Saturday, 16 March 2013

GDC condemns Strathclyde police violence against Green Brigade and Celtic fans – no to criminalisation!

The Glasgow Defence Campaign condemns outright the paramilitary-style operation launched by Strathclyde police today against the Green Brigade and other Celtic supporters marching against criminalisation and police harassment in the Gallowgate, Glasgow. The operation was under the overall control of Deputy Chief Constable Ruairidh Nicolson, a graduate of the Leadership in Counter Terrorism Programme with Ireland’s National Police Force.
Pic by @krys1888
Police kettle a smaller section of today's peaceful protest, this picture was taken before more officers arrived on the scene. 

As hundreds of police officers, dozens of vans, horses, dog branch, support units and a helicopter were mobilised, members of the public would be forgiven for thinking that the police were indeed mobilising against a terrorist threat. Instead, this is the response of Strathclyde police and Scotland’s political establishment to any threat of resistance, especially working class resistance, developing to the status quo.

Pic: Jas Cam
Police go on the attack as protesters attempt to retreat.
We witnessed several people being assaulted by the police.
Glasgow Defence Campaign supporters were present today to witness what was without doubt a peaceful march consciously attacked by the police. The episodes of police violence seen – the batoning of football fans across the head, young people handcuffed and stood upon by police, a father with a wheelchair-bound son being prevented from exiting the crush, demonstrators arrested and smashed up against police cars, riot vans driving dangerously into crowds, the imposition of section 60 orders and kettling – were not the result of police spiralling out of control. Orders had clearly been issued from police command for officers to be let off the leash.

It is worth noting the contrasting responses of the authorities to demonstrations by forces in-line with their own reactionary interests. While hundreds of police officers were mobilised against football fans this afternoon, earlier today they facilitated a sectarian Orange Order parade marching down the middle of Maryhill Road. In January, over a hundred officers were mobilised to actively facilitate a provocative demonstration by the racist Scottish Defence League in Pollokshields.

Except for their scale and violence, today’s events were not an exception but a continuation of a trend of abuse of state power to clamp down on legitimate and peaceful political activity. After three years of austerity and vicious class warfare, there is a conscious campaign to isolate and criminalise any progressive forces which may begin to organise effectively in opposition. It is less a jackhammer, more a surgical knife which is being wielded. As long as you remain passive or ineffective, your democratic rights will be safe. As soon as people starting listening, very quickly the ‘right’ to freedom of speech or assembly is replaced with police harassment and criminalisation.

On Thursday 7 March, the Glasgow Defence Campaign and Glasgow Against ATOS came together to protest and publicly condemn the arrest of two members of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! on a recent anti-ATOS protest for the ‘crime’ of speaking on a megaphone. Earlier today, plainclothes CID visited the house of one FRFI member in an open attempt at intimidation (more to follow on this). As the GDC has documented extensively on this blog, members of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! and other left-wing activists – especially the Green Brigade and Celtic fans – who have raised their head above the parapet have been subject to such a campaign of harassment and arrest for the past three years. Today’s actions have moved this campaign into a new phase.

The GDC offers its full support and solidarity to the fans organising against criminalisation. The police must be held accountable, both individual officers and collectively: photos, video footage, police complaints, the naming and shaming of violent officers, public condemnation of the inspectors and DCC leading the assault. Send reports of police violence to to be publicised.

Based on our experience of the past three years, the best defence – the only defence – possible against such attacks is an open, public, political response to what is a political attack. Defence campaigns and support for those arrested is key – court protests, pickets of police stations, solidarity at all levels. Unity with all other progressive forces in Glasgow facing the same threat is crucial. Such a campaign can, and must, win. It is a battle for fundamental democratic rights which must be at the heart of all future struggles.

We invite the Green Brigade, Fans Against Criminalisation and others to join with the Glasgow Defence Campaign and Glasgow Against ATOS on the protests planned for Thursday 21 March and Friday 22 March, and send a clear, unified message to Strathclyde police and the political authorities that we will not be harassed, intimidated or beaten off the streets of Glasgow. As the forces of repression unite, so must we.

