UK Repression Feature Archive
Spontaneous protests have erupted in London as a result of the ongoing state violence in Sri Lanka. On Monday, over 300 Tamil youths blockaded Westminster Bridge, which remained closed overnight. On Tuesday and Wednesday large numbers gathered outside parliament and had reached at its peak up to 3000 to call on Gordon Brown to 'open his eyes' and work towards securing an immediate ceasefire in Sri Lanka. Under the banner 'Stop the genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka' over 150.000 people marched in Central London on Saturday 11th April. Further demonstrations happened in Oslo, Paris and Copenhagen. Reports:   [photos 1] [photos 2] [video]
Earlier on in the week police tactics were violent, with unprovoked attacks on demonstrators. On Wednesday morning Tamil flags were being confiscated under the Terrorism act. Demonstrators reported that police used truncheons and dragged protesters across the ground. A three-year-old's leg was reportedly broken in the process. Seven people have been arrested, two under the terrorism act on suspicion of carrying articles supporting proscribed literature. Two people started a hunger strike earlier in the week, of which one was still fasting on Saturday 11th April.
More than 300,000 Tamils are currently under siege by the Sri Lankan forces. Aerial bombardments and shelling of civilians are continuing. Children and elderly are dying as a direct result of the aerial bombardment. There has been increased violence in Sri Lanka following the capture of Tamil territory. It is estimated more than 70,000 people have already died in the conflict.
On the newswire: Fast unto last breathe (day 13) | Video of the Tamil protests | Massive Tamil Protest Against Sri Lankan Genocide | Tamil Hunger Strike, London - pictures (day 6) | Stop the Genocide in Sril Lanka Protest - London April 11 2009 | Tamil protest (day 6) | Tamil Demo in Central London | Emergency Protest In London 11th April Please Come | Supporting the Tamil protests, SOCPA arrest | parliment square still going strong (day 4) | Tamil Protest in Parliament Square: Students on Hunger Strike to the Death (day 4) | Tamil protest still going strong / 8th April 3pm (day 3) | Tamils protest against chemical attacks | Tamil protest amid more police violence (day 3) | A lively night in Parliament Square (day 2) | Tamil protest still going strong /continues (day 2) | Tamil Protest still going strong | Tamil Protest on Westminster Bridge (day 1) | Sri Lanka: Killings, Concentration Camps and International Silence | Students on Hunger Strike | Tamilgotcha! Westminster Bridge occupied for 3 hours - Sat 31st Jan
The Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, appears to have declared war on the government’s own secret terror court, overruling decisions made by judges in the Special Immigration Appeals Court (SIAC). In what can only be described as an act of executive fiat, two men who attended a hearing at the SIAC were driven away from the court, expecting to return home, as ordered by the SIAC judges, but were, instead, delivered to Belmarsh prison, where they were joined by three other men, who had been seized in raids on their homes.
Journalist and author Andy Worthington notes that the whole operation was clearly planned by the Home Secretary in advance. "Even though she had informed neither the men’s lawyers nor the SIAC judges." The first the lawyers heard about it was when one of the men’s wives rang, inquiring why he had not yet returned home. He adds; "the Home Secretary has acted in a manner that would have pleased King John, in those days before England's nobles forced him to sign the Magna Carta in 1215, establishing for the first time that the king had no right to imprison his subjects except upon the lawful judgment of his peers or the law of the land."
On The Newswire: Jacqui Smith versus Justice Mitting | Home Secretary ignores Court decision, kidnaps bailed men and imprisons them in Belmarsh | Revealed: flawed intelligence exposes the scandal of Belmarsh detainees | Invisible Barriers: Detention without Trial/Social Housing Policy in the UK Today
Previous Features: Hundreds Join Demo for Academic Freedom and Against Deportation | Anger Over "Terror Arrests" at Nottingham University | The Global War of Terror | The Racist 'War on Terror' | Terror profiling nets innocents
Links: National Guantanamo Coalition | Cageprisoners | 100 Days to Close Guantánamo and End Torture | The Campaign against Criminalising Communities | Scotland Against Criminalising Communities (SACC) | Reprieve | Andy Worthington | Indymedia Topic Pages: Terror War | Guantanamo
This Monday (9 February 2009), Kent Police arrested a man in Sheffield under the Serious Crime Act 2007 in relation to the recent Indymedia server seizure. His home was raided, all computer equipment and related papers taken. He was released after eight hours. The person had neither technical, administrative nor editorial access to the Indymedia UK website. He was only associated to the project by hosting its server.
