Monday, 31 October 2011

Trial of FRFI supporter finally underway!

The trial of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! supporter Joey Simons finally got underway today at Glasgow District Court, fully ten months after his targetted arrest on a student demonstration on 9 December alongside another FRFI supporter, Dominic O'Hara. The Glasgow Defence Campaign again provided support and bodies at the court, alongside friends and family members. The police and prosecution were left in doubt that their campaign of political intimidation, perjury and violence against socialists and anti-cuts activists will not be met with silence.

The trial of Joey Simons continues on 5 and 6 December. A full report of the day's events in court will follow shortly. Suffice to say that Constable David Hay (A80) - seen by over 33,000 people (unsuccessfully) harassing an FRFI supporter in May of this year - will not have enjoyed his day in court!

Friday, 28 October 2011

Fans Against Criminalisation protest in Glasgow

The Glasgow Defence Campaign will be supporting tomorrow's protest called by Fans Against Criminalisation (FAC) - assembling 12noon in George Square for a rally at 12.30pm. We welcome the growing opposition to the increasing criminalisation of football fans, political activists and people willing to stand up for their rights. In 2006, Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! (Glasgow) organised a successful campaign to oppose censorship and defend the right to distribute and display radical political literature and material at Celtic Park, including a ban on the image of Che Guevara. We urge our friends and supporters to join tomorrow's demonstration

We reproduce a statement from FAC below:

“Fans Against Criminalisation is a campaign group founded by five fan organisations (Green Brigade, Celtic Trust, Celtic Supporters Association, Affiliation of Celtic Supporters, Association of Irish Celtic Supporters Clubs). The campaign was formed on the back of the Green Brigade’s well-received protest at the Inverness game and after many previous discussions between the organisations about the Bill. We decided to come together to campaign against the Bill.

“Our objective is to ‘Kill the Bill’, the first part which deals with ‘offensive behaviour at football’ anyway. We have no problem with the government trying to tackle societal problems like sectarianism but these are not football’s problems alone and where sectarian crimes are committed then existing laws can be used to arrest and prosecute offenders. The new law goes far beyond sectarianism and captures anything that may offend or may cause disorder. This is only applied to football fans and it is ludicrous given that there is little or no disorder in Scottish football grounds and that routine aspects of football rivalry and tribalism will now be criminal offences. Government ministers have said fans who do anything from blessing yourself to singing a national anthem could fall foul of the proposes new law.

“The Government has shown little interest in fans’ views on the Bill. F.A.C. will be campaigning vigorously over the coming weeks and months and will be making our views heard. If the Bill passes then we will continue to protest against it, and challenge it legally and politically. The Celtic support is a very powerful potential constituency and the Scottish Government should be mindful of that.

“The rally is the starting point for the campaign. We need Celtic fans to get along and show their support for the campaign and add weight to our voice. We’ve asked people to assemble at 12.00 and the demo will start at 12.30 with speakers from the campaign. There’s no headline acts – Saturday is simply a time for ordinary Celtic fans to come together and unite against the Bill; a time to come together and send a message to the politicians that we will fight them all the way. Everyone should be doing their best to get along to George Square on Saturday and say no to the Bill.”

Armed police raid Kurdish tent at Occupy LSX

We reproduce below a statement from Fitwatch on last night's armed raid on the Kurdish tent at Occupy LSX by the Metropolitan police. The Glasgow Defence Campaign issues its full solidarity to the Kurdish community and its proud tradition of working-class and anti-imperialist struggle, consistently criminalised by the British state as a result. We call on the Occupations to stand fully with those attacked, and to prepare for the inevitable attempts to evict and divide the ongoing fight against global inequality.


Last night, the Kurdish tent at the OccupyLSX camp was raided by armed police following an alleged tip off of a gun being present. They searched the tent for over half an hour unsurprisingly finding nothing.
The Kurdish community has long been criminalised, and labelled as terrorists for their attempts to oppose and draw attention to the repression they face in Turkey, and this is another attempt to frighten and intimidate the Kurdish community coming just a month after the Halkevi Turkish and Kurdish Community Centre in Hackney was raided. However, given the Kurdish community is used to standing up to thugs with guns they are not easily intimidated.
However, the fact armed police were sent to raid the tent of Kurds supporting OccupyLSX is extremely worrying, and must be opposed. To the more cynically minded this could be seen as an attempt to split support for and amongst protesters, and we hope the Kurdish protesters are receiving full support and solidarity from those at OccupyLSX.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Another day, another delay: political courts and cops yet again

On 13 October, Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! supporter Dominic O´Hara appeared once again in front of a judge at Glasgow District Court, the latest in a long line of court appearances for FRFI activists over the past year of political harassment, arrests and trials. Fifteen supporters held a protest outside the court, standing with the banner of the Glasgow Defence Campaign (Don´t panic – organise!) and distributing leaflets to the many working class people coming and going through the revolving doors of sham Scottish justice.

