Human Rights Scandal | About the prisoners | Message from Prisoners; Felix, Elmar & Chris | Message from Prisoner Martin Balluch | Statement by Martin Balluch | Activists remanded in custody 4 more weeks! | VGT Chairman Dr Martin Balluch Phd. On Hunger Strike
Mill Road, a new squatted social centre in Cambridge, lost against Tescos in court last week but are confident about holding onto the place a while longer yet. They have however been experiencing violent attacks from anonymous cowards. There have been many reports of attacks on autonomous spaces recently. In Greece there have been heavy police repression and fascist arson attacks against autonomous space [more]. In Amsterdam, the Citex squat was attacked and illegally evicted by Police. Just a few days ago in Rome, fascists were caught planting a bomb in the front yard of Loa Acrobax. The tide turned briefly when hundreds of people from Berlin and elsewhere went on the offensive and instigated six days of diverse and often militant action in Berlin. In a city which has one of the harshest anti-squatting policies in Europe people showed they were undaunted and defiant [more].
London has seen the eviction of two squatted social centres recently (1, 2) but last week there was a report of a new space opening in Nunhead. Also in south London, the Spike is raising its profile as a community resource as part of a strategy to hang onto the site. At the heart of London's city fringe expansion, Bowl Court social centre lost a courtroom battle against property giant Hammerson and is now considering next moves [background]. Meanwhile, the long running rampART social centre in East London marked it's 4th anniversary but is considering voluntary closure as it has been suffering from neglect, theft and lack of energy since the owners were granted a possession order way back in January.
Gutter press followed the Tory party in inciting hatred towards squatters while squatters in Brighton enjoyed somewhat better press coverage relating to the occupation of a church on London Road in Brighton. In an attempt to promote autonomous spaces, a booklet called 'What's this Place' [PDF] has been produced by the UK Social Centres Network which will probably be having it's next gathering at the newly refurbished Kebele in Bristol, 14th Sept. Also being planned for late summer is a follow up to last months international 'interspace' gathering near Berlin which followed the April2008 mobilisations [more].
Reports are emerging of what appears to have been a riot at Campsfield House, an immigration detention centre in Oxfordshire. Details at this point are sketchy, but it appears that small fires were started and that detainees were returned to their cells by prison officers in riot gear. According to corporate media accounts, there was a heavy police presence with some 50 officers in attendance and a helicopter overhead. A cordon was set up and dog handlers patrolled the perimeter.
This is the latest in a series of "disturbances" at the facility. In August last year, 26 immigrants managed to escape. Prior to that in March, an Algerian man attempted to forcefully resist efforts by immigration authorities to remove him. When fellow detainees attempted to help him a riot ensued in which 2 detainees and 7 staff staff were hospitalised.Newswire: Solidarity with Campsfield detainees | Riot at Campsfield IRC | Fire at Campsfield
The 11th June Sheffield Guantánamo protest highlighted the case of Binyam Mohamed who, after years of torture is facing the threat of the death penalty. On 31 May over 100 people attended a public meeting concerning his plight and Reprieve organised a protest in Trafalgar Square which took place on Sunday 15th June to highlight the suffering of Binyam Mohamed. The London Guantánamo Campaign are asking for urgent action to be taken for Binyam Mohamed.
Articles: Urgent appeal for British resident Binyam Mohamed, “close to suicide” in Guantánamo | Guantánamo: Torture victim Binyam Mohamed sues British government for evidence | Binyam Mohamed’s letter from Guantánamo to Gordon Brown | Meeting Report: Binyam Mohamed: The Last Londoner in Guantánamo Bay | Take URGENT ACTION for Binyam Mohamed! | New report details torture of Guantánamo prisoner Binyam Mohamed | Guantanamo bay / Binyam Mohamed Protest, London 15.06.08
Links: Cageprisoners.com | The National Guantanamo Coalition | Reprieve | Andy Worthington
The detention and imminent deportation of Amdani Juma, a well-known and widely liked local activist, has generated considerable anger in Nottingham. There have been two well attended demonstrations in the Market Square, one on Saturday 31 May and a second on Monday 2 June. The latter was particularly successful at generating media interest, going out live on Central News.
