Friday, 30 March 2012

Defending the right to defend Palestine

On Thursday 29 March, supporters of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! the Glasgow Defence Campaign, and other individuals held a successful static protest outside Marks & Spencer's, Sauchiehall Street Glasgow, in order to highlight the appalling treatment meted out against Palestinian political prisoners at the hands of the racist Israeli state – a state supported by the British government and its biggest Zionist corporate backers at Marks & Spencer's. Despite open invitations being given out – the left in Glasgow maintained their ongoing boycott of Palestine solidarity activity involving supporters of FRFI.

Had any of the Glasgow left bothered to turn up, they would have been able to witness at first hand the success of the Glasgow Defence Campaign eighteen-month-long campaign against police harassment. At 4.15pm, four officers from Strathclyde police, some of whom are known to GDC supporters, turned up to the protest and entered the Marks & Spencers store in order to speak to management and security. Upon leaving the store, all four officers quickly dispersed, without approaching or gaining any details of those participating in the protest. The Glasgow Defence Campaign has reason to believe that officers operating out of Stewart Street Police station are keen to avoid becoming ‘the next PC Hay’. Police Constable David Hay has gained infamy online,as one of those involved in harassing FRFI supporters at last years Scottishelection campaign, a video of which has become quite a hit – soaring to over 215,000hits at the last count.

Speaking today, Paul McKenna for the Glasgow Defence Campaign stated, ‘We welcome the fact that the police chose not to interfere with our political work, it has once again vindicated the open approach we have pursued – the police must come to understand that if they choose to harass us or attempt to intimidate us then they will be held publicly and legally accountable for their actions.’ In order to further highlight the need to oppose the criminalisation of politics the GDC are having a street rally on Saturday 31 March from 1- 3pm at the Donald Dewar Statue, top of Buchanan Street.

On Monday 2 April the GDC are once again holding a protest outside Glasgow District Court, from 9.30am, outside the first legal challenge in Scotland to the police tactic of kettling as a part of a trial against FRFI supporter Dominic O’Hara.

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