To illustrate the GDC´s point, after a leaflet found its way into the hands of a Strathclyde police officer, back-up was radioed in, a police van shortly arrived, the contents of the leaflet discussed and by the time supporters left the court the police van, a police car with its lights flashing and upwards of six officers were on the street outside. Such are the dangers of peaceful protest in Glasgow!

Inside the courtroom itself, packed out by GDC supporters, the political targeting continued. As the defence solicitor began to address Judge Christie and ask for Dominic to be admonished after nine months on bail since being arrested on a student protest in December, the Procurator Fiscal (prosecutor) interrupted. A piece of paper was suddenly produced claiming that the defendant had committed a breach of the peace in April, while on bail. This outrageous fabrication was a clear attempt to secure a more serious sentence against an activist the police and the Crown would love to see remanded in custody.

In reality, Dominic, two other FRFI activists and two young students were subjected to targeted house raids and arrests by Strathclyde police after Dominic was found guilty of a framed-up charge of police assault on 11 April. The pretext for this was a supposed breach of the peace at a Vodafone shop during the December protests for which Dominic had already stood trial. In a clear breach of the Human Rights Act, all those arrested were only released on an “undertaking” that they did not enter the city centre or “assemble with two or more people for the purposes of a demonstration”. After the GDC organised a militant demonstration against political policing, all charges were dropped.

The disruptive tactics of the Fiscal resulted in sentencing again being deferred for another four weeks, prolonging a process which has already dragged on for almost one year. The entire justice system is designed to wear out and demoralise those who have the temerity to fight back and maintain their innocence – above all those charged for advancing working-class politics. Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! and the Glasgow Defence Campaign will continue providing solidarity to all those targeted for organising in defence of the people and ensuring that there will be no business as usual for the suited and uniformed servants of the British ruling class.

Court protests – no to political policing!
Monday 31 October, 10am
Glasgow District Court
Trial of FRFI supporter

Monday 10 November
Glasgow District Court
Sentencing of FRFI supporter

Monday 19 December
Glasgow District Court
Trial of FRFI supporter

Monday, 10 October 2011

No Let Up In Political Courts!

Following the adjournment of the trial of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! (FRFI) and Glasgow Defence Campaign (GDC) supporter Dominic O’Hara on Friday 7 October he now faces sentencing for another framed charge – also police assault – which he was convicted of on 11 April 2011. The outstanding charge relates to an anti-cuts protest on 29 January 2011 and the latter conviction and sentencing to a student protest on 9 December 2010; both were in Glasgow City Centre. The word of Strathclyde police officers is the only supporting evidence that an assault took place in each case.

With corruption exposed to the highest levels of the police in recent months we ask on what basis can the word of officers be trusted as ‘credible and reliable’ as they were by Judge Alan Finlay in April when Dominic was found guilty? The answer is on no basis! Police are renowned in the legal profession and amongst the general public for their corruption and dishonesty when it comes to convicting defendants and victims (dead or alive) for charges that depend on their word. The recent murder of Mark Duggan in London, which sparked unrest across England, and the fabricated lies that followed it, claiming that he shot at officers, is evidence that police lie and kill with enthusiasm and a long list of victims of police killings and cover ups can be added to this list – Blair Peach, Joy Gardner, James Ashley, Harry Stanley, Jean Charles de Menezes, Ian Tomlinson, Smiley Culture to name but a few…No officers convicted despite a treasure trove of evidence against them.

Dominic is committed to the fight in defence of living standards and democratic rights. For this reason he has been targeted by Strathclyde police alongside other FRFI, Scottish Socialist Party and Free Hetherington occupation supporters. We ask that all people opposed to the cuts and political policing attend his sentencing this Thursday 13 October, 2pm, to show solidarity but equally to display our opposition to the ongoing attack on living standards and criminalisation of protest.
Join the court protest!

