UK Repression Feature Archive
Indymedia cinema and the RampART Creative Centre have been hosting a week long festival of documentary films from India. From Monday 10th to Saturday 16th January, each day focused on a particular social or political issue. This festival brings to London’s East End some documentaries that are rarely seen, inside or outside India, with the intention of creating spaces for debate. Some disturbing, some impassioned, others humorous, all inspiring and controversial, these films provide a glimpse into some of the most difficult challenges facing Indian society.
During film festivals in India attempts have been made to censor films covering these events. Now the same is happening in London. Last week, the ramparts social centre started to receive threatening emails, and anonymous comments posted on the ramparts web pages  from people trying to force the venue to cancel the film festival. They claim that the films present Hinduism in a bad light and that the organisers have an anti-Hindu agenda. The threats began after an email posted on nationalist Hindu mailing list alerted members of right wing Hindu groups such as the BJP and the VHP (both part of the Sangh Parivar, the family of Hindu fundamentalist organizations spawned and led by the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh). However, of course, the organizers refused to bow to the threats and the festival went on as other venues came forward to offer alternative places to show the film should disruption take place. In the end, there was no disruption, and attendance was very good. 
Smash Edo is a group of people campaigning to remove EDO MBM Technology Ltd from Brighton. EDO MBM is a subsidary of the multinational arms manufacturing company, EDO Corporation. At EDO MBM's factory on Home Farm Road, Moulescoombe, they are manufacturing bomb racks, release clips, arming mechanisms and targeting equipment; all of which has been used in the recent Iraq invasion. The campaign wants to shut down EDO MBM through raising awareness and direct action (Read more).
The campaign has been active for some time now. From Sunday 29th August to Thursday 2nd September there was a 5 day protest camp, with daily protests and a non violent direct action day. See reports  . Several actions have taken place: Reports:  , and [Indymedia UK feature]. Recently there was a public meeting, and every thurday at 4.00 there is a Bring The Noise Demo, at Edo factory, Home Farm Road, off Lewes Rd. There have been several arrests, and in December 2004 six activists were fined a total of £1500 to be paid by the end of January. Currently several other activists are on trial for aggravated trespass - for a roof occupation. See [Press release] [Report]
The Governments proposed Identity Card Bill has now entered the comittee stage where a comittee will spend just two and half weeks examining it before it goes on to the third reading. Despite having major implications for every person in the UK, this bill is being rushed through parliament. Liverpool Defy-ID has been formed to organise local resistance and action to stop the proposed bill becoming law. This is part of a growing nationwide network of resistance to a bill which would give the state unprecedented surveillance powers over all of us. In the current climate of eroding civil liberties and lack of democratic accountability, it seems obvious that these powers will be used to extend government invasion into our daily lives, re-inforce social inequalities and stifle political dissent.
Reports from Hebron and Jayyous in the West Bank by two British Peace activists. Four Palestinan children between 6 and 8 years old are arrested for playing in the street whilst the Israeli regieme conscripts its youth who are little more then children themselves to enforce an illegal apartheid system.
At the end of last year activists from UK Indymedia spent a month in Mexico. A country where the gap between rich and poor is higher than ever and extreme poverty is evident everywhere. However in the southern states of Oaxaca and Chiapas we encountered some truly inspiring tales of indigenous resistance.
In Oaxaca CIPO-RFM are organising direct action against the polititions and institutions that oppress them. They organise through democratic assemblies and maintain a CIPO PROTEST CAMP which has been attacked by the authorities. The state repression against them has recently increased though they remain defiant and should hopefully be speaking at UK events this February.
In neighbouring Chiapas we visited the Zapatista Caracol of Oventic. Here we interviewed the Zapatistas about their present situation. It is now exactly 11 years since the 1994 uprising, we were shown some of their more impressive achievements including the health service and education systems that they have installed for local people. They are presently appealing for international assistance for the Oventic.
NB Most links are to IMC photo essay posts.
Reports from the villages of Palestine from the 20th of December through to the New Year. On arriving here the first thing that I realise is that there is so much to do here because the military repression occurs throughout this land on every level. Not just in the incursions and massacres that we see so often on TV but in simple things that we as non Palestinians take for granted like there being a separate and inferior road system for Palestinans to use, and the fast super high way settler roads for those with the Isreali car nuimber plate. The Apartheid here is a rigorous and active racism.
