UK Social Struggles Feature Archive
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.
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].
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
Over the last week, the deportation of Hicham Yezza, now stayed to allow for a judicial review, has attracted a huge amount of attention. Whilst the circumstances surrounding Hich's initial arrest were unusual, in an increasingly anti-migrant political climate, the horrific way he has been treated by immigration authorities is all too common.
Amdani Juma, a Nottingham activist and a survivor from Burundi but whose appeal for Indefinite Leave to Remain was turned down by the Home Office on 5th December, was detained whilst reporting at Loughborough reporting centre on 30th May. He remains in detention and has received notice that his removal is set for Wednesday 4th June on Kenya Airways flight KQ101 (Terminal 4, Heathrow). Amdani's case has previously been reported on the Refugee Forum website.
Tragically, Amdani is not the only asylum seeker to have been abducted by the authorities this week. Nottingham and Notts Refugee Forum volunteer Jane Mary Mutets, was detained at Bridewell Police Station on Thursday 29th May. Concerned supporters fear she will also face deportation and expect her to be moved elsewhere by immigration authorities.
Newswire: Amdani Juma: Press Release | A demonstration in support of Amdani Juma Saturday 31st May @ 12.30 | Amdani detained, Jane-Mary detained yesterday | Nottingham Celebrates Mayday with Moazzam Begg | Sponsor Amdani Juma, Walking for Leicestershire AIDS Support | Jane Mary Mutetsi and Felicia Sakwe still here! | Jane Mary Mutetsi belongs to Nottingham
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.
On Tuesday May 6, anti-arms trade activists returned to the offices of small arms manufacturer Heckler & Koch, Nottingham Small Arms Facility, Unit 3, Easter Park, Lenton Lane, Nottingham NG7 2PX (map). Campaigners met at Abbey Bridge before marching to the office where they staged a protest. A similar event had been held at the same location in July last year.
Despite remaining entirely peaceful, the protest was heavily policed and campaigners were graced by the presence of a team of Evidence Gatherers from Nottinghamsire Police alongside PC Ian Skivens (CO5494) from the Metropolitan's Forward Intelligence Team (FIT) and PC Paul Mather (4551) from Staffordshire Police.
Upcoming Event: Heckler & Koch Campaign Meeting, Tuesday May 13, 8pm at the Sumac Centre. See article for more info.
Audio: as featured in #5 the June Show ~ Riseup! Radio
Newswire: Smash EDO interview | You can have your pigs back Boris | Surveillance at Demo at Heckler & Koch weapons manufacturers HQ in Nottingham | Demo at Heckler & Koch weapons manufacturers HQ in Nottingham | No arms trade - Shut Down Heckler & Koch! Demonstration Tuesday May 6th
Previous Feature: Protesters Target Nottingham Weapons Manufacturers
On Thursday May 1, local elections took place in various parts of the country. While the far-right British National party (BNP) did not do as well as they had hoped, they were able to win one seat on the London Assembly, meaning that a fascist is now one of the twenty-five people running London.
While they made no gains in Nottinghamshire (where there were elections in Bassetlaw, in which the BNP fielded only one candidate), in Derbyshire they got their first two seats on Amber Valley Borough Council with Chris Roper taking Heanor East and Lewis Allestree winning Heanor West. In Heanor & Loscoe Paul Snell polled 512 votes, to the victorious Labour candidates 513. These results, while worrying in themselves, are of particular interest because it is within the Amber Valley area that the BNP are planning on holding their annual Red, White and Blue festival.
Mayday has been celebrated in one form or another for thousands of years. Pagans marked the day as the end of the hardships of winter. Following the struggle amongst American workers for the eight hour day and the murder by the US state of four anarchists involved in that struggle in 1886, the day has come to be marked as International Workers' Day.
In Nottingham this year, there were two Mayday events, both organised by the Mayday Organising Committee, an off-shoot of the Nottingham Refugee Campaign Group. As has happened for the past few years, there was a march and rally, starting and ending at the Brewhouse Yard on the Saturday May 3. The second event was a public meeting held on May 1 itself, addressed by local asylum seeker Amdani Juma and former Guantanamo Bay detainee Moazzam Begg.