The arrest took place under Section 44-46 of the Serious Crime Act, which was passed into law on 1st October 2008 to combat serious international crime like drug trafficking, prostitution, money laundering and armed robbery. Sections 44-46 refer to “encouraging or assisting offences”.
Kent police claim that they are after the IP address of the poster of two anonymous comments to a report about a recent animal liberation court case, which included personal details of the Judge. The IP address of the poster is not stored as Indymedia does not log IP addresses. This was acknowledged by British Transport Police in 2005, after the Bristol IMC server seizure.
For the police to arrest the person who happened to sign the contract for server hosting, is sheer intimidation, in light of Indymedia’s openly stated policy of no IP logging.
With the implementation of the EU Data Retention Directive in March 2009, the UK government attempts to turn every internet service provider in the country into part of the law enforcement apparatus. This legislation will provide a legal basis to track, intimidate, harass, and arrest people who are doing valuable and necessary work for social change, for example as peace activists, campaigners for economic and social justice or against police brutality.
The present intimidation of the open publishing alternative news platform Indymedia will have serious implications for anyone running a server in the UK which allows user contributions – blogs, social networking sites, wikis. This is an attempt to close down sites that respect the privacy of their contributors, pure and simple.
Students who had been occupying a lecture theatre at the University of Nottingham have branded university authorites a "national disgrace" after they were violently evicted by university security. Around 10 security staff used force to remove the occupants into the snow outside. Students were forced to wait in the cold and only alowed in one by one to pick up their belongings. They were forced to give ID in order to be allowed entry.
The occupation of B62 in the Law and Social Science Building at the University of Notttingham was today violently evicted by university security. The occupation which has been taking place since Wednesday is in solidarity with the people of Gaza and is one of a wave of university occupations which have taken place across the UK following the recent Israeli assault against Gaza. Although the occupiers have been clear throughout that they had no intention of disrupting other students' education, the university had refused to follow the lead of Kings College in London and negotiate with the occupying students.
Previous Feature: Nottingham university occupied in solidarity with Gaza
Newswire: Eviction video & post occupation statement from Nottingham Uni | Nottingham University Gaza solidarity occupation violently evicted 1 | 2 | Nottingham Gaza solidarity occupation violently evicted | Nottingham University Authorities: A National Disgrace
Recent Gaza Demonstrations: Nottingham Gaza Emergency Protest 1 | 2 | Gaza Public Meeting at Bobbers Mill Community Centre | Nottingham Gaza Protest 'candle-lit' Vigil 1 | 2 | Nottingham Gaza Protest March Through Nottingham to Market Sq 1 | 2 | Nottingham University Students Occupation in Solidarity with Gaza 1 | 2 | Gaza support protest at Nottingham BBC | Tash's 'Collected' actions Piccys 2009
Former Guantánamo prisoners including Moazzam Begg and Chris Arendt, a former guard, are completing a UK speaking tour to “mark seven years of unlawful detention, abuse and torture”. The tour, organised by Cage Prisoners started in London on 11th January 2009, exactly seven years after the first transfers to the prison torture camp at Guantánamo Bay at date which was marked in London by a weekend of actions. Sami al-Haj, a former Guantánamo prisoner and Al Jazeera journalist was due to be one of the speakers but instead he joined a Free Gaza boat which was fired on and didn’t make it. By the Sheffield meeting, held on the date of Obama’s inauguration, he had been replaced by Omar Deghayes another former Guantánamo prisoner. In Liverpool the meeting “was held on the same day as the US president signed an order to close Guantanamo. Moazzam Begg was not impressed, and commented that Barack Obama spoke about ‘outlawing torture’ as though he himself had just decided to make it illegal: “It has ALWAYS been illegal, at least in any civilised country”" Further reports can be found on the tour blog.