As home secretary, Blunkett's abuses of human rights and civil liberties have been staggering. He has introduced internment without trial for suspected foreign terrorists is introducing military camps for children, and barely a day would go by without him dreaming up another crackpot neo-fascist scheme to attack civil liberties, criminalize working-class communities, and put more and more people behind bars.
Kelly, one of two activists who visited Sheffield in April to talk about Palestine and show a film, has now been imprisoned in Israel for filming.
At Oakington asylum seeker detention centre, near Cambridge, an Indian couple with a two year old child have been imprisoned for 54 days, and have been refused bail. The child has been ill, but because he is in detention has not been allowed to see a paediatrician. The family have been told that deportation is imminent. By the time they leave, they may have been imprisoned for 77 days. See [full report] [press release] [local press].
A recent Cambridge feature described how Lina Castanos, and her 8 year old son, Miguel were violently taken from their home at night, to be held first at Gatwick, and then at Oakington. While at Oakington, Miguel was refused a doctor for at least 24 hours when he became ill (Read more on Lina and Miguel's stay in prison).
The Castanos family face fear and uncertainty, as to whether they will be deported to Columbia. While at Oakington, they thought deportation would occur soon, however they have now been told they can appeal. Despite the fact that several close family members have been killed by Columbian paramilitary authorities, they are left uncertain as to whether they can remain in the UK.
Kelly Minio-Paluello (23), a community activist from the USA and a member of Britain's National Union of Journalists, was brutally arrested by Israeli Border Policemen while filming a peaceful demonstration on Tuesday outside Ramallah, in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. She is currently being held in Hadera Detention Centre awaiting deportation. She has not been told why she was arrested or when she will be deported or informed of her rights.
Update: Kelly was deported on 24 December, and is now back in the USA.
Kelly Minio-Paluello (23), a journalist and community activist from the USA, was brutally arrested by Israeli Border Policemen while filming a peaceful demonstration on Tuesday outside Ramallah, in the Occupied Palestinian Territories [press release]. She is currently being held in Hadera Detention Centre awaiting deportation. She has neither been told why or when she will be deported or informed of her rights. Earlier this year, Kelly and her husband Mika (a Cambridge activist whose reports from Palestine we have regularly featured) produced a film, documenting life in Balata Refugee Camp. Copies of the film are available from the Cambridge Indymedia collective.
Kelly's arrest while filming the beating of a Palestinian by Israeli police comes only weeks after Palestian Authority presidential candidate Mustafa Barghouti was beaten by Israeli troops at one of the 703 Israeli checkpoints on Palestinian territory.[Text] [Audio][Video]
Audio interview with Kelly in prison (Madison Indymedia): [mp3]
Indymedia UK coverage of the demonstration in Bil’in
Update: Kelly was deported on 24 December, and is now back in the USA.
Other articles by Kelly and Mika on Indymedia Cambridge:
[on Iraq solidarity demonstrations in Nablus | on collective punishment by the Israeli army | on the killing of a young Palestinian woman by an Israeli soldier | on being shot at by soldiers | on the struggle to reclaim bodies for funerals | several reports on the invasion of Nablus in late 2003 (one | two | three) | More of their posts...]
Internationals from the International Solidarity Movement and the International Women’s Peace Service today joined with Israeli peace activists to support the village of Bil’in in their second day of resistance to the construction of the Apartheid Wall. Approximately 150 men, women, and children from Bil’in walked onto their confiscated land and halted surveying work.
Full feature on arrested filmmaker Kelly Minio-Paluello on Cambridge IMC
Two hundred Egyptian activists and fifty from Europe were prevented from reaching Egyptian Rafah by security forces at Bahlouza, the entry to North Sinai yesterday. The group was accompanying hundreds of tons of relief supplies for the people of Rafah collected by the Egyptian Popular committee in support of the Palestinian Intifada. While the food and blankets were allowed to reach the border at Rafah, the solidarity demonstration planed for Rafah was held in the middle of the desert underneath the welcome arch of North Sinai.
Ten people were arrested in Manchester city centre at the weekly picket outside Marks and Spencers'. On the 27th November police informed protesters that the picket would be illegal under the Public Order Act anywhere other than the Peace Gardens.
Defying the order, picketers began a moving protest outside the shop and were arrested alongside others who had ceased to actively protest, but were known to be 'part of the group'. Police have imposed bail conditions on some of those arrested on Saturday, although none of them have been charged with any offence.