On April 24, teachers, further education lecturers and civil servants took coordinated national strike action against the public sector pay freeze. The decision by the National Union of Teachers (NUT) to call the first national teachers' strike in twenty-one years, attracted the most interest, but they were also joined by the University and Colleges Union (UCU) and the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS).
The strikes follow a central government directive to keep annual cost of living pay increases below 2% at a time when the Retail Price Index places inflation at over 4%, meaning in effect that public sector workers are expected to take a pay cut.
In Nottinghamshire, dozens of schools were closed by strike action, with many more partially closed. While their were few pickets of schools, there was a presence at a number of colleges and outside government offices in the city. A march from the Forest Recreation Ground to the Congregation Hall, Church Gate for a rally was well attended despite the inclement weather
Up to 200 squatters and supporters followed a call for an unauthorised demonstration in the city centre from Manchester's No Borders group. Accompanied by a samba band (Rhythms of Resistance) and two soundsystems mounted on bike trailers. "With the cops not bothering to show up, we marched undisturbed from Victoria Station into the Northern Quarter, along Market Street and Kings Street , through Spinningfields into Castlefields."
The lead banner read FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT FOR ALL - DEFEND AUTONOMOUS SPACES. Hundreds of copies of the Mesho were given out to passers by. The Mesho was a squat themed spoof news paper was also distributed in other participating cities.
The aim of the widespread action was is to develop interconnections and solidarity between autonomous spaces and help create more visibility for them as a political movement. In the UK the scale of the actions were extensive. Fuller coverage is here.
Also on the subject of immigration and fighting gentrification Check this upcoming event.
Movement for Justice in El Barrio is a grass roots organisation of immigrant communities fighting against gentrification in El Barrio (East Harlem) 7.30 pm Thursday 8th May 2008 at the Town Hall Tavern, Manchester - more info
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
Following an international meeting at 'Les Tanneries' in Dijon last year, there was a call out for decentralised actions in defence of free spaces on Friday 11th and Saturday 12th April. The aim is to develop interconnections and solidarity between autonomous spaces and help create more visibility for them as a political movement.
In Copenhagen things kicked off early with an huge demo in support of creating a new Ungdomshuset (Youth House). 5000 people took part followed by a massive street party. Since then all parties have agreed a deal on a new building. Last month, after a long struggle, there was similar good news for the campaign to save the Kopi in Berlin.
In the UK, new squats have opened in Bristol, Leeds, Brimingham, Nottingham [ 1 | 2 | 3 ], and London [ 1 | 2 ]. In Reading, the Common Ground Squatted Community Garden was reopened, in Manchester multiple spaces were invaded; the new space in Nottingham hosted workshops, films, discussion, zines, and free jumble stalls; London distributed events at different spaces, with a squatters estate agency and a program of workshops, films, discussion and art plus a benefit gig for the Advisory Service For Squatters. A squat themed spoof news paper was also been distributed in participating cities. Actions also took place against dodgy landlords exploiting asylum seekers.
All IMC coverage [RSS] : Birmingham (Freespace Brum - Temporary Autonomous Zone) | Leeds (Angel Group targetted) (A success in every way! Audacious Space Leeds) | London (Hackney hostel residents march) (Shoreditch New Squat Pics) (News from Londons autonomous spaces...) (Days Of Action Follow Up for London's Autonomous Spaces) (Putting people into London's empties) | Manchester (video) (A tale of 4 squats in Manchester) (Demonstration of squatters turns into mass occupation) (Pics of demo and mass action) (Space Invaded, and Evicted?) | Nottingham | Reading (Squatted Community Garden Reopened) | Brighton (video)
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]
On March 29 Zimbabwe went to the polls. The election was widely criticised with accusations of vote rigging, state orchestrated media bias and violent intimidation of opposition activists. The outcome was generally considered a foregone conclusion, which would have little to do with the opinions of most Zimbabweans and early indications are that these concerns were well placed, although events now seem to have taken a more complicated turn.