Glasgow District Court, 1.30 - 2pm
St Andrews St (off Saltmarket)
Bring banners opposing the cuts and political policing and courts!

Where there is injustice there will be resistance!
We demand the truth and the dropping of all charges now!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Court update: Another trial adjourned, 7 October latest

The trial of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! and Glasgow Defence Campaign supporter Dominic O'Hara has once again been adjourned today. Dominic faces charges relating to an anti-cuts protest in Glasgow city centre on 29 January 2011, where upon leaving the protest he was arrested in a vigilante style operation by Strathclyde Police and detained for 54 hours prior to his court appearance on a framed up charge of police assault.    

Crown prosecutors have been repeatedly asked by Dominic’s defence team for the official procedure of Strathclyde police in to the practice known as 'kettling’, a form of indiscriminate crowd control and detention, but have failed to disclose the policy. Today the crown claimed that no CCTV existed of the alleged assault (despite it being in the heart of the city centre with CCTV cameras in the proximity) and opposed the defence motion to adjourn wishing to proceed to trial immediately. This was thrown out, and new dates were set for trial.    

The GDC have lodged our concerns with our legal advisors and are clear that the reason that no CCTV has been found of the assault is because one did not take place! We are positive that CCTV footage will exist to show this to be true. As we saw on the 11 April 2011 when Dominic was found guilty of a framed charge of police assault the cops word in the non-jury Glasgow District Court is 'credible and reliable' whilst anyone who disputes their claims is deemed to be a ‘liar’.    

Political charges in political courts must be fought with a political defence! We say to the Crown drop the made up charges now and Strathclyde Police hands off protest!    

The new dates are:  

Intermediate diet: 
Tuesday 29 November 2pm, Court 5     

Trial Diet: 
Monday 19 December 10am, Court 6     

Both in: 
Glasgow District Court (also known as the Justice of the Peace Court) 
St. Andrews St (off Saltmarket)

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

STUC March 1 October: What Did We Learn?

Saturday's ‘People First’ march organised by the Scottish Trades Union Congress once again saw the bullies of Strathclyde police harass, intimidate and detain protestors. This is nothing new. The real lessons and significance of the day’s events lay in the people’s response to this political policing. 

From the start our No Cuts, Full Stop! contingent, organised by supporters of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! (FRFI) and the Glasgow Defence Campaign, called for the defence of democratic rights and was subject to surveillance. Our open megaphone event in Glasgow Green was used to publicise the upcoming trials and sentencing of our supporters, highlight the complicity of the Labour Party in implementing the cuts and show the need for anti-imperialist politics in any movement opposing austerity in Britain. Officers were assigned to stare at us.  After the arrival of a heavily policed student feeder march the main event began.

Stalked by officers – one, PC Prentice, who was involved in the framed conviction of an FRFI and GDC supporter in April – on either side and with lively youth from the Coalition of Resistance (COR) behind us we set off. With chants calling for an end to political policing and Glasgow’s Labour City Council we passed the City Chambers and George Square. Regrettably the COR failed to take up either of the chants and confined their rhetoric to purely anti ConDem government slogans. Despite an incursion by officers into the march at this point no skirmishes broke out and the march remained peaceful.

The further the march moved up St. Vincent street the tighter the police closed ranks on protestors. People were warned for speaking out against political policing and COR supporters were taken to the side of the march and told to keep their contingent under control. It became clear that officers were intent on provoking a response from protestors in order to arrest people and thus shut down any criticism of their repressive role after they manhandled a 14 year old girl for “not moving in”.

Aware of the underlying aim of the police our contingent resisted provocation but defended our right to free speech and carried on our chants against the cuts and political policing. The "antagonistic chant" – ‘Strathclyde Police Hands Off Protest!’ - was a thorn in the officers sides and so led by Inspector Alan Bowater  - Badge no. G 20 - of Aikenhead Road Police Station they decided to take the law into their own hands and detain one of our supporters outside Cranstonhill Police Station, 945, Argyle St. This was not the first time our comrade Dominic O’Hara has been targeted on anti-cuts protests and neither is it the first time we have crossed paths with Inspector Bowater. On Saturday 13 August 2011 Bowater and his cronies from Cathcart police station attempted to shut down an FRFI anti cuts stall in Govanhill. He demanded details of an organiser despite having no legal basis for doing so (see harassment log). Under threat of arrest a selected FRFI steward gave his details but made no further compromises ensuring that the stall went ahead.

