Friday, 1 April 2011
More police harassment in Glasgow
The GDC has today learned of further harassment endured by supporters of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! in Glasgow on 31 March 2011. The two were stopped in a car on George Square at 12.15pm upon leaving a demonstration outside Glasgow City Chambers in solidarity with the workers, service users and supporters of the Dalmornock Accord centre in the city’s East End. A heavy police presence was in place for those condemning the Labour city council’s appalling decision to demolish the centre in order to build an access road for the Commonwealth Games in 2014. The council is refusing to fund a replacement, citing the ‘economic climate’, while handing over millions to private developers and land speculators.
The two FRFI supporters were detained by eight officers from Strathclyde Police and questioned in the back of a police van marked SF58 KPY. Some of the officers are Crown witnesses in an ongoing criminal prosecution case against one the activists for participating on the anti cuts protests in Glasgow on 9 December 2010. The GDC regards the questions as an unlawful attempt to interfere with witnesses and a report of the incident has been lodged with our legal advisors.
We would like to take this opportunity to remind Strathclyde police that they can only demand the identity details of people suspected of committing or witnessing an alleged offence. This was a point that the officers (All A-Division) 128, 115, 192, 116, 123, 486, 472, 319 seem to be unaware of. When asked on what legal basis details were being requested against one FRFI supporter, the response was aggressive – stating that the offence was not providing details when requested. This is simply not the law. We would suggest some form of elementary police practice training for the officers involved in this latest instance. The same supporter was threatened ‘with the jail’ for an apparent breach of the peace in the back of the police van, for simply asking reasonable questions.
The GDC now regard officers from Stewart Street as out of control. The detention and questioning took place in the middle of the day in the centre of Glasgow without lawful basis. The pretence for this was to ascertain whether one of the FRFI supporters was ‘allowed to be’ in the city centre, despite the bail condition requiring him to stay out of the city centre being overturned over three months ago, and officers from Stewart Street being fully aware of this.
It is primarily officers from Stewart Street who have been involved in the ongoing harassment and political policing the GDC has logged on this page. One can only wonder about the conduct of these officers with other people, vulnerable or otherwise, and how they behave out of the public eye and behind closed doors.
The GDC is urging people to remain vigilant when attending demonstrations, and in particular leaving demonstrations, given the increased police activity described here. We remind everyone it is not a crime to oppose cuts, it’s not a crime to protest, it’s not a crime to engage in public assembly, it’s not a crime to speak out against injustice, these are our rights and they must be defended; they are under attack. It’s time resistance was built.
Glasgow Defence Campaign
PRO 1 April 2011