Most people believe sex workers should not be criminalised. "Paying the Price", the first review of the prostitution laws for 50 years, hides the impact of the prostitution laws on women's and children's safety, protection and welfare, and makes way for more criminalisation. Sex workers and others discuss a response. See Paying the price of criminalisation - A response to the government consultation paper on prostitution by the English Collective of Prostitutes.
International Conference on prostitution, Saturday 4 December 9.30 - 6 pm St Mary's Church, Eversholt St.
An investigative journalist and NUJ member, Mansoor Hassan fled Pakistan two years ago. There as joint editor of an Urdu language magazine Crime, he exposed corruption and criminal activities amongst the business community and within the political establishment itself.
After implicating a senior politician in an honour killing Mansoor was shot at and his house was burned down. He exposed a company owned by the Minister of Agriculture that sold adulterated pesticides and substandard cottonseed to farmers, which led to his being beaten up and his family threatened by the secret services and the police. A known criminal shot at Mansoor after he wrote an article about him.
But the UK government, while accepting that Mansoor had been subjected threatened, attacked and shot at, described these experiences merely as “anxiety” and claimed that he would be “perfectly safe somewhere else in Pakistan” and that he was “not at any on-going risk”.
In Manchester Mansoor has worked as a volunteer with the British Red Cross and a refugee orientation programme.
Thirty people were arrested during Mayday, many of whom still have to sign on at police stations and many of whom are still being dragged through the courts. Supporters say they were made victims of media sensationalism and made scapegoats by the State in an attempt to justify draconian and military tactics deployed during Mayday in Dublin.
Related News: One of the four people who were surrounded by police and arrested at Kings Cross station [pics 1, 2] on Sunday Oct 17th on their way to the European Social Forum closing demonstration, walked free from court on Monday 17th Nov. The defendent returned from Greece to attend court, only to find the prosecution dropped the case, saying they would be providing no evidence to support the charges [see report].
The judge investigating the Aubonne Bridge case has concluded that any mistakes made by the police on the bridge were "understandable" because of the stress of the G8 summit taking place nearby, and that the activists shouldn't have put themselves in such a dangerous situation. The report states that it was the activists' fault that the police cut the rope from which two climbers were suspended, whilst blockading a delegation on their way to the G8 summit in Evian in May 2003. Despite being warned by activists on the blockade that there were people hanging from it, a policeman took a knife and cut the rope causing a 20 meter fall of Martin Shaw. Fortunately he survived, but was left with very severe injuries to his back, pelvis and foot. Gesine Wenzel on the other end of the rope was saved at the last moment as activists grabbed the other end of the rope. The judge's declaration, which took 18 months to produce, seems to have been written to give "carte blanche to the police to do whatever they want without fear for any legal consequences", the activist's Swiss lawyer said. [Report]
In response to the judge's decission, the climbers of the Aubonne Bridge Action entered the Chateau in Lausanne on Friday 12th November - the seat of the government of Vaud (Switzerland) - with a banner saying "Your cops are your responsibility!". The two activists, together with supporters and the press, asked the Conseil d'Etat to accept responsibility for the actions of their police force. [Report and Pic]
Martin Shaw and Gesine Wenzel still maintain their demands:
* Charges to be brought against both the policeman who cut the rope and his senior officer.
* Compensation for injuries and loss of earnings
Maelstrom is Leeds' squatted infoshop, located at the old Post Office in Hyde Park Corner. After three succesful weeks of events (read the story so far) a weekly schedule has been set. Regular events will include
Tuesdays: Reading Group from 7.30pm
Wednesdays: Cafe + Discussion and/or film
Thursdays: Subvertising Workshop from 6pm
For info on irregular events or if you are interested in holding an event @ maelstrom just keep checking indymedia or the front door.
Britain continues to hold 14 foreign nationals who have never been charged with any offence. The supposed evidence against them remains secret. They were never questioned by the police. They have not been put on trial.
These men are detained under the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001, which allows the Home Secretary to detain indefinitely any foreign nationals if he has 'reasonable suspicion' that they have links with 'international terrorism'. At hearings last year, the government acknowledged that some of the 'evidence' could have been obtained by torturing detainees elsewhere, e.g. Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.
On Sunday 3 October, around 100 people gathered outside Belmarsh Prison in south east London to protest against the indefinite internment of the 14 prisoners, and to demand the repeal of the UK's anti-terrorism laws. A wide range of people were present, from Muslim leaders to grass roots activists, incluiding Lawyers and anti-racism campaigners. A number of speeches were made, and an open microphone included poetry and music. Photos 1 | 2.