The anger felt by many at Amdani's detention was only compounded by police intimidation of participants in the first demonstration that they should have sought permission and would be expected to do so for the second. This suggests a worrying ignorance of the law on the part of the Sergeant 2471. He told protesters that Section 11 of the Public Order Act 1986 required that they obtain permission for any assemblies, despite the fact that that section clearly relates only to processions and marches and not to static assemblies. When it came to it, the police presence on Monday evening was minimal, although a Community Protection Officer with a CCTV camera attached to his head was prominently visible.
Newswire: A message from Amdani in Lindholme detention centre | Demo to support Amdani Juma, Nottingham activist, at risk of deportation - Pics | It is OUR square and it is OUR right to protest in it whenever we want | A demonstration in support of Amdani Juma Saturday 31st May @ 12.30
Photos: Demo to support Amdani Juma, Nottingham activist, at risk of deportation - Saturdays Pics | Demo to support Amdani Juma, activist, at risk of deportation - Mondays Pics | CPO's with HeadCam, at protests against deportation of Amdani Juma
On Wednesday May 28, students and academics held at protest at the University of Nottingham in defence of academic freedom and against the imminent deportation of former student and university staff member Hicham Yezza. The protest was called following the "anti-terror" arrests which saw Hicham and Rizwaan Sabir, a student acquaintance, detained for almost a week for possession of documents Sabir had downloaded as part of his research into political Islam. After it became clear on Friday May 23 that Hicham was facing imminent deportation, the focus of the protest inevitably shifted.
At 2pm there was a public reading of the "radical materials" which had led to the original arrest. The crowd was addressed by Alan Simpson MP before marching down to the Trent Building (where the university autorities are based) where people assembled in near total silence.
Hicham Yezza, one of the two men who were arrested at Nottingham University under the Terrorism Act 2000 on Wednesday 14th May is facing imminent deportation. Both men were released without charge after having been detained for 7 days. But Hicham, a 30-year old member of university staff and non-British national was immediately re-arrested under immigration legislation.
This is clearly a politically motivated action to try and kill the story of the original arrests to cover up the initial embarrassment. This is an attempt to circumvent the criminal justice system and push him out of the country without the usual court process. He has now been moved to a detention centre and faces deportation on Sunday 1st June. Hicham is well-known, widely liked and active on campus. Students, lecturers and the wider community have started mobilising to stop his deportation. See report and pics of the demonstration for academic freedom and against Hicham Yezza's deportation that took place in Nottingham University on the 28th May.
Audio: as featured in #5 the June Show ~ Riseup! Radio
Newswire: Comment on University Communication on Recent Events | University of Nottingham Graduate and Employee Facing Imminent Deportation Without Hearing | Notts Uni detainee innocent but still facing deportation
Website: Stop the Deportation of Hicham Yezza
Two people (one of them a student) who were arrested on the Nottingham University campus last Wednesday using "anti-terror" powers have today been released without charge. After seven days of incarceration, the two men (aged 22 and 30) were released from custody. The manner of the arrests, the intimidating police presence on campus, and the gullible media coverage have raised serious concerns and anger amongst the student body, the academic faculty, and the general public in Nottingham.
The arrests were carried out due to the alleged possession of "radical material," specifically an Al Qaeda manual relevant to the younger detainee's dissertation, which had been emailed to the other for printing. Despite their own admission that there was no threat to local communities, the police decided to launch a full-blown "terror" operation and put the students, their families and many friends through a colossal amount of stress. Meanwhile, police on campus searched bags and dominated a central area, creating great fear amongst the student community that was totally disproportionate to the apparent ‘threat’ of radical material. The harassment of friends and relatives by the police also raised serious concern.
One of the two was rearrested on his release under "immigration legislation." See this feature for more info: Nottingham Uni Detainee Innocent But Still Facing Deportation
Audio: as featured in #5 the June Show ~ Riseup! Radio
Other Coverage: Times Higher Education SupplementLinks: Campaign Against Criminalising Communities | Nottinghamshire Police | Nottingham University | Notts Indymedia Repression topic page
It is with great sadness that Indymedia UK learnt of the death of Pauline Campbell, a tireless campaigner against deaths in custody
Audio of Pauline Cambell leading demonstration outside Holloway women's prison on 16th of Jan 2008 in memory of Jamie Pearce.
