Friday, 29 April 2011

GDC supporters followed after May Day March in Dundee

Supporters of FRFI and the GDC attended the May Day march in Dundee today.

After a noisy march - with groups such as Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! holding the new No Cuts - Full Stop! banner, Students Defending Dundee Schools (SDDS) and Defend Dundee Services adding to the volume - the crowd of 250 made their way into the City Square. A representative of the Glasgow Defence Campaign was invited to speak from the Dundee Trades Union Council platform and described to the crowd the ongoing attack on democratic rights in Glasgow. This condemnation of the actions of Strathclyde police was applauded by the crowd and the call to organise in defence of democratic rights and living standards was endorsed. Readers should note GDC supporters recognised officers who have been involved in political policing in Glasgow.

As the crowd dispersed GDC supporters were followed by up to 6 officers down to the entrance of the Wellgate Shopping centre. Exiting the opposite side of the mall the comrades sat down to plan how best to respond to this targetted and open political policing. Within two minutes two uniformed male officers appeared pointing out the supporters whilst talking into their walky talkies. The comrades made their way back into the shopping centre and contacted a local solicitor for advice.

Other anti cuts activists reported being followed by officers after the march as they made their way to a venue where an anti royal wedding party had been organised.

The GDC condemns the actions of Tayside police who have the same political objectives as their partners in Strathclyde; to crush opposition to the cuts. Dundee comrades have the solidarity of the GDC in their struggle against political policing.

We refuse to be intimidated or silenced! 

Anti cuts activists monitored by police

The Glasgow Defence Campaign has received reports from anti-cuts activists in recent days claiming that they have been followed by marked police cars.

On Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 April Dominic O'Hara - a supporter of FRFI and the GDC who was recently convicted on a framed up charge of police assault - informed the GDC that a police car repeatedly pulled up alongside him on
Victoria and Pollokshaws Road without asking him to stop. Earlier on in the week a younger supporter of FRFI reported being followed by a police car as he walked through Govanhill. No attempt was made by the officers inside the vehicle to stop the comrade in this instance either.

The GDC calls on people to be vigilant at all times. Do not commit petty offences - such as dropping litter - as this only gives the offending officers an excuse to harass. Overt and covert police surveillance of those who organise against the cuts will increase as opposition to the attack on living standards mounts. The GDC will work its up most to expose and oppose these intimidation tactics.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

GDC statement on collapse of case against anti cuts activists

Victory in Glasgow as case against anti cuts activists collapses!

In a significant victory for anti cuts activists in Glasgow today, charges against supporters of the Glasgow Defence Campaign and the Free Hetherington were dropped before they went before a judge at Glasgow Sheriff Court. The bail conditions which prohibited the five arrested last week from attending demonstrations of two or more people – a clear attack on human rights and free speech – were also withdrawn. GDC spokesperson Paul McKenna stated: ‘We welcome this news as a significant victory for all those opposed to the cuts and those fighting for democratic rights in Glasgow. In recent weeks we have witnessed first hand Strathclyde police along with the crown office and the judiciary working together to destroy effective opposition to the cuts in this city. We refuse to be intimidated, and we refuse to be criminalised.’

The GDC is clear that recent, heavy-handed police tactics are aimed at intimidating those involved in any growing anti cuts movement. Police behaviour has included purposefully delaying arrests and charges from 9 December, increasing door-stepping, engaging in illegal questioning, making illegal arrests, issuing threats, targeting teenagers and disrupting family life. All of this in order to increase pressures on supporters. By withdrawing the charges and draconian bail conditions the police and crown office hope that they are now free to continue acting with impunity and with their campaign of targeted harassment. The politically motivated bail conditions unilaterally imposed by Strathclyde police – an explicit example of political policing – were intended to disrupt effective organisation against the cuts. That the crown withdrew the cases prior to any judicial scrutiny reveals the true intentions of last week’s arrests.

The Glasgow Defence Campaign believes that this latest victory is a vindication of the open and democratic approach we have adopted in highlighting the attacks on legal protesters. Speaking at last week’s rally against police harassment McKenna stated: ‘The challenge before the anti cuts movement is to make the legal and political defence of those on the sharp end of police harassment and criminalisation central to the new movement. It will be necessary to alter the balance of political forces in favour of those opposed to cuts and in defence of free speech. We need to reach a stage where it cannot be claimed that it is in the public interest to give those people who stand for justice and in defence of living standards a criminal record for doing so.’

The GDC would like to take this opportunity to thank all our supporters for the messages of solidarity over recent days. A week of convictions, arrests and harassment ended with a successful rally of progressive forces in Glasgow city centre and the dropping of all issued charges. Defeat has been turned into victory. But we call for extra vigilance against complacency. The political police have not gone away. Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! supporters Dominic O’Hara and Jonathan Simons are still facing trials for taking part in anti cuts protests on 29 January and 9 December respectively. The GDC once more pledges its commitment to oppose all instances of political policing in Glasgow and elsewhere. We will continue the struggle to build a movement capable of resisting the government’s destruction of state welfare and the rights and living standards of millions across the country.

21 April, 18:00