Police and state oppression news.
See also UK Indymedia - Repression
On Monday 2nd of March 2015, there were demonstrations in over 30 towns and cities around the UK (plus Toronto) against Maximus, the US based health insurance corporation that has taken over the contract from the French IT Company Atos to administer the Work Capability Assessment on behalf of the Department Of Work And Pensions. Atos announced its exit from the contract in early 2014 following an intense period of direct action against the company by groups such as Disabled People Against the Cuts.
The day of action was timed to coincide with the first working day of the new contract, with the spotlight turned on Maximus as well as the continued use of Work Capability Assessments and the life-threatening consequences of the ongoing government attacks on the sick and disabled.
In central London, to the chorus of "David Cameron is a W*****" (YouTube) activists from DPAC hit the streets, taking direct action to block traffic and at one stage bringing traffic to a standstill on Victoria Street in the shadow of Big Ben.
The demonstrations across the UK on the streets were complemented with an online Twitter campaign using the hashtags #Maximarse and #ScrapWCA, the latter trending for a number of hours. This gave the opportunity for those unable (including through sickness and disability) to make it to demonstrations to vent their anger and frustation around the Work Capability Assessment and at a government hell-bent on targeting the sick and disabled.
Shared National Day of Asylum Seekers Taking Action
This Saturday 29th June will see protests across the country by asylum seekers and supporters calling for 'Dignity not Destitution'.
In June 2012, 250 asylum seekers and supporters marched through Bristol to tell people our problems and to demand Dignity For Asylum Seekers [ Report | Press Release ]. This gave us more confidence to speak out. After last year's march we campaigned to get Bristol City Council to support us. We are pleased to say that in January they voted overwhelmingly to support us and condemn the government’s policy on forced destitution. Now, we are joining together with groups around the country to take action on the same day to say that forced destitution is wrong. Read the full article for details of events around the country.
The incident that led to police raids across the country and 23 arrests occurred on 28th March 2009 when a number of antifascist activists travelled to Welling in south-east London to protest against a neo-Nazi "Blood and Honour" skinhead gig at the Duchess of Edinburgh Pub. No fascists have been arrested or charged or have even appeared as witnesses in the court case and in the absence of any evidence forthcoming from the fascists the Police and Crown Prosecution Service spent a vast amount of time and resources to press charges which are tantamount to a thought crime and if widely applied would in effect make it illegal to organise protests against fascist events. The use of "conspiracy" charges against large groups of activists — charging them for things that might have thought about rather than charging them for anything they have actually done is clearly being done to suit a political agenda which involves the draconian repression of progressive activists, no doubt intended as a "deterrent" to others. While at the same time real corporate criminal conspiracies are covered up and swept under the carpet, contrast the treatment of the activists with the kid-glove treatment by the state of the Murdoch media crime family, as the collusion between powerful media, corrupt police and the political establishment is further exposed.
Articles: Leeds ABC Rebel Night! A benefit for imprisoned antifascists | UK Antifascist Prisoners In Need Of Support | Freedom: Comrades Jailed | Inside SchNEWS | Support Our Six Proud Antifascists | UK Antifascist Prisoners | Antifascist Prisoners In Need Of Support | Antifascist Prisoners In Need Of Support
Sheffield City Centre has been turned into a virtual police state from 11th till the 13th March, as the Liberal Democrats converge on the City for their annual spring conference. The Sheffield Telegraph reported that there will be a six foot security fence, but now it's erected it's clearly higher (2.5m). The Sheffield Star has reported that there will be 1,000 police officers defending the conference with plans to use riot gear and kettling if necessary, at a cost of £2 million. Activists have reported Police surveillance in the run-up to the conference and there are section 14 and section 12 restrictions on freedom of movement in place from the Police. The official conference webpage links to the agenda and papers and delegates information, party members are registering at the Millennium Gallery, fringe meetings are taking place in the City Hall, Mercure St Paul’s Hotel, Jurys Inn and Leopold Hotel, see the listings for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The police initially told the media that they were expecting between 2,500 and 3,000 protestors but have now said they are expecting up to 10,000 demonstrators. Sheffield ConDem Resistance have produced a flyer for the weekend. On Friday 11th March at 4.30pm there will be a demo assembling at the Town Hall and on Saturday 12th March a protest has been organised by the SWP's Right to Work campaign with the support of the Sheffield Anti Cuts Alliance with agreement with the Police — assemble 11am on Devonshire Green for a rally and a then a march to another rally. There are also other campaigns organising protests.