Ecuadorian police detained five journalists associated with Ecuador Indymedia late Tuesday night, May 6th. Four of the five were released from custody on Wednesday afternoon. The government says that the four activists were detained because of their relationship with the fifth detainee, Ecuadorian resident and Colombian national Antonio Alcívar.
The government at first refused to issue a statement on the matter or inform the detainees of the reason for their arrests. The Regional Foundation for Assistance in Human Rights (INREDH) noted that this was a violation of the detainees' constitutional right to be clearly informed of the reason for their detention along with the identities of those who ordered and carried out the arrests.
Basic civil liberties and human rights have not fared well in the so-called "War on Terror." Using the threat of terrorism as a justification, governments across the world have introduced a raft of repressive legislation. In the UK we have witnessed crackdowns on protest and an increase in police powers, alongside a rapidly proliferating surveillance apparatus, soon to be supplemented (unless we can stop it) by a national ID database. Concerned about these and other threats, as well as a crackdown on freedom of expression at the university itself, Nottingham Student Peace Movement organised a conference addressing all these issues at the University of Nottingham on April 19.
The conference was addressed by a wide range of speakers including Liberty, the Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC), and Maya Evans from anti-war group Justice Not Vengeance, the first person to be prosecuted under Section 132 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 which severely restricted protest around Parliament.
Newswire: New Edition of Ceasefire | Photos from Civil Liberties Conference at Nottm Uni | NSPM announce Civil Liberties Conference- April 19th- Maya Evans & more | Notts Indymedia Repression Topic Page
Seven mothers in the family unit in Yarl's Wood immigration prison are on hunger strike since Thursday, April 10th. They include two breast-feeding mothers. A protest involving up to 15 families started last Thursday, when a mother with her baby, who were to be taken to the airport, took refuge in the 'church' and refused to leave.
The murder of two radio activists in Oaxaca has brought the repression suffered by indigenous Mexicans into sharp focus. Oaxaca has the biggest percentage of indigenous people who speak many different languages and suffering serious discrimination including the theft of their natural resources.
One such example is the village of San Isidro Aloapam who have been fighting the destruction of their local forest by commercial loggers who are bending the law to justify their activity. Attempts by the villagers to protect the forest have been met with extreme violence leaving many villagers injured and imprisoned. The village is represented politically by indigenous action group CIPO-RFM who have organized a series of media and international solidarity events to highlight the struggle. CIPO-RFM activists Miguel Cruz Moreno and Pedro Bautista Rojas were recently interviewed by IMC UK about the struggle.
There will be a prisoner support benefit gig in London on Wednesday April 16th.
Related links: IMC UK coverage of Oaxaca election 2007: ‘1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | IMC UK coverage of CIPO-RFM 2004/5: Intro | Assemblies | Protest camp | Raid | Repression | CIPO/Zapatistas feature | CIPO Speaking tour
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society vessel Farley Mowat was attacked by armed officers from the Canadian Coast Guard on 12th April. The 1st officer and the captain of the ship have been arrested and will be brought before a court in Canada charged with offences related to coming too close to the seal hunt. One woman allegedly sustained a head injury when was roughed up and received a blow to the head by an officer. The ship has been impounded and is currently being towed to a nearby port.
The Sea Shepherd has been documenting the Canadian seal hunt since the middle of March. On the 30th March, the Coast Guard rammed the Sea Shepherd ship twice, in an attempt to keep it away from the seal hunt. On 5th April, the ship was attacked by a mob of 30-40 angry seal hunters while anchored in the French island of St. Pierre. The crew of the Farley Mowat has been documenting violations of the humane regulations and gathering proof that seals are still being killed in an inhumane manner. The EU Parliament will be voting on an import ban on seal products later this year. The Canadian goverment has been actively lobbying to show that the hunt has become 'humane and sustainable'.
