Thursday, 28 June 2012

Loose Lips Sink Ships!

FRFI supporter Dominic O’Hara was harassed by two officers of Strathclyde police (Badges G480 and G383) tonight whilst petitioning at Lidl supermarket on Victoria Road in Govanhill, 7pm, against the targeting of disabled people for welfare cuts. One of the officers, PC Willie Neil, who led harassment of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! supporters in Govanhill during the summer 2010, when attempts were made to ban the newspaper Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! and charge those selling it with street trading offences, made the political nature of this harassment clear.
Govanhill Defence Campaign
The original GDC in 2010
After demanding a leaflet and asking the comrade what he was petitioning against (‘the cuts’) the officers repeatedly stood around the comrade while PC Neil stated the following ‘we know where you live’, ‘have you got a street traders licence to sell that newspaper?’, ‘am I going to have to seize those newspapers off you’, ‘you know there’s a warrant out for you’, ‘in ten years’ time you will look back at this and be embarrassed’, 'aren't the cuts to the police terrible?'. The two officers also demanded the details of the comrade but as they were incapable of stating a crime he had committed or witnessed they failed to obtain these.

The Glasgow Defence Campaign will be contacting our legal representatives in response to this latest instance of harassment. As the comrade correctly stated a little while after the incident; ‘as the cuts get deeper political policing will increase’.

We must seize the day!
Defend Free Speech!
Oppose police harassment of anti cuts protest!
Fight the cuts!

Monday, 18 June 2012

Police racism and harassment

The Glasgow Defence Campaign condemns the latest actions of Strathclyde police in facilitating fascist Scottish Defence League (SDL) thugs out to intimidate and attack a solidarity demonstration with refugees facing eviction, destitution and deportation in Glasgow on 16 June 2012. We have logged the incident on our police harassment log and reproduce below an eye witness account of Saturdays events from the following blog - We encourage people to write up their accounts of the day’s events and all interferences with the right to protest and send it to us at this blog – 

The demo itself was excellent.  Despite many asylum seekers being too frightened to turn up, in case UK Border Agency officials attended the demo and tried to seize them, around 400 asylum seekers and their supporters marched through Glasgow demanding an end to the raids, detentions and deportations.  We had also gained information that the North West Infidels, a bunch of knuckle dragging English racists, had threatened the demo.  While the speeches following the demo continued, Strathclyde police moved in, instructing people to move off the Square threatening to use the Public Order Act to move people if they refused to leave.  With vulnerable asylum seekers and a number of children in the area, there was little choice but to comply, and people moved on, concluding the rally early.  An elderly man, who didn’t move fast enough for the police’s liking was arrested for breach of the peace as he stood in the middle of Glasgow’s main public square.  And why were they so keen to clear the square?  So that it could be given over to racists and fascists.

Within minutes of moving off refugees and their supporters from the square, police marched in a group of 25-30 white men holding up banners, which in and of themselves constituted incitement to racial hatred, to shout their racist hate.  A few police dotted around the group, while the majority of police encircled the square, insisting that people must not enter.  A young Asian woman who attempted to enter the square was shouted at and manhandled by police who threatened her with arrest, before moving a group of Asian youth, not just off the square, not just off the pavement surrounding the square, but down into side roads well away from the centre of Glasgow, while the supporters of refugees were held in a tight kettle in a corner on the edge of the square.
Fascists protected at Queens St station
After 15-20 minutes, the racists then left the square, accompanied by the police who then left them free to roam the streets of Glasgow in the full knowledge that only 30 minutes before there had been a gathering of asylum seekers in the very same area, while keeping anti-fascists and refugee supporters kettled at the other end.  When the kettle was finally ended, the police then stopped people moving off towards the main shopping area, continually telling them that they were free to leave, while instructing them repeatedly that they could not go that way, nor that way, nor that way either, threatening arrest under Section 17 of the Police Act (Scotland), if people did not comply with their directions.  It was at this point that a second activist got arrested when he asserted his right to walk along a main street in Glasgow.