Newswire: Protests at the First Day of the Liberal Democrat Conference | Liberal Democrat Conference: Police State Sheffield | Liberal Democrats meet behind metal barrier | Information on planned protests in Sheffield 11-13th of March | Protest against Lib Dem Conference Organisers - Police surveillance actions
In the wake of the outing of 4 undercover police infiltrators into the UK activist scene, SchNews, have broken a story about police posts to Indymedia. For over two years suspected police articles and comments have been tracked by filters that are triggered by matching IP addresses, the first comment tracked in this manner dates from August 2008 and the last from January 2011. The full lists of gateway 202 and 303 posts has now been published so activists can do their own analysis on the police posts. A feature article about the abuse has also been published by Birmingham Indymedia, this feature article, first started in in December 2009, has been the subject of a huge amount of internal discussion within UK Indymedia and has been one of the reasons behind the decision to fork the project. Sheffield Indymedia supports the use of anti-abuse features to track and remove disinformation from the site and long argued for the feature article exposing the state abuse to be published.
Articles: Full list of Gateway 303 and 202 posts to IMC UK | Advocating Domestic Extremism - Cops on Indymedia - An Exposé | INTER-NETCU: Government Agency Caught Infiltrating Activist Media Outlet | State infiltration and attempted disruption of activist websites | UK Police Agent Provocateurs Exposed | Nottingham Indymedia statement on recent events | IMC London Statement on the recent Schnews Article | Bristol Indymedia's position on IP logging
On 21st October 2010 a statement posted to Indymedia revealed that Nottingham based activist "Mark Stone" was in fact PC Mark Kennedy and he was an "undercover police officer from 2000 to at least the end of 2009". This news didn't get picked up in a big way by the corporate press until a story was spun that the trail of the Ratcliffe 6 had collapsed because he had "gone native" and had considered testifying for the defense. The "gone native" story was probably police disinformation.
In an interview with the Mail on Sunday (16th January 2011), for which he was allegedly paid a six figure sum, Mark Kennedy stated that he had taped a planning meeting at which the defendants were present. The Mail goes on to say that the "covert recordings he supplied police proved undeniably that the six men facing trial last week for conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass were innocent". The same Mail article also contains the claim that Mark Kennedy, "knows of at least 15 other officers who infiltrated the ranks of green campaigners in the past decade and of four who remain undercover". The Guardian has reported that an activist who knew him has said "The trouble with Mark is you don't know what is real, he was an absolutely extraordinary liar trained by the British state."
The media frenzy has also led to three further undercover police officers being exposed, Officer A, "Lyn Watson" who was undercover in Leeds from 2004 till 2008, Officer B, "Mark (Marco) Jacobs", who appeared in Brighton in 2004 and then moved to Cardiff in 2005 and was active there till 2009 and PC Jim Boyling, "Jim Sutton". A summary of the activities of the 3 agent provocateurs has been put together and activists are asked to publish any better photos or information about their political activity to this thread.
Legal Statments: Bindmans comments on collapse of prosecution against 6 environmental campaigners at Nottingham Crown Court today | Bindmans seek disclosure of material of convicted power station activists | Statement from Mike Schwarz, Lawyer to the Defendants
Feature Articles: Three undercover political Police unmasked as infiltrators into UK Anarchist, Anti-Fascist and Climate Justice movements | Undercover police officer back in the spotlight | Guilty verdict in Ratcliffe trial | Mark Kennedy/Stone exposed as undercover cop
Newswire: Photos of undercover Cop Simon Wellings | The Guardian-Mark Kennedy: Confessions of an undercover cop | The Real Facts Regarding Mark Kennedy’s Infiltration of Saving Iceland | Mark Kenney: A detailed chronology of his activities | Exposed: police spy in Worthing | Mark Cassidy undercover 1995 - 2000 | 'Peter Black' undercover 1993 to 1997 | Jim Sutton - undercover cop in Reclaim the Streets | New Photos of Officer A "Lynn Watson" and Officer B "Mark Jacobs" | Jim Sutton - undercover cop in Reclaim the Streets | An account of