Campaigns: Cageprisoners | The National Guantánamo Coalition | 100 Days to Close Guantánamo and End Torture | The Campaign against Criminalising Communities | Scotland Against Criminalising Communities (SACC) | Reprieve | Andy Worthington
Background: Andy Worthington on Antiwar Radio: Obama, Guantánamo and Torture (audio) | SchNews: [ Inside Guantanamo | Omar Deghayes Speaks to SchNews ] Seven Years of Guantánamo Bay: London Actions | Guantánamo - Obama could do better | Binyam’s Story: From Ladbroke Grove to GTMO | The Rendition Monolgues | Moazzam Begg and Andy Worthington on Human Rights in The War on Terror | Can Human Rights Survive the "War on Terror"? | Guantánamo Bay: The Case of Omar Deghayes | Craig Murray: Legality, Morality and the War on Terror
Monthly pickets have been taking place outside the offices of Nottingham-based weapons manufacturer Heckler & Koch since May last year. These protests have been heavily policed, but the police's attempts to exert control over the campaign have not ended there. Local newspaper, radio and TV, who had shown some enthusiasm about reporting these demos, received a word in their ear from the police press office as well as the H&K, warning hacks that it would be "irresponsible" to publicise the fact that H&K has offices in the city.
Frustrated by this official suppression of the media, campaigners organised a demonstration in the Market Square in December to force the issue into the public consciousness. Drawing connections between the arms trade and refugees who are forced from their homes and end up in Notttingham, this event was very successful. Hoping to build on this, Thursday 22nd January saw the first of what are to become monthly missions to the city centre to spread the word about H&K. There will now be protests at H&K's offices at Easter Park on the second Monday of the month (at 12:30) and a further awareness-raising demonstrations in the city centre, every fourth Thursday(at 12:30), although as dates and locations of demos may vary from month to month, interested readers are invited to check with the campaign website.
Previous Features From weapons to wars to refugees | The Arms Trade: From Nottingham to Georgia | Protesters Return to Nottingham Weapons Manufacturer | Protesters Target Nottingham Weapons Manufacturers
On 22 January 2009 an Indymedia server was seized by the Police in Manchester. This was related to postings about the recent Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) trial.
Kent Police had e-mailed imc-uk-contact in the morning requesting that personal information about the Judge from the recent SHAC trial in the UK be removed from the site. However this information had already been quickly removed in line with IMC UK policy. The e-mail also requested information relating to the poster be retained. Indymedia as an open posting news service does not log such information about its sources.
The machine was handed to the Police by the management of UK Grid, a Manchester based colocation facility, without a warrant being shown. It is believed that a warrant for this one server may exist and have been issued by a Chief Inspector. As the server was a mirror of the site, it can be concluded that the validity of the seizure wasn't checked, and the police attacked Indymedia infrastructure in the UK.
Other sites that have been affected as a result of this seizure include London Indymedia, the global Indymedia documentation project server, la Soja Mata – an anti-GM soya campaign focusing on South American development, Transition Sheffield and a Canadian campaign against the 2010 olympics.
On Wednesday 21st January, seven activists from the campaign Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) were sentenced to a total of fifty years in prison, after they were found guilty in December 2008 of 'conspiracy to blackmail' Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS). Heather Nicholson was jailed for 11 years, Gregg and Natasha Avery sentenced to nine years each, Gavin Medd-Hall an eight-year prison sentence, Daniel Wadham jailed for five years, Dan Amos and another were both sentenced to four years in prison.
