UK Repression Feature Archive
Another week of the election, another week of scapegoating migrants equals another week in which the deportation machine strides on; imprisoning men, women and children before deporting them to wherever is most expedient. The mainstream political parties' rhetoric surrounding immigration has become less and less distinguishable from that of the BNP. They point their fingers at migrants, positioning one group of oppressed and marginalised people as the cause of the dispossession of other groups.
This anti-migrant discourse is further developed by the mainstream press - including the Nottingham Evening Post - who seek to flog their rags with sensational headlines which blame migrants for all of society’s ills, unwilling or unable to develop a broader analysis.
Meanwhile, resistance continues in the form of migrant protests within the detention estate and solidarity attacks on the companies profiting from running migrant prisons, such as Serco.
Newswire: Serco goverment buildings attacked | Bristol: Serco van tourched | Serco goverment service office attacked in London | London protest at Serco over Yarlswood assaults | Hunger Strike @ Yarlswood | Women in Yarlswood vow to stay on hunger strike | Call for a European Week of Action against the deportation machine | NSPM Peace Conference Politics of Migration
AS PROPOSED IMF SOLUTION SPARKS RESISTANCE...
Greece is further troubled as government officials get ready to announce IMF imposed wage cuts that will resonate across the country’s entire public sector. Emergency demonstrations were held across the country (Thursday 29th April) in protest against the cuts by grass-roots trade unions, leftist and anarchist organisations.
Mayday, 1st May, is a day of anti-capitalist workers' struggle. Traditionally, Nottingham's contribution has been a march through the town centre and a rally of anti-capitalist campaigns and agitators. For the past few years, this gathering has taken place in Brewhouse Yard near Nottingham castle. However, this year the City Council have been putting all manner of obstacles in the organisers' way.
Permission for a rally in Brewhouse Yard was refused because "there were going to be Robin Hood activities in other places"! Permission was finally granted for the rally in Victoria Park on the St Ann's end of town but only subject to restrictive conditions such as displaying the Council logo on all publicity, displaying Council banners and was subject to a charge... all for using a 'public' park. In addition, organisers are having to pay to get roads closed for the march.
All of this has led one of the organisers to question whether the streets and public spaces of Nottingham really do belong to the people or are just an extension of the City Council's private fiefdom. These restrictions have very serious impacts on people's freedom to protest and assemble, as demonstrated by recent police crackdowns on festivals, such as the Strawberry Fair in Cambridge.
MayDay rally and march from 11am, Victoria Park, Bath Street.
AS REPRESSION INC ARRIVES IN LONDON TO PEDDLE ITS WARES.....
Roll up, roll up, one and all for the ‘Counter Terror’ Expo 2010. Kicking off at London’s Kensington Olympia on April 14th, the two day event will showcase the surveillance and ‘security’ technologies of 250 companies hoping for a slice of the paranoia dollar. Also on the Big Brother bandwagon are NATO, the MoD and other representative associations from the police, military and private security industry. There are several good reasons to show up at 12pm, Wednesday 14th April (at Olympia Way W14) and counter the terror expo.
"It's rapidly becoming obvious that this is a nationwide issue - somehow the police have got it into their heads that music and dancing are bad for society. They've used the licensing laws as a weapon." - Strawberry Fair organiser
In what is fast becoming a summer tradition, yet another gathering has fallen victim to party-pooping police tactics. One of the UK's last free open-air festivals has been cancelled under police pressure. Strawberry Fair, in Cambridge, viewed by many as the starting gun for the festival season, has been stopped in its tracks after 37 straight years. Some (on Facebook at least) are vowing that some kind of festival will go ahead anyway.
Greece has once again been rocked by protests, strikes and civil unrest. This time in response to a series of swinging government cutbacks aimed at bringing the country into line with neo-liberal dogma and reducing it's budget deficit. In response to proposed attacks on worker's rights and pensions, virtually the entire country came out on strike on Wednesday. 30,000 marched through Athens and violently clashed with police. There is widespread anger at the governments attempts to deal with the economic crisis by dipping into the pockets of the poor. Marchers in Athens shouted, "No sacrifices! Make the rich pay for the crisis!”Links:
2008 Greek protests – SchNEWS 659 | 662
Indymedia: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
According to local rag the Evening Post, Nottingham City Council has "Nottingham City Council has banned large-scale graffiti art to take place at youth clubs. Those affected will reportedly be The Arches, Russell Youth Club and St Ann's Adventure Playground. It is not specified in the article what law or procedure has been used to do this.
The alleged ground for this ban is that legal graffiti encourages illegal graffiti or gives an appearance of neglect. This is based on the so-called "broken window theory."