Meanwhile, the racists had regrouped in Buchanan Street between the Palestine Human Rights Campaign Stall, which they had previously attacked in November last year, and the Communist Party stall which they had attacked in January.   Knowing that the Palestine stall had been a prior target, a small number of anti-fascists who had managed to avoid the kettle had made their way there to protect it, as others finally managing to escape from the repressive policing also made their way down.

A lone policeman on a bike had been stationed there, despite the prior violent attacks from the group that had just been let loose to roam the streets causing mayhem.  As tensions became heated between the racists and the anti-fascists, the police appeared en masse and re-kettled the racists in a side street, eventually parading them down Buchanan Street.  Allowing them to spew their bile all the way down one of Glasgow’s main shopping streets, all the while telling people that countering them was “making their job harder” and “was not helpful“.  Two more refugee supporters were arrested just after the racists were moved off, under a Breach of the Peace charge, for shouting at the scum.

Serious questions must be asked in the light of the events of yesterday.  Political policing in Glasgow is totally out of control.  We are seeing continual arrests under broad ranging legislation for nothing more serious than shouting, refusing to move from a public square when ordered to do so, and attempting to walk down a public street.  On a number of occasions people were told that they were being moved on, or prevented from walking where they wished “for their own safety“.  If the streets and public squares of Glasgow are unsafe for people to enter, then it is the job of the police to make those streets safe, not to prevent people entering them on threat of arrest.

Political activists in Glasgow are seeing increasing harassment at the hands of Strathclyde police. Arrests made on dubious grounds; police turning up at people’s doors to instruct them where they may and may not go; stop and searches being conducted as a means of intimidation and harassment of peaceful protesters.  The Glasgow Defence Campaign has been logging just some of these incidents.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

"Business as usual" as more arrests in Glasgow

The Glasgow Defence Campaign reproduces the below message from Scotland Against Criminalising Communities on the arrests at today's demonstration in Glasgow in solidarity with asylum seekers facing eviction and destitution. Once again Strathclyde police demonstrated their commitment to political policing, using Public Order legislation to disrupt a peaceful protest in defence of the most under-attack community in the city, while simultaneously protecting fascist and racist elements in a clear provocation. Reports indicate that four anti-fascists were arrested and an emergency demonstration called outside Stewart Street police station. 

The GDC once again urges everyone present today who witnessed the police behaviour record a statement and contact the campaign. Such blatant political attacks must be met with a unified political response: End police harassment! Release those arrested! Fascists off our streets! Solidarity with asylum seekers

Great demo, marred by cops protecting the fascists

"Fantastic Refugees Are Welcome Here Demo. 1000 people from many countries and all walks of life, a dozen union banners, all the churches there and great delegations from Birmingham, Sheffield and Manchester!
Disgrace that the police threatened to use Public Order Act to disperse our Rally prematurely on the grounds of public safety and then sneakily marched 20 sdl/bnp into George Sq for 15 mins.
There will be an official complaint about their decision to facilitate these racists /fascists walking through the city when they should have been removed immediately.
A brilliant day and big thanks to all who came and marched.
This is just the start!"
Comment from SACC
The presence on the demo of many asylum-seekers potentially vulnerable to police harassment was no doubt in the minds of the march organisers when they decided not to resist the police threat. Without that factor, we would have been entirely within our rights to call the police bluff and see if they were really willing to arrest peaceful demonstrators, MSPs and trade union leaders.
The behaviour of the police was scandalous. We all need to consider whether "business as usual" can continue with Strathclyde police under these circumstances. 
SACC is one of the organisations that gave its official support to the "Refugees Welcome Here" demo. We will give the firmest possible support to any complaint made to Strathclyde Police over these events.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

British Security Forces harass Scottish and English solidarity with Irish Republican Prisoners

The Glasgow Defence Campaign is reproducing a statement from members of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement (32CSM) based in Britain, The Gaughan/Stagg Cumann, following the mass detention of their members at English and Scottish ports on the evening of 27 and morning of 28 May 2012. The GDC sends solidarity to the comrades and would like to state our opposition to this harassment, the ongoing abuse and imprisonment of Irish Republicans, such as Marian Price, and indeed the British Imperialist occupation of the North of Ireland itself.

