UK Repression Feature Archive
26-11-2003 16:58The Thessaloniki 7 were freed on bail today (26.11) the Council of Deliquencies of Thessaloniki ruled that the Thessaloniki 7 are to be set free! Our Solidarity with the Seven has worked: Our passion for freedom was stronger than their prisons! We now demand all of the charges to be dropped. Justice for the Saloniki 7!
One of the activists said, “The evidence is striking! Simon was seen wearing his blue rucksack when he was first dragged across the street by the police. Minutes later he was filmed surrounded by three black rucksacks which the police had filled with molotov's. It's all on film!”
LATEST UPDATE -- They're OUT! All 7 have been released on bail. See IMC UK for more information.
Monday Nov 24 to Friday Nov 28:
- @ 12:30 distribution of leaflets on the case outside travel agencies accross the city center. Meet outside Thomas Cook on Briggade, opposite Borders bookshop.
- @ 18:00 meetings outside the Greek Consulate of Leeds. Meet at the Roundhay Fox pub, Roundhay Park (buses 12 and 2 from town).
"This is beyond humanity", cried a woman from Rwanda. "I fled for my life from Rwanda, now this Friday here in Glasgow they are coming to evict me and deport me."
Demonstrators rallied outside the Glasgow City Council Chambers in George Square last night, 9th November, to denounce the Council's new policy of evicting refugees who have been refused asylum. Protestors erected tents in the Square to illustrate the reality of the State's inhuman policies.
Asif, a refugee from Afghanistan, spoke on behalf of the Glasgow Refugee Action Group. "The Glasgow City Council are making millions of pounds from their contract with the Home Office to take refugees. Now they are throwing the refugees out on the street....We appreciate the support of ordinary people in Scotland. This is not the end of our struggle but the beginning."
People gave leaflets, talked to people and shouted slogans. The 'wall' was seen making its way through the Westgate and Clarendon shopping centres - to the annoyance of security guards, culminating by a walk down Cornmarket and a visit to Marks and Spencer's. Finally, a 'checkpoint' was built on a nearby (pedestrianised) street, until the 'soldier' announced he was taking the 'prisoners' into custody and the wall was taken apart and dumped in a nearby bin. If only the real thing was as easily dealt with...
[Report | Photos]
[Stop the Wall] | [Palestine Campaign] | [Wall that breaks Rafah's heart]
In Liverpool, campaigners slept out in the streets in solidarity with destitute asylum seekers [pics | call].
In Scotland, over 1000 protesters expressed their opposition to the imprisonment of refugee children at the remote and isolated Dungavel Detention Centre. On November 10th, people protested in Glasgow against the eviction of 200 refugees from their accommodation.
Destitute women asylum seekers joined up with the Global Women Strike Campaign in an antiwar protest in London, simultaneously highlighting the ongoing breeches of human rights by Section 55 [ report | Amnesty InternationalAfghanistan report].
In Cambridge campaigners join up with refugees from Oakington Detention Centre and support groups to cope with the current repressive measures and proposed new cuts of human rights.
In Manchester a refugee died in September after setting fire to himself in desperation of having his benefits cut.
National Coalition for Anti- Deportation Campaigns | Asylum Rights | Asylum Support | Asylum Policy | Joint Council for the Welfare of immigrants
On Oct 30/31st, residents at St.Agnes were on alert, building baricades and erecting a scaffolding tower. Police was seen several times during these days, but the bailiffs didn't turn up - St. Agnes Place is still going!
Five of the 7 prisoners are currently on hungerstrike protesting the circumstances of their arrests and imprisonment. Four of them have been without any food for 24 days, whilst Suleiman "Castro" Dakduk has already been on a hunger strike for 37 days.
For more information see IMC-UK dossier "Thessaloniki Prisoner Solidarity".
"You should all be worried because, what happened to my brother Leon could happen to anyone". These were the words of Stephanie, Leon Patterson’s surviving twin sister. Leon died in custody on 27 November 1992 in a Stockport police cell. So far, after twelve years of legal battles and a verdict of unlawful killing, no police officer has been convicted in relation to this incident.
Stephanie was one among many family members who attended the fifth national demonstration organised by the United Families and Friends Campaign (UFF) on October 25th in Trafalgar Square, London.