While the ban appears to be restricted to council-run youth clubs, this is not clear and there is some concern that the ban might extend further, possibly to private graffiti displays (like that on the side of OhMyGosh records on Mansfield Road). Even if it's scope is tightly restricted, the removal of a legal space for young people to express themselves has been strongly criticised.
Nottingham grafitti showcase: OhMyGosh Graffiti / Spray Art Session Finished | OhMyGosh Charity Live Graffiti Art Session Street Party: Pix 1 | OhMyGosh Charity Live Graffiti Art Session Street Party: Pix 2 | Spray Art at the ASBO - Pictures | City Arts, Graffiti Art :: Gregory Boulevard, Nottingham | Forest Fields Youth Club: Artwork and Graffiti 1 | Forest Fields Youth Club: Artwork and Graffiti 2 | Graffiti Artists in the Arboretum, Nottingham
Concerned about underperformance by Nottinghamshire Police Force, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) have taken the unusual step of sending in an "elite squad" to review the force's practices. Zoe Billingham, the Inspector for the eastern region, explained: "We're concerned about the enduring issue of Nottinghamshire Police's under-performance. There has been improvement in the city, but crime is not falling as fast as in other areas of the county. People in Nottinghamshire don't feel safe in some areas."
The team's work will reportedly cost £75,000. The six person team includes two serving chief constables and, bizarrely, Tony Wilkinson, former chairman of discount store Wilkinsons Ltd.
This move comes at the end of what diplomatically might be described as a "difficult" year for Nottinghamshire Police.
On the newswire: Christmas Appeal - Spare some coppers for a Copper | Another shoplifting copper caught with their trousers down | Police dog handler on trial | Demo against Notts Police & £700,000 bill for arresting 114 enviro activists | Taser Frenzy in Nottingham | Another young, black man dies in a police cell | Police spent £700.000 on climate action bust operation | Heroes of law and order
Campaigners are mobilising to make a final attempt to stop the deportation of Brian, Chelsea and their mother Selina Adda to Ghana
Selina Adda a national of Ghana and her two children aged five and nine years, residents of Nottingham for the last five years; are currently detained in Yarl's Wood IRC and due to be forcibly removed from the UK on Wednesday 27th January 2010 @ 14:50 on British Airways flight BA0081 to Accra.
Their asylum claim and all further legal avenues have been rejected.
Update (27/01/10): Selina and family have not been deported! See article for info.
Previous features Anti-deportation campaign for Notts family
Nottingham City Council has made the unprecedented step of threatening a critical local blogger via its solicitors. In a letter sent to the author of the Nottingham City Council LOLs (NCCLOLs) blog, solicitor Jon Ludford-Thomas states that the blog "contains personal, derogatory comments regarding a number of [the City Council's] councillors and employees that could cause distress to those individuals." It requests that the author "remove these personal, derogatory comments from ncclols and refrain from posting similar such comments on ncclols or elsewhere on the internet."
The NCCLOLs blog describes itself as a resource for those who "want to know what [their] favourite local council ... gets up to?" and uses minutes of meetings and Freedom of Information requests to scrutinise what goes on in the Council chamber and beyond. In the past it has exposed some of the serious failings of Nottingham City Homes and the Council's housing benefit service.
Andy, author of NCCLOLs, said "It's not quite clear what legal basis NCC has for telling the blog not to write such things."
Newswire: Nottingham City Council Makes Vague Legal at Blogger | 3 Million Quid Spent on Housing Benefit Consultants | Nottingham Loses Out again | Housing Benefit Decision Notices Inadequate and Illegal | Big Underspend on Payments to help Poor Tenants | BNP member on NCH Disabled Person's panel
In March 2007 the Home Office published "Enforcing the Rules": stating that its purpose was to ensure that for people seeking asylum, life "becomes ever more uncomfortable and constrained until they leave or are removed." From October this year they have stepped their efforts to make life hard for asylum seekers (and perhaps win some votes from the most ignorant and racist parts of the electorate). In particular: cutting asylum benefits to £5 a day for asylum seekers over 25; attempting (disastrously) to deport people to Baghdad, claiming that it is "safe" (one of the people on the demo had lost a friend to car bomb in Baghdad weeks before); making the process of claiming asylum even more of maze that it already is and announcing their intention to forcibly deport people to Zimbabwe by claiming there were "positive changes" there.