Defend the right to protest!
Defend those arrested!
End criminalisation!

Thursday 21 March, 12.30 – 2pm
End police attacks on protests! Drop the charges against the Glasgow ATOS 2!
Outside RBS on Gordon Street, Glasgow city centre
All welcome. Organised by GDC and Glasgow Against ATOS.

Friday 22 March, meet 11am
Court protest: Drop the charges against the Glasgow ATOS 2!
Sheriff Court, Calton Place. Protest at trial of two arrested members of FRFI.

Miriam Kelly. PRO Glasgow Defence Campaign, 18:00, 16 March 2013 


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. The comment above was removed due to it racist and offensive nature.

  4. The Green brigade has a horrible sectarian element still within its group, and while they still allow this to happen then strathclyde police have every right to treat all this group the same until they purge out the bitter bigoted element that spread viscous hatred across the country were every they go.

    1. So what you are saying is it is ok for Strathclyde police to nearly knock a disabled boy out his chair and also hit small children who were walking beside the GB. Dont make comments you know fuck all about

    2. @football fan;

      Listen mate, your comment is idiotic. Firstly, let's imagine that everything you've said about the GB being sectarian is true - if so, how then would that justify police brutality? Your little homespun philosophy that somehow "police have every right to treat all this group the same" is utterly embarrassing to read. Did the Police have "every right" as you say, to act like scum about Hillsborough because of the alleged actions of some fans? If you're Margaret Thatcher's granny then I guess you'd say yes! But, we know the truth about Hillsborough now, in the end the truth came out. With regards to your allegations of "a horrible sectarian element" in the GB, again, truth is what we're searching for.

      SO... with that in mind, please provide us with one example of sectarianism from the GB. To arrive at the truth we need evidence, you've used lots of emotive adjectives in your comment, now back it up with fact.

    3. and by what you say FootballFan then the authorities should be treating the orange order the same as they spew nothing but vile bigoted hatred.

    4. Considering that the GB are an anti-sectarian and anti-racist group I find your comment rather ridiculous. If you had any clue whatsoever you would know this. You clearly have no idea what sectarian actually means.

  5. Very heavy handed treatment of a child, & no help to police if they want some honour & trust among the public.

  6. Excellent article.

    Celtic fans protested yesterday against heavy handed policing and hey presto, the police are there to fully validate those claims and the claims of others who have been similarly mistreated.

    Whose streets? OUR STREETS.

  7. racist and bigoted?i take it you never watched the recent SEVCO/ZOMBIES game with berwick rangers a few weeks back.the offensive chanting and singing of sectarian songs was so bad the commentator approached the police and complained knowing this match was going out to the rest of the country and you call us bigots

  8. As the Glasgow Defence Campaign has advised, the only response to this is an organised, public, political defence. Those cop goons could only assault, bully and abuse in front of hundreds of witnesses with video cameras if they were confident they could act with impunity. That means getting away with it! The theme of this year's Bloody Sunday march in Derry was 'End Impunity! 'Bloody Sunday relatives, the Hillsborough Justice Campaign and Miners from the 1984- 85 Strike, all looked back on their long struggle to end impunity. Solicitors like Gareth Pierce, who has defended framed up Miners and Irish political prisoners, were also present to warn us. See
    Publicity has been rising about Saturday's vicious attack- Reporting Scotland had a piece tonight but the good old BBC showed some very mild footage- we have to get organised back. Get on the web, get yer councillor, MP, MSP's contact details and complain. Get on the Strathclyde police site and complain. Get a petition started, aim for the figure that means it gets debated in Edinburgh. Get the details of those arrested and check if they want to organise a defence campaign, organise, collect and collate witness statements and photographic and video material. There will be CCTV- it is your right to see this. Get legal support. The GDC is there to assist and advise on this. We are at this moment working on a 'How to Organise a Defence Campaign' leaflet. Watch this space. Watch out Strathclyde police! Here comes the spotlights!

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  10. The Green brigade has a horrible sectarian element still within its group, and while they still allow this to happen then strathclyde police have every right to treat all this group the same until they purge out the bitter bigoted element that spread viscous hatred across the country were every they go.