In Nottingham the Zimbabwean community used the election to draw attention to the situation in their country and camapaign against the threat of deportation which many Zimbabwean asylum seekers face. They organised a meeting at the Sumac Centre on March 28 and held at protest at Nottingham's new speakers corner on March 28.
Previous Features: Refugees In Need Of Community Protection? | Situation in the Congo is worsening as deportations continue | Nottingham Protest against Deportations to Northern Iraq (Kurdistan) :: Pictures
Nottingham City Council Chief Executive, Michael Frater, is to resign from the Council £230,000 better off after Councillors agreed the details of a pay-off earlier in the month. In spite of the Evening Post's attempts to present Frater as the hero, battling against evil Council Leader Jon Collins, some people aren't so sure.
Claims have been made that Frater engineered a series of confrontational situations in order to secure his departure. Whatever the truth of the matter, he has supported a number of highly expensive and unpopular projects during his time in Nottingham, including spending £52,000 on a beach party in Cannes to promote the city, £387,000 commissioning an instructional play for Council staff, £350,000 on turning the Market Square into an ice rink not to mention £25,000 on the dreaded library uniforms.
This is not to let Jon Collins or the rest of the council off the hook. When not trying to buy votes, Collins and co are busy closing public facilities for their corporate chums to start more profitable developments.
Previous feature articles: Library Staff Speak Out Against Uniforms and Management Bullying | Council Under Fire From Campaign To Save Leisure Centre | Nottingham City Council Silences Welfare Advice Row | Nottingham City Council Recycling .. .... Bottom of the Class again!
23-03-2008 22:12Since the new year, three new social centres opened in London. The first of those, known as RAMpart2 has already been left empty after the owners were granted an IPO. The new Hackney Social Centre has also lost its court case already and has an eviction date set for the 15th April 2008. There is also a new womens run social centre opened shortly before the international womens days, which also has its eviction date set for April.
On Thursday around 80 protesters marched around the University of Nottingham's campus to demand freedom of expression and an end to the University's repression of student activists.
The campaign was started following the arrest of a student at a Palestine solidarity protest on the campus in November last year. In spite of the University's deployment of undercover spies and a police cameraman, the mood was good and protesters recieved a warm reception from other members of the student body.
Newswire: Protestors demand freedom of expression at University | Freedom of Speech demonstration at Nottingham Uni | Heavy Handed Police Condemned Over Peaceful Protest | Arrest at Nottingham Uni over Palestine Protest
Nottingham City Council were under fire this week from campaigners trying to prevent the local authority from closing one of the city's oldest and most cherished public services, the Victoria Baths leisure centre. A move to rush the closure this spring has been greeted by uproar from local residents, who gathered for a protest at the Council House.
Over a hundred people mounted a vocal and insistent protest that the recently announced intention to force the closure is unacceptable for the residents of St Anns and Sneinton. Dozens of children from William Booth infant school, one of the schools who regularly use the pool for swimming lessons, bore placards they had drawn and coloured, and chanted 'we want swimming!'. The next demonstration is planned for Saturday 1st March, 11.30am in Market Square.
The hotly contested 'Caltongate' gentrification plan has been approved by city councillors on Wednesday, in a meeting that lasted over 10 hours. The two listed buildings will be demolished. Save Our Old Town protesters were present inside the meeting, and there was a demonstration outside the City Chambers all day. Campaigners vow to continue the struggle against this development, and plan to provoke a public enquiry.
[ full report | photos of demonstration | Save Our Old Town website | Independent Republic of Canongate | alternative strategy proposal by community forum | background article ]
Other older gentrification features: [ Edinburgh Tenants vote No to Stock Transfer | Save Meadowbank Stadium | Glasgow Resident Network takes to the streets | Midlothian council's destructive development plans | ACE under threat | Demolition Threat in Glasgow | Save the Cameo ]