The UFFC was set up in 1997 as a coalition of family and friends of black and white people who have died in police custody or in psychiatric hospitals. The campaigners seek judicial justice for the family of the victims, demand the end of "institutionalised killings" and want the basic human rights of their communities to be upheld.
In his short visit, Bill counted 153 cameras in the city centre. This occupies 16 square blocks, which means that there is an average of about 10 cameras per square block- a number bigger than the most heavily monitored neighborhoods in New York City and Chicago!
Bill Brown's Leeds report | Leeds EF notes on CCTV in Leeds and beyond
A week of uprisings, street blockades, general strikes and conflict erupted on the height of the Bolivia's "gas war", finally forcing the president Sanchez de Losada to resign and to flee to Miami, Florida, US. Despite the army shooting protesters, leaving about a hundred dead and several hundred wounded, a wide coalition of miners, coca-farmers, highland peasants, indigenous, transport workers, teachers, pensioners, union members and many other sections of civil society, took to the streets to show their disagreement with the IMF enforced cheap sell-out of Bolivia's natural gas resources to the US. [Read a letter from Bolivia's capital La Paz]
This was the second major insurrection this year that took place in Bolivia. On February anothr revolt occured following tax rises, cuts in pensions and other neoliberal measures carried through on orders of the International Monetary Fond (IMF) Bolivia is not the only country in Latin America where clashes between social movements and governments have taken place; as cuts in the educational system (Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Uruguay, Chile, Mexico), privatisation of state owned companies (Colombia), oppression of the indigenous population (Argentina, Chile, Colombia) and attacks on social projects and self-managed factories (Argentina) are repeatedly followed with protests, student riots and strikes, to which governments have reacted by enforcing repression and military style curfews.
To read the full feature containing background information, first hand reports, photos, timelines of events and daily updates of the week 13th - 19th of October, click on the "Read more" link below.
Demonstrators descended on the Spanish Consulate in Edinburgh on 29th September to express solidarity with the threatened Barcelona squat LA KASA DE LA MUNTANYA.
Placard-waving protestors plastered the Consulate with flyers, delivered a letter to the Consulate-General and distributed leaflets denouncing the attempted eviction of the self-managed community centre.
"For 14 years LA KASA DE LA MUNTANYA has been a community, cultural and social centre run on principles of self-organisation and self-regulation. Despite the fact that there is clear evidence that the Spanish government has obtained ownership of the building illegally and has no plans for its use, an eviction has been scheduled for 2nd October," declared flyers distributed by the dozen demonstrators. See pictures.
Stop Evictions! - Fortnight of Actions In Barcelona
From Sept 26 to Oct 12, the Squatters Assembly of Barcelona has called for a "Fortnight of Struggle" to defend Barcelona's occupied spaces [read background info] This call is in response to the eviction threats against two of the oldest and most emblematic squatted social centres of the city, [the Kasa de la Muntanya and Les Naus], and also to protest about the re-opening of judicial procedures against several other local occupied houses and social centres, such as La Hamsa. This international call to action includes the first international squatters' demonstration in history, due to take place in downton Barcelona on Saturday 4th of Ocotber.
Meanwhile a series of actions, demonstrations, gatherings and meetings are already taking place in and around Barcelona [Photos].
See below for latest news and updates:
- Sat 4th October: The international demonstration against evictions and property speculation took place in downtown Barcelona under heavy police presence. Between 3 and 5,000 people (with a bycicle critical mass in front) marched behind a banner that read "in defense of liberated spaces and against evictions". Another big banner stated: "evictons, torture ... if this is your peace we declare war on you". The demo was very loud and determined, whilst a sound system provided a festive atmosphere. Several activists engaged in a series of actions and performances along the march.
[Reports in English 1 and 2 | Photos 1 and 2 | Videos 1 and 2 | Timeline of Events (esp & cat)]
Further information: IMC-Barcelona(eng) and La Haine(esp).
- Thurs 2nd October: Activities continue to take place in Barcelona's social centres. Today, a call has been made to participate in the workshops "Speeches and Channels - Creating New Networks of Horizontal Communication" due to take place this weekend in the squated social centre Les Naus. Organised by IMC-Barcelona, Les Naus and Luther Blisset.
- Wed 1st October: Around 1000 people have taken to the streets of Barcelona's barrio of Gracia to protest against the eviction of la Kasa de la Muntanya. Reports 1(esp) | 2(cat)
Photos of solidarity action in Barcelona's Tibidabo this morning.