In similar fashion Bowater questioned and demanded details off Dominic without naming an offence he had committed. Note he was overheard telling his officers not to arrest the FRFI steward who had successfully stood up to him on the 13 August in Govanhill  - he wanted easier prey. His revenge on the GDC was cut short however as the marchers decided it was their turn to close ranks on the cops! The bullies now felt what a kettle was like from the inside! They did not like it and were forced by the determination of the marchers to free the innocent comrade and back down in a humiliating retreat. People power 2 – Bowater and Strathclyde police - 0!

As we anticipated would happen officers once again led by Bowater trailed behind our contingent and attempted to encircle us in Kelvingrove Park at the end of the march. In fear of being picked off and arrested, as happened to Dominic on 29 January 2011 after leaving a protest with a small group, we raised the alarm and made the rest of the marchers aware of what was going on, including human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar and STUC Assistant Secretary, Dave Moxham, (Moxham gave us no support and dangerously advised people to leave Kelvingrove park individually! Such characters do not face political policing at present and so cannot be relied upon for advice on how to confront it or even for support against it).

Once again in the spirit of solidarity individual supporters of COR and a few others helped to form a group of witnesses to leave the area with FRFI and GDC supporters who experienced no further problems. COR supporters were also questioned in the park at the end after the march but the GDC does not have the details of what was said. If anyone knows please send details to and we can publicise.

Although the victory was ours on Saturday we must not be complacent. Despite various humiliations and botched operations (Free Hetherington eviction 22 March, Strathclyde University arrests 2 June…) the cops appear to be getting bolder in clamping down on dissent. Therefore we must learn the political and practical lessons from Saturday for future protests. (1) Maximum unity, solidarity and communication is required between progressive people and groups in the event that police attempt to isolate and arrest someone/people before, during or after a protest or march (2) Do not be provoked into action justifying your arrest but firmly and calmly defend your right to free speech and demand the support of others in this fight (3) Take the badge numbers, names and stations of offending officers you wish to report to the GDC or lawyers. See GDC legal briefing for further details of dealing with cops.

As was stated at an FRFI meeting on 1st September 2009 titled ‘economic recession and police repression’;

The right to organise political protest is being rapidly eroded. Marches are banned as they were in Scotland during the Irish hunger strike in the 1980s. Left-wing newspaper sellers are harassed and arrested. Street meetings are attacked. Marches, especially those involving black youth, are attacked by the police. The courts are used to remand 'troublesome' people for months on end, to deny legal aid to those attacked by police, to pass punitive sentences against those daring to oppose police repression. As yet this repression is concentrated against the small forces of opposition. But as soon as these forces grow then so too will this openly political policing.’

Lets get organised for the battles ahead!

Court protests against political policing!
Trial of FRFI supporters Dominic O'Hara and Joey Simons
Friday 7 and Monday 31 October, from 9.30am
Outside Glasgow District Court,
St. Andrews Street, Glasgow (just off Saltmarket)

Sentencing of FRFI supporter Dominic O'Hara will take place on Thursday 13 October, 2pm, at the same court. This is for a framed up charge and conviction of police assault relating to the 9 December 2011student protest in Glasgow City Centre. Supporters will be gathered outside the court from 1.40pm.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Strathclyde Police - Back Off!

The Glasgow Defence Campaign condemns the open political policing that was employed on yesterday’s Scottish Trades Union Council march from Glasgow Green to Kelvingrove Park. Throughout the march people were harassed and stalked by lines of officer’s intent on provoking a response from the peaceful protestors. Coalition of Resistance supporters were taken aside by officers and warned to behave, IRSP Alba and John Brady Society followers were questioned for flying a Starry Plough flag  and a Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! and Glasgow Defence Campaign supporter, who has been targeted on previous protests, was manhandled by officers off the march for condemning political policing as the march passed Cranstonhill Police Station, 945, Argyle St

The following video captures the scenes as the arrest took place only for him to be de-arrested due to the popular will of the protestors.  

The GDC sends its solidarity to the people who left the march and successfully secured our supporters release. As the targeted comrade said after re-joining the march 'a victory for one is a victory for all!'

A full report of the day’s events is to follow so please subscribe to and spread the word about our blog. If anyone experienced political policing on yesterday’s march send the details to and we can publicise the incidents.

The times they are ‘a’ changing,

Don't Panic - Organise!