"They conspired to do A B and C ... with Persons or Persons Unknown." - Who were persons unknown? It really didn't matter, as the above conspiracy law linked the individuals even though they had never met them or talked to them. However, this was all ignored as the media falsely charged the activists with hypocrisy, extremism and terrorism, instead of acknowledging their own hypocritical standpoint, best portrayed by the Telegraph, with NETCU helping to further the hysteria following the activists guilty verdicts.
Related newswire: Steve Pearl and Netcu we know where you work... | How you might go to prison for not knowing or knowing someone... | Article on the SHAC 7 [USA] | SHAC Sentences anounced | SHAC trial ends - defendants jailed with disproportionate sentences! | SHAC Sentencing - watch this space | SHAC : Hypocrisy, Terrorism and Extremism. | Yesturdays Torygraph frothing at the mouth over SHAC | SHAC sentencing and festering hypocrisy | Demonstrations outside HLS on days of SHAC sentencing. Join us! | SHAC Case’s Impact on the Environmental Movement | Thoughts on media hysteria post SHAC trial. | SHAC Newsletter 50 - Out Now! | National Anti-Vivisection Day of Action - Mon 19th Jan | Letter from AR Prisoner Luke Steele
Concerned residents have begun a campaign of 'sousveillance' of Nottingham's CCTV cameras and of some of the people employed to watch over us. PCSO Watch aims "to playfully gather information, data, and stories about PCSOs and their Community Protection Officer (CPO) colleagues" in order "to open up a channel of communication upwards rather than downwards about an increasingly out-of-control area of our society." The Office of Community Sousveillance was recently out and about on the streets of Hyson Green, getting members of the public to give their testimonies about their treatment by PCSOs.
Meanwhile, a CCTV treasure hunt was held in Nottingham on Sunday in order to "help map Nottinghams insane surveillance system!!!" The aim was to encourage members of the public to anonymously photograph CCTV cameras in their area and post them, along with details of where they are located, on a national website.
Two weeks into Israels latest war of aggression against the people of Palestine over 800 people are dead, over 257 of which are children. Around the world there have been militant protests and this weekend saw the second UK national demonstration since the invasion took place in London. Between 50,000 and 100,000 people took part in the march which went from London's Hyde Park to the Israeli embassy. Other demonstrations and actions took place across the country over the whole weekend.
See the whole timeline of events
London: eye witness reports | injuries during demo | another report | photos from demo | more photos 1 | more photos 2 | more photos | anarchist bloc | scuffles behind embassy | riot photos | Ahava store occupied | Song Protest during Pro-Israel rally
On December 23rd, 4 out of 5 activists on trial at Winchester Crown Court were found guilty of 'conspiracy to blackmail' Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS) after a 3 and a half month long trial. The world's media, prompted by police press officers, were quick to condemn Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC), providing examples of harassment against the employees of HLS, their customers, suppliers and investors.
Direct action against the company, not linked to those convicted, such as arson attacks, hoax bombs, letters alleging paedophilia, and threats were pointed to as evidence of the defendants' extremism. Police spokesmen and the National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit (NETCU), the branch of the police set up to dismantle the animal rights movement and other expressions of the public's dissent, hailed the convictions as a victory. What was not examined in the media was the worrying development of the repressive use of the law which lead to the conviction of the four defendants.
The trial is the second large animal rights conspiracy trial this year following the imprisonment of Sean Kirtley, an activist involved with Stop Sequani Animal Torture (SSAT). Sean was sentenced to four and a half years in prison for updating a website with news about a legal, nonviolent campaign to close down Sequani laboratories in Ledbury. Despite the Sequani and SHAC investigations leading to convictions, both campaigns against the vivisection labs are continuing undeterred.