- Tue 30 September: Eviction of Kasa de la Muntanya temporarily suspended. Repots 1 and 2.
Stop Evictions! - Defend Squatted and Autonomous Spaces Around Europe
Whilst all this goes on in Barcelona, activists in Holland are mobilising to defend from eviction the oldest squat of the country. The "Blauwe Aanslag" in The Hague is a former tax office that has been open for the past 23 years, grewing into a vibrant D.I.Y. living-working environment containing a concerthall, cinema, food-kitchen, professional offset printingplant as well as livingspace for more than 70 people. But on Friday 3rd October, and after a long judicial procedure, a judge decided that the squat can be demolished… The eviction has started [Report | Pics | Squat's history]
At the same time, in Brussels squatters activists and neighbourhood groups are preparing a "squat action week" in the city called "Une Semaine à Bruxelles" due to start on the 15 of October.
Legal Update 16th September here.
Samba player in deep trouble after having been badly beaten by police and spending two days at Charing Cross police station; Witness appeal.
Liberty are asking for reports from people who were stopped and searched, ASAP. An email list has been set up for people who were arrested / beaten etc..
Since the 1st of September, 144 people have been arrested in protests against the Defence Systems and Equipment international arms fair (DSEi) that has been taking place in East London. Policing tactics have been condemned by a wide range of people and Liberty is have won the right to seek a High Court injunction over use of Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000; they have also offered to provide legal representation for anyone stopped or detained under this legislation. Bindmans Lawyers have also requested information or witnesses from DSEi.
- Legal resources:
- Activists' Legal Project
- Legal Defence & Monitoring Group
- free B.E.A.G.L.E.S. legal resource centre
- Urban75 legal page
Numerous requests for witnesses have been made on the UK indymedia newswire [1 2 3 4 5 6]. There have also been several videos posted showing police violence against demonstrators which may provide evidence [ 1 2 - more can be found on the full reports from the 9th, 10th and 11th September].
Meanwhile, Anti-War demonstrators are still being threatened with - and receiving - harsh sentences. Protestors from Fairford come to trial next week while some are still fighting to get the charges reduced before they come to trial (Background to the case). Yet others are still looking for witnesses and some, like Ulla Roder (who was arrested for damaging a Tornado war-plane), have had their trials delayed numerous times.
Further afield, Simon Chapman and the Thessalonikki 7 remain imprisoned in Greece (solidarity website). Simon's first appeal has failed (against the charges) and he is currently awaiting the results of a second appeal. Key evidence such as the video have been re-submitted. In the United States, webmaster of raisethefist.com Sherman Austin has been imprisoned for 1 year; he has since been subject to death threats and is being kept in solitary on the grounds of safety as a reason.
Thousands of protesters, peasant and farmers organization, workers, environmentalists, trade unionists and many other groups opposing the World Trade Organization, corporate globalisation and militarism from around the world and Latin America are converging in Cancun, Mexico this week, the location for this weeks WTO meeting.
On Wednesday, Korean farmer Kyong Lee took his life in protest against WTO policy, while demonstrators tore down the fence surrounding the summit but refused to enter the summit grounds. The Mexican president Vicente Fox had ordered a police-led campaign of misinformation and barricades (Report) and prevented a teach-in organized by the International Forum on Globalization. Police repression is high. At least 8 protesters have been seriously injured during the Thursday march. Many other protesters throughout the week have been injured, threatened with deportation, banned from Cancun and refused entry to the country.
Background: UK IMC article
"Whose streets? Our streets!"
Early in the morning the Dockland Light Railway (DLR) was stopped in the first of several actions (see reports:   and pics:   ) with activists D-locking themselves onto the train at various stations or climbing onto the roof (see video). This disrupted the DLR for much of the day. Also on the DLR, activists engaged in "train theatre" posing as arms dealers (report and pics). On their way to the Excel centre they announced they had arms for sale two opened their cases revealing various sets of arms (prosthetic and dolls arms) they had to sell.
At Custom House DLR (pic others went to a "Meet the Delegates" action. From eight in the morning a Critical Mass left from the City of London to the Docklands (pics:   and video. On their way to the Excel around a hundred cyclists blocked traffic while comedian Mark Thomas entertained the crowds. Just after nine the Palestine support group, International Solidarity movement (ISM) visited the Israeli arms company Rafael in an attempted office occupation, later unfurling banners outside.