On the newswire: Sea Shepherd Sets Conditions for Canada to Release seized Ship | Armed Canadian Coast Guard Storms Sea Shepherd Ship and Arrests Crew | Canada To Charge Sea Shepherd Crew For Documenting Seal Hunt | Sea Shepherd Crew Attacked By Mob Of Seal Hunters | Interview With Captain Onboard Sea Shepherd Ship On Current Seal Hunt | Canadian Coast Guard Rams Sea Shepherd Ship (twice) | Sea Shepherd Moves In On Canadian Seal Slaughter
Previous features: Nottingham Activist Returns From Whale Saving Mission In Antartica | Injured Among Sea Shepherd Crew As Japanese Military Open Fire | Activists Held Hostage By Japanese Whalers In Southern Ocean
Update: Although the majority of detainees in Harmondsworth have resumed eating after the repression, some are still refusing to eat [more].
On Saturday, 5th April, between 5 and 6am, around 50 police in riot gear stormed the Harmondsworth immigration prison, near Heathrow, to break the detainees hunger strike who were protesting against the so-called fast track asylum system. They took 30 detainees away and most of them were put in solitary confinement or taken into normal prisons to prevent them from communicating with each other and the outside world. One detainee, who managed to contact supporters, said he was bruised all over his body, had injuries from handcuffs and a damaged ankle. He also reported that he saw another detainee being violently 'manhandled' by police.
The detainees' peaceful protest had started at 9am on April 1st, with mass food refusal by almost all of the detainees in the so-called immigration removal centre. Later, they also occupied the courtyard and around 120 of them remained there all night. A petition, with 116 signatures, has been sent to the European Court of Human Rights, John McDonnell MP and others (see also supporters' press release).
On April 6 the Olympic torch was to be paraded through the streets of London in what Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell described as a celebration of the "Olympic spirit." Protesters angered by recent Chinese repression in Tibet sought to undermine this Chinese propaganda exercise. As it made its way through London, the flame was greeted by a wave of protest.
Demonstrators disrupted the torch's journey along the thirty one mile route. There were attempts to seize the torch, extinguish the flame and to prevent it making its way through the city with 37 people being arrested. Although Tibet was the main focus of protests, attention was also drawn to Chinese support for Sudanese atrocities in Darfur and Burma's brutal military dictatorship.
Photos: Olympic Relay Free Tibet Rally | Olympic torch protests in London - pics | Tibetan Freedom Torch Relay, London April 6, 2008 | Olympic Torch Relay: Heated Arguments in Trafalgar Square | Chinese Torture Torch Relay Shames Olympic Ideals | Police compete in olympic farce | Olympic Torch Chased off the Streets, pics from Fleet Street | Torch Protest hits Whitechapel
Also on the Newswire: Torch Went Out in London Too! | Olympic torch relay protest timeline | Tibet Protest Great, But.... | "Freedom wins" says the Sun | Tibetan Freedom Torch Rally | 36 people arrested so far during the Olympic torch relay in London | Police Manhandle Press at Tibet Demonstration | Brilliant pro Tibet protest ongoing in London today
Scientology is a totalitarian, mafia-like organisation, which silences its critics by extreme intimidation and harrassment, claim thousands of Anonymous during their series of worldwide protests. About 8000 people picketed the institution in 17 countries and 108 locations on 10th of February, and on 15th of March they embarked on "Operation Party Hard". With "Operation Reconnect" on 12th of April protesters want to expose the brainwashing cult's disastrous effect on families with their "Policy of Disconnection".
Despite countless reports of members forced into bankruptcy, broken families and suicides, Birmingham City Council has endorsed the sinister Cult. There are also reports that Scientology's second biggest base in the UK will be established in Moseley Birmingham and there are protests against a Scientology exhibition in a shopping centre in West Bromwich.
[ BritLulz | Edinburgh | Manchester | Birmingham | London ]
[Scientology shuts down alternative news site | CoS operation manual leaked | The Censored film "The Profit" appears on Internet | Scientology given direct access to E-Bay Database | Scientology Injunction Denied Against "Anonymous" ]
[ Bristol's Evening Post a front for Scientology? | The war on scientology | Scientology - what it is and why we fight it | Scientology's Gulags: inside the Rehabilitation Project Force | Fighting Scientology - an anarchist perspective | Scientology as Sci-Fi Fascism (corrected) | What's wrong with Narconon | Narconon off Southwark Council site]