Newswire: Strategic Importance of HLS in the broader anticapitalist fight | SHAC Do Christmas & Solidarity Demos | Corporate Watch on SHAC Trial - State Repression of Anti-Corporate Dissent | Campaigning against cruelty is now punishable by up to 14 years in prison! | SHAC campaign against HLS continues despite the convictions says the Guardian | SHAC v HLS
Previous featuers: Solidarity For Political Prisoner Sean Kirtley | Largest HLS Investor Dumps All Shares | SHAC Prepares For National March & Rally | Victory for animal rights campaigners | Activist Imprisoned for Shouting | Fisher Scientific Embarrassed Over Links with HLS | SHAC World Day for Lab Animals | Asahi Glass Protesters Harassed by Police | "March Against the Murderers"
On Saturday 6th of December at around 10pm, two Greek policemen were in patrol in a central street by Exarchia square, in the centre of Athens. They had a verbal argument with some young people who were there. During the argument, one of the cops pulled his gun and shot a 16-year-old guy twice [Video]. The victim was moved to Evangelismos Hospital to be pronounced dead. According to eye-witnesses, the cop had been swearing against the young man, showing his genitals, before shooting him.
This immediately sparkled some of the heaviest protests in Greece for over 20 years. Many Greek cities have seen daily clashes with police for over a week, and are still continuing, together with University occupations in Athens and in Thessaloniki [more], schools being closed down and further demonstrations spreading throughout the country [Infoshop's media gallery]. Some argue that Greece is at the "verge of a serious crisis" [more].
Regular updates and eye-witness accounts from Greece (Eng): Occupied London blog | Center for Strategic Anarchy blog | Libcom.org archive.
Solidarity protesters have taken to the streets all over Europe. In London around 70 activists blocked the entrance of the Greek Embassy for several hours on Monday 8th, and it was effectively closed down for most of the day. The blockade ended with at least two arrests. See full report and photos in IMC-London [BBC Video] Another protest took place on Wednesday 10th, and on Thursday 11th a picket outside the Greek embassy was heavily repressed by the Met police. On Sunday 14th yet another solidarity demonstration took place in the Dalston area of London, with over 100 people facing a heavy handed police presence [Report and Photos 1 | 2 | Video]. Protests also took place in Newcastle [Pics 1 | 2] Edinburgh [Video | more] and Leeds, and there are also reports of actions taking place in Bristol [more], Cardiff and Birmingham.
In Germany there have been protests in several cities, including a solidarity demo in Berlin where the Greek embassy was also occupied (de) for the whole day. Demonstrations also took place in Hamburg (de), Dresden (de), Bremen (de) and Cologne (de), whilst the consulate in Cologne (de) was attacked with red paint. The same as in Bologna (It) where the Greek consulate was blockaded and attacked with red paint. In Venice (It) activists occupied the Greek Institute and Consulate. Other solidarity protests include Bern (Swz), Copenhagen (Dk) [more], New York (Us) [Pics], Toledo (Sp), Madrid [Pics | Video], Barcelona [Pics 1 + 2 | Video], Melbourne, Ljubljana, St. Petersburg, Amsterdam, Oaxaca and several Russian cities. Further calls for solidarity demos have been made in Glasgow, and Dublin.
On Saturday 25th October 2008,several hundred people attended the 10th Annual United Families & Friends Remembrance procession which was led by many family members of those who have died in suspicious circumstances in police custody, prison and 'secure' mental health facilities.
In customary tradition the procession made its way in dignified silence from Trafalgar Square down Whitehall to Downing Street in dutiful respect to those who mourn the loss of loved ones and to invoke their memory and the collective injustices that their deaths represent. In the past year 182 such deaths have been recorded recorded, and a banner carried in the march listed over 2500 who have died.
11th of October saw the first worldwide protests against surveillance measures such as the collection of all telecommunications data, the surveillance of air travellers and the biometric registration of citizens. In at least 15 countries citizens demanded a cutback on surveillance, a moratorium on new surveillance powers and an independent evaluation of existing surveillance powers.
In Liverpool, political campaigns came together to hold stalls in the city centre and distribute leaflets. Police riot vans surrounded and intimidated them, but surrounding crowds helped intervene to block the police and defend the stalls.Reports: | 1 | 2 |
Callouts with background: 0 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 |
The past few weeks have seen a flurry of activity in anti-deportation campaigns in the city. Neither Selina Adda's family or Mustafa have been deported, although their statuses are still uncertain. Selina and family are back in Nottingham to continue their campaign for the right to stay. Mustafa remains in detention whilst fresh representations to the Home Office are considered.