Free Marian Price Now!
Defend the right to protest!

Public Statement

The Gaughan/Stagg Cumann condemn the mass arrest of its members, while traveling back from Belfast for the Free Marian Price march. The arrest covered ports in England and Scotland in what was a planned operation involving in excess of fifteen security officers which included MI5.

Our members were approached by officers who identified themselves as Special Branch and M15; some members were detained from three to eight hours. Two members were subject to cavity searches; all were asked questions about the 32CSM in England and the names of members. Some members were presented with historical information regarding their contact with Irish POW’s in an attempt to give the illusion of an investigation into that person’s background. Our members have been issued with the details of legal representatives to record this blatant harassment and protect themselves against any further unwanted approaches. Republicans and their families should remain vigilant given the resources that the British state are willing to deploy.

The Gaughan/Stagg Cumann condemn this incident and would like to state that these dirty tactics adopted by the British security services will not deter us in Scotland, England, Ireland or anywhere else for that matter from highlighting the plight of Republican prisoners. We will continue our campaign to promote our lawful, peaceful challenge to Britain’s ongoing denial of Irish National Sovereignty.

We also urge all Cumann to report these approaches to their Cumann and a legal representative.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Strathclyde Police, the real threat to public order this weekend

Progressive activists ‘known to the police’ across Glasgow, and indeed Britain, were confronted by police officers on the eve of the chauvinistic Diamond Jubilee celebrations, and issued warnings not to engage in disorder or to attend any of the gatherings called to oppose the monarchy. In Glasgow, a supporter of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! and the Glasgow Defence Campaign, who has been a consistent target of state harassment was visited by plain clothes officers PC McFadden (H 567) and PC Daily (H 611) of Baird Street Police Office, without any legal authority to be told that engaging in ‘anti-social behaviour and violence’ would make him liable to arrest. As if we needed telling! Other activists, who are still being dragged through a trial after being targeted for arrest at last year’s anti-royal wedding party in Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Park, were also door stepped by McFadden and Daily.

The GDC has received reports of anonymous officers phoning activists in Newcastle to inquire into details of a demonstration against the monarchy which the racist thugs of the English Defence League aim to confront. As ever when the uniformed pigs fail to deter people from protest their closest counterparts, the casually dressed pigs of the EDL, step in to assist them in their ‘duties’ to intimidate and shut down protest.
Elsewhere unconfirmed reports of arrests of anti-jubilee activists in Birmingham have been aired. The GDC will post any news we come across on this.
Miriam Kelly, spokesperson of the Glasgow Defence Campaign, responded to this latest police intrusion and intimidation by stating the following;
Any right thinking person understands that to engage in ‘disorder’ makes them liable to arrest so why the need for officers to be sent to the doors of activists to state the obvious? The answer is to intimidate and deter the person from attending the event in the first place irrelevant of whether they intend on any disorder or not. This is a clear breach of the democratic right of assembly and must be opposed. We understand that the biggest threat to disorder are the police themselves, who have used large assemblies in recent times to test their policing tactics of snatch squads and crowd control techniques.
The only criminals this weekend will be the archaic monarch and her foot soldiers of the British Army; each have the blood of hundreds of years of imperialist war, occupation and exploitation on their hands! The Diamond Jubilee charade is as the Scot poet Hugh MacDiarmid stated ‘Royal Honours for murderers and fools!’
If you were door stepped today or have been before send details of this to
No to intimidation through door stepping! 
Defend the right to protest!