Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Supporter Dominic O'Hara on trial in District Court

On 19 December Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! and Glasgow Defence Campaign supporter Dominic O’Hara appeared in Glasgow District Court on framed charges of police assault  and breaking through a police kettle on 29 January 2011. The comrade has already been found guilty of a framed charge of police assault this year.

At the court Dominic’s solicitor lodged a devolution minute questioning the use of police kettling, and the snatch squad style of arrest which took place, sighting that European Convention Rights articles 8 (right to respect for his private and family life) and 10 (right to freedom of expression) had been violated. The police have sought to justify their criminal actions with this Scottish Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) document ‘Manual of guidance on keeping the peace 2010’ which we urge all readers to take a closer look at. 

The trial will not go ahead until a debate on Thursday 12th January, 2pm, and investigations have taken place. Details will be posted on the blog and we call on people who wish to oppose the criminal use of kettling and the ongoing attack on democratic rights and living standards to make it down. 

The GDC is clear; it is testimony to the consistent work of FRFI and the GDC that our activists have been targeted by Strathclyde police. We have opposed and exposed the attack on living standards and democratic rights on the streets (where it matters!) over the last year. We do not intend to let our guard down as we come into the new year. GDC supporters were monitored by two vans full of officers on entering and leaving the court after Dominic’s trial. We see this intimidation as directly linked to the victory of FRFI and GDC supporter Joey Simons in court last week and the increasing notoriety of the GDC’s work. 

We say to PC’s Grant Hay, Douglas Forrest, John Carter and PCs Scott and Quinn, exposed as liars before a court of GDC supporters last week, and the upper echelons of Strathclyde Police hands off protest and our day will come! The people’s court finds you guilty of framing charges against progressive activists and attacking the right to protest!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Court protest against political policing!

On Monday 12 December, Strathclyde police and the Crown office were humiliated as a Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! activist was acquitted on five charges relating to a protest in December. It was a vindication of the struggle waged by the Glasgow Defence Campaign against the criminalisation of political activity. It showed that if you fight - you can win. 

This coming Monday the GDC is again calling on all progressives, socialists and democrats to attend a picket at Glasgow District Court in solidarity with Dominc O'Hara, another FRFI supporter who has consistently faced police harassment over the past year. He is facing framed-up charges of police assault relating to an anti-cuts protest in Glasgow on 9 January 2011. 

We must demand solidarity and unity in face of the ruling class's onslaught on both living standards and democratic rights. While they destroy basic services and loot and plunder their way across the world, young working class people are jailed and brutalised for posts on Facebook. 

Head down to the court and put the shameless lies of the cops under the scrutiny they deserve!

Monday, 12 December 2011

Victory! Statement on acquittal of FRFI activist.

‘The law is simply and solely made for the exploitation of those who do not understand it or of those who, for naked need, cannot obey it.’ Bertolt Brecht

Over one year of relentless campaigning by the Glasgow Defence Campaign was vindicated today as Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! supporter Joey Simons was found not guilty on all five charges relating to his arrest on an anti-cuts demonstration on 9 December 2010. Through twelve months of court appearances, and a trial lasting four days, the Crown office was unable to spin the shameless lies of Strathclyde police officers into a web of deceit sufficient to secure a prosecution by Sherriff Kerr. Cops lined up one after another to perjure themselves in front of the court, their ‘evidence’ concocted in concert and dutifully despatched; their well-rehearsed stories of rescue attempts, ‘threats to officer safety’, conspiratorial leaders, and ‘frantic’ crowds repeated again and again.

Fortunately, their contempt for the truth was matched only by their incompetency and idiocy, and in the end the police were undone by their wilder fabrications, systematically disproved by the defence team. Today has been a welcome humiliation for the officers, sergeants and chief inspectors of Stewart Street police station, and one they will not forget in a hurry. We in turn shall not forget the individuals responsible: PC’s Grant Hay, Douglas Forrest, John Carter and PCs Scott and Quinn.

Speaking outside the court, Miriam Kelly, a spokesperson for the Glasgow Defence Campaign, stated that the victory was ‘a significant setback for the attempts to criminalise political protest being led by the Crown Office and Strathclyde police. Throughout the past year we have stood firm inside and outside of these court rooms in order to assert the right to protest and organise in the face of the cuts and attacks on the working class. The criminals in this case are all those officers who chose to perjure themselves – and yet none will face consequences for doing so. We would ask what type of justice system is this when such abuses of law go unpunished?’

As the verdict was read out in Glasgow, the brutality of ruling class justice revealed itself in Dundee as two young teenagers, pleading guilty to breaches of the peace, were sentenced to three years imprisonment for posting messages on Facebook regarding a riot that never existed. This is the reality which we must face. The pleasantries of liberalism are being dispensed with long before any serious challenge to austerity emerges; the maxim of General Frank Kitson that the ‘genuinely subversive elements’ must be ruthlessly isolated before they become effective has not been forgotten. The machinery of state repression is carefully designed and well-oiled, and can be turned on or off at will. Today proved what the GDC has been clear about from the start: the only way to meet political attacks is through a political defence.

Such victories are only won through unity and solidarity, and the GDC would like to place on record our sincere thanks to our solicitor and the dozens of supporters who have stood by us in recent days and months at countless court appearances. In particular, the Revolutionary Communist Group, Save the Accord campaign, Scotland Against Criminalising Communities, individuals from the Scottish Socialist Youth, the Glasgow Palestine Human Rights Campaign and other non-aligned activists. Nevertheless, the time has come for us to state publicly that for all the rhetoric about defending the right to protest, the left has singularly failed in its most basic of duties. It is necessary to name names: the Socialist Workers Party, the International Socialist Group, the Communist Party, the Scottish Socialist Party…all have failed to attend a single court picket in a conscious and deliberate boycott of the GDC. This refusal to support the campaign leaves others open to attack. We are moving into a dangerous period where such sectarianism has no place, and we hope to work with all progressive forces in the future.

To the Crown Office and Strathclyde police we say this: any attempt to interfere with our rights and criminalise us will be met with further defiance and resistance. These forces can expect the humiliation they suffered today to be repeated and the campaign will now be pursuing civil action against the police.

Glasgow Defence Campaign
12 December 2011, 23:00

Monday, 21 November 2011

Shop Every Cop!

After the social explosion across England in August the British state has sought to strengthen it’s already overwhelmingly militarised and well equipped police force. In the last week Glasgow Defence Campaign supporters have witnessed the British police in action. On Saturday 19 November police officers walked into the Unite the Union offices in Glasgow City Centre and warned electricians, facing vicious pay cuts, to restrict their march to the pavement or face the consequences. 

On Monday 21 November we watched as more than 40 officers were mobilised against a static protest of around 30 people opposing the recent dawn raids of two asylum-seeking families in Glasgow. The direct action taken by protestors to block the front gates to the Home office sign on centre at Brand Street in Ibrox was entirely peaceful (and a great success!).

If you see political policing in action send a report with a picture to our email and we can publicise it. 

Defending democratic rights will be key to any struggle against austerity and racism.

We say: shop every cop!