Sheffield's Zimbabwean community felt this attack on them should be resisted. They fled Zimbabwe to find safety here and there is no less danger in Zimbabwe now than before the latest "Unity" Government. Initiated by them and backed by the South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group (SYMAAG) we decided to speak out against this latest stepping up of the Government's war against asylum seekers. So 100-120 people demonstrated outside the Town Hall: asylum seekers from Zimbabwe, Uganda, Iraq, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Chechnia, Uzbekistan and Sudan joined SYMAAG, Sheffield and Barnsley Trades Councils, ASSIST, No Borders, CDAS, Sheffield Green Party, the Bishop of Sheffield and council leader Paul Scriven to show our opposition. As well as speeches there was dancing from members of the Zimbabwean group. The demonstration received coverage from Radio Sheffield, Sheffield Live and The Star and passers-by took 200 leaflets explaining why we were protesting. We left, cold but proud that we stood up for asylum rights in our city.
Next SYMAAG meeting: Monday 7th December 7pm at Scotia Works, Leadmill Road, Sheffield S1 4SE
Protests against the NATO parliamentary assembly in Edinburgh culminated in its the disruption on Tuesday morning [ Summary report ]. Six Trident Ploughshares activists were arrested when blocking the entrance to the Edinburgh Conference Centre. On Saturday, hundreds of protesters, including some NATO delegates, marched to the Edinburgh conference centre under the banner of the Stop the War coalition [ report ], whilst antifascists resisted a SDL rally in Glasgow.
The NATO Welcoming Committee called for action at the opening of the NATO meeting on Friday, but first the group was kettled by police before the protesters individually and spontaneously rallied in front of the assembly's meeting place.
About a week beforehand the access to the G20 finance meeting in St Andrew's was blockaded by five students and later in the day more than a hundred protesters marched to the Fairmont Hotel against the G20's policies.
Meanwhile the direct actions against the opencast coal mining at Mainshill Solidarity Camp continue. [ Report | Weekend of Actions and Workshops | round-up ]
The City of Edinburgh Council has also seen a lot of different grassroots groups campaigning against their policies, such as the privatisation of health and support services [ latest update], a bin workers "work-to-rule strike and overtime ban" [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 ], manual workers dispute, parents group resisting the closure of schools, fight against funding cuts for community projects and opposition to the regeneration of the lower part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site [ Save our Old Town ] and the initiative to Save Meadowbank .
As part of the SHAC campaign 70 people turned out for a demonstration and march against Novartis' headquarters (an animal research centre and top HLS target) in Horsham on Saturday 31st October.
Up until 2pm the day before Sussex Action For Animals (SAFA) were not even sure that the demonstration would be able to take place. Earlier in the month Novartis had attempted to get an interim injunction using the notoriously repressive solicitor Timothy Lawson-Cruttenden, known for numerous HLS injunctions and failing to seize a protestor's assets amongst other civil liberties issues.
Novartis were seeking to prevent banners on the demonstration from bearing the words "Novartis", or carry posters showing images of animal suffering. They didn't want protesters to be able to wear masks or costumes; in particular blood stained lab coats. They did also mention something about fireworks! However, despite the best efforts to dredge up any dirt they could to support their application, the judge found in favour of the campaigners.
Recent features: March against Novartis on Saturday | Newcastle March & Demo Against Sanofi-Aventis | Direct Action Withdraws HLS Loan Facilities | Largest HLS Investor Dumps All Shares As Buyout Approaches | Operation Liberation Demo at Highgate Rabbit Farm | Novartis CEO's hunting lodge destroyed | Highgate Farm Protest Camp | Largest Shareholder Barclays and Top Investors Dump HLS | More features
Firstly, police threatened an activist with arrest for using the term "puppy killers", saying it's offensive. Next they were trying to obtain details from lawful protesters, which angered them when they were refused. The demo was so succesful with such a good atmosphere that passers by started to pap their horns, this was met with blue lights by the police who followed them, issuing £30 fines to the motorists.
Previous features: World Day for Animals in Laboratories March | Anti-vivisection campaigners convicted of blackmail | Solidarity For Political Prisoner Sean Kirtley | Carnival Against Vivisection | Sequani Besieged by Surprise Action | Indymedia UK Stop Sequani topic page
Nottinghamshire Police attracted national media attention when a video was released onto the internet showing officers from the force assaulting a member of the public in Nottingham City Centre. In the video the four officers can be seen shooting the man with a Taser stun gun and punching him repeatedly.
The release of this video comes at a time when Nottinghamshire Police are already having to answer questions about their recent decision to arrest without charge 114 people who were allegedly intending to disrupt Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station. The action which involved officers from four forces is estimated to have cost more than £70,000, despite no crime having been committed. Meanwhile, questions have also been raised about Reece Staples, 19, who died in police custody at Oxclose Lane station on 7th June.
On the newswire: Demo against Notts Police & £700,000 bill for arresting 114 enviro activists (photos) | Taser Frenzy in Nottingham | Another young, black man dies a police cell | Demand Police Accountability: End the harassment of public protests | Police spent £700.000 on climate action bust operation
Update: More than 40 women in Yarl's Wood continue their hunger strike for the 5th day [more].