It has also been announced that Nottingham refugee Amdani Juma's Judicial Review of his case is approaching. The Friends of Amdani are holding a rally in support of his right to stay on Saturday.
Newswire: Demonstrate for Amdani Juma's right to stay | Amdani Juma: No Let up in Local Support as Hearing Date Set | URGENT - Stop the deportation of Mustafa! | Mustafa Belongs to Nottingham | Amdani's Judicial Review | Sanctuary for Brian, Chelsea & Selina
A popular family from Wilford had their home raided by immigration police on Monday. Brian, Chelsea and their mother Selina Adda from Ghana are now being held in Yarl's Wood IRC and due to be forcibly removed from the UK on Friday 3rd October on British Airways flight BA81 @ 14:15hrs from terminal 5 Heathrow to Accra, Ghana.
Selina came to the UK seeking asylum from a forced marriage to a man from another culutre in Ghana. Her sister recently committed suicide and she has no remaining friends and family in Ghana. The family's friends and asylum campaigners have begun a campaign to ensure that they stay in Nottingham.
Newswire: Sanctuary for Brian, Chelsea & Selina
On Saturday 6th September two hundred activists made it to Ledbury, Herefordshire, for the Carnival Against Vivisection in solidarity with political prisoner Sean Kirtley. The day of action was called by various groups in resistance to the imprisoning of peaceful campaigners under SOCPA legislation, and as a stand for the animals suffering inside vivisection laboratories.
Protesters met on the grass verge, where the police held them allowing a maximum of 15 at a time to demonstrate outside Sequani labs. Shortly after campaigners made a spontaneous break for the labs, with police responding by blocking the bridge to push back the crowd, creating minor scuffles. Multiple attempts were also made to access the labs using various pre-planned routes, meeting police each time, some of which had dogs. Protesters then regrouped at the grass verge to march the original route around town.
Related links: Free Sean Kirtley | Stop Sequani Animal Testing | Antispeciesist Action | Animal Liberation Front | Bite Back | NETCU Watch | FIT watch | Western Animal Rights Network | Indymedia UK Stop Sequani topic page
Sometime during a busy day of policing the Camp For Climate Action, near Kingsnorth Power Station in Kent, an officer dropped a so-called 'Pocket Legislation Guide on Policing Protest'. The document, issued by the National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit (NETCU), gives an overview of legislation the police can use to stifle all forms of legitimate protest. The document, which is supposedly not for public consumption, was subsequently posted on Indymedia UK by a camper attending the Climate Camp.
NETCU describe themselves as "promoting a coordinated response to domestic extremism by providing tactical advice to the police service, and information and guidance to industry and government." According to NETCU Watch, an online initiative to monitor the service's activities, the main purpose of their existence is to monitor protest groups, especially related to animal rights campaigns. A further concern is that the police seem to be supporting commerce (especially the vivisection industry) beyond their remit of upholding the law.
Just two weeks after the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) released a report by their Historical Enquiries Team (HET) on the McGurk’s Bar Bombing in 1971, Robert McClenaghan, grandson of Phillip Garry, one of the victims, visited Nottingham to speak at the ICC. He was representing An Fhirinne (The Truth), an organisation of relatives of people murdered by loyalist paramilitaries where there is evidence of collusion between the paramilitaries and British state forces. An Fhirinne and other relatives’ organisations are calling for an Independent International Truth Commission into the slaughter of their loved ones. They believe that a British government inquiry could not possibly be independent, and neither could a government of Ireland one, as they have done little to uncover the truth of killings in the twenty six counties.
Robert visited Nottingham as part of a tour of four English cities as a guest of the Troops Out Movement (TOM), the British- based organisation which campaigns for British withdrawal from Ireland. He showed a very harrowing video of relatives speaking of their lost loved ones. It showed to people in England the reality of what was done in their name.