At eleven o'clock the two meeting points of "Storm the Death Fair" at Connaught Bridge underpass and "Blockade the Death Fair" at Canning Town roundabout allowed affinity groups to converge to form mobile groups forming and splitting as they engaged in their various actions. At Canning Town the group was prevented from moving by police but soon shoved their way through and moved off down Silvertown and along Victoria Dock road.
At Connaught Bridge a car partially blocked the ExCel approach road in a D-lock action (pics) while groups moved in a variety of directions, many up to Connaught roundabout and some down to the underpass (pics:   ), blockading the traffic for several hours. Groups remained mobile; some pushing through police lines as other roads nearby were temporarily occupied or blockaded.
As pink and silver Samba drummed their way along Victoria Dock rd (pics), blocking the road with crash barriers, clashes occurred as police pushed the crowd against the railings of a recreation park. Samba managed to move off up Freemasons Road joined by Sheffield samba band and preceded to block the A13 main road (pics). There were scuffles and arrests as police chased the crowd in different directions.
Meanwhile at the ExCel centre six activists infiltrated DSEi, occupying two tanks, daubing them in ‘Stop Death’ banners and locking on, before being removed by security (see press release, pics and video). Some delegates are forced to walk to DSEi due to the disruption caused by the protests (see delegate video).
At 4pm the Reclaim the Streets party mobilised many of the roaming affinity groups at Rathbone Market where a crowd of around 300 took to the streets soon meeting up with a critical mass bicycle group complete with sound system. On the A13 the crowd was eventually blocked in by police (video), later being forced into a park (video), which police had cleared with mounted riot police (video). They were slowly released in small groups after being photographed (reports:   ).
Meanwhile next to Canning Town DLR a second RTS group occupied the roundabout, as the DLR was again stopped, banners hung on top of the flyover ("Disarm DSEi"), arms delegate buses blockaded and riot police deployed. With another samba group playing, there were more arrests and scuffles as police cleared the roads, later blocking in two main groups of protestors for several hours as people tried to push through police lines (pics:   ).
The day had seen a high level of disruption around the arms fair, especially given the relatively small numbers of protestors, while police continued using stop and search powers under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 (reports:    pics: , ). There were many arrests, some targeted, some quite violently, throughout the day.
See Full Timeline.
Pictures: [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,8, 9, 10, 11,12, 13, 14, 15,16, 17, 18, 19,20, 21,22,23, 24, 25, 26]
Video:[quicktime,wmv:1, 2,3,4,5, mpeg]
Miscellaneous: Pensioner protest, Corporate media: [1 ,2] Call for evidence of legal support [1,2,3]
Arrests update: 10th, 11th.
Reports from corporate press:   
Sticks, boots and bare fists beat a rhythm of resistance on the razor-wire fence around Scotland’s refugee prison, Dungavel, last Saturday 6th September. Over 1,000 demonstrators travelled to the south Lanarkshire countryside to demand the closure of Dungavel and freedom for the men, women and children imprisoned within.
Pics [1, 2, 3,] audio
A samba action has taken place in London at the BAE offices in London just before 9am this morning. An attempt was made to bestow an award to the company. Entry was gained to the foyer by 6 suited anti-arms campaigners. There were two arrests of people using D-locks on tables. The people arrested are now at Charing Cross Police Station where there has been a supportive samba noise demo. Click here for full report - pictures [1,2] - [ 2 short video clips, longer video clip on Imc Italy]- audio.
On the way from the BAE action to Charing Cross police station the group stopped by at the Army Recruitment Office to voice their protest against the war machine.
In the morning, delegates to the NATO military committee meeting in Cambridge were greeted by a lively show of the street theatre "performing for peace" on Monday morning.Pictures.
At the demonstration and from then on, repression in Colombia has increased, consisting of mass arrests of trade unionists, community and social workers and assassination attempts [AI statement].
As the conflict intensified, Juan Carlos Benavides, a journalist at the community radio Manantial Stereo in Putumayo, was murdered on the 22nd of August at a road-block set up by the guerrilla organization FARC.
"Juan Carlos was a well known community communicator in the region, always trying to support community participation and social journalism. He was an active member of the CRIS campaign, coordinated in Colombia by the local NGO Planeta Paz." From a statement of the campaign Communication Rights in the Information Society.