A mass hunger strike by families detained at Yarl's Wood detention centre in Bedfordshire has been met with violent assaults on men, women and children by Serco security guards who mange the prison on behalf on the UK Border Agency. The detainees started the hunger strike on Monday and staged a sit-in in the corridor over their inhumane conditions.
Meanwhile in Brook House, the newly opened detention centre at Gatwick airport, a 'disturbance' broke out on 12th June and a fire was set by rioting detainees in the exercise area causing some damage.
A solidarity protest outside Serco's offices in London (22 Hand Court, Holborn, WC1V 6JF) has been called by No Borders London in support of the Yarl's Wood hunger strikers on Friday, 19th June, from 12noon. Activists from the Tyneside Community Action for Refugees (TCAR) gathered outside government offices in Newcastle on Wednesday to protest against racism and all immigration prisons.
As attacks by the national army in Sri Lanka have intensified, so do the protests around the world. After the news of thousands of civilian deaths in Sri Lanka at the weekend, which the UN has described as ‘a bloodbath’, British Tamils began a civil disobedience protest on Monday (11.05.09) in the hope that the British government might put genuine and decisive pressure on Sri Lanka to stop the atrocities it is currently committing. Five hundred began the protest at Parliament Square early in the morning. Thousands more joined them, at which point they moved onto Westminster Bridge and closed it off to traffic. Police officers were taken by surprise. The blockade lasted until mid-afternoon, at which time police resorted to physical attacks on people in an effort to clear the bridge.
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 75,000 people have already died in the conflict.
Upcoming: Tamil solidarity event this Sunday (17.05.09)
On the newswire: Estimate 1700 Tamil civilians killed 3000 injuried in 48 hrs in Sri Lanka | Civil Disobedience Protest By British Tamils Met With Police Brutality | Tamils Blockade Parliament Square Again (photos) | Tamils Blockade Parliament Sq (photos) | Bloodbath unfolding in Sri Lanka | Tamil blockade of Parliament Monday 11th May (photos) | "State terror in Sri Lanka - a Tamil perspective" today at Resonance 104.4 FM | Tamil protesters take to streets as the GENOCIDE of there people gose on | Urgent, westminster blockade happening now | Tamils genocide: More than 2,000 civilians feared slaughtered in a single night
The Nottingham City Council scheme to impose CCTV on Forest Fields is facing increasingly organised opposition. Much of the affected area has been leafletted with anti-CCTV material and campaigners against the scheme attended a consultation meeting last Thursday to make their views known. Many are worried about the intrusive and controlling nature of CCTV and think it would contribute to suspicion rather than strengthening the local community.
Whilst the police and the Council's Area 4 Management claim to be engaging in consultation their language regarding CCTV has always framed it as a necessary development. Ironically, these same people objected to a journalist taking their photos at the meeting, indicating that residents are not the only ones who are concerned about surveillance! The plans have already been scaled down from 5 camera masts in Forest Fields to masts at 3 locations but campaigners vow to continue until it is scrapped.
Newswire: CCTV proposed scheme for Forest Fields : public meeting report | CCTV in Forest Fields - public meeting on April 23rd | Forest Fields Latest: CCTV | Forest Fields CCTV Update | CCTV coming to Forest Fields unless we act NOW! | Surveillance of Nottingham city centre | Surveillance of Nottingham City Centre [Update]
Previous feature: Watching the watchers in Nottingham
On Saturday 18th April, the ex-patriate Zimbabwe Community from around the UK, came together to discuss the ‘Death of Democracy’ in their country. The gathering was held in Nottingham at the Hyson Green Youth Centre.
The NZCN (Nottingham Zimbabwe Community Network) organized and hosted the event. Most attendees dressed in black to remember and honour the hundreds of Zimbabweans who have been murdered during the MDC’s struggle for democracy. Guest speakers included MDC activists still working and striving towards a new, free and safe Zimbabwe.
Event Photos: ‘Death of Democracy’ Gathering
Links: No Borders Nottingham | Nottingham Zimbabwean Community Network | Zimbabwe Civic Action Support Group | Association of Zimbabwean Journalists in the UK (AZJ-UK) | Zimbabwe Association Ltd | Operation Mavhoterapapi (how did you vote) - Post-election violence [pdf 5.2M]
During a regular demo outside Barclays (due to their support for Huntingdon Life Sciences) a group of teenagers came to find out what the demo was about. The police were called, they arrested one teenager (Video) for alleged criminal damage (kicking the door of Barclays) which activists claim he didn't do, then refused to take details of bystanders who were witnesses to the non-crime. See update on arrested person and the SHAC topic page for information on the ongoing campaign.
Update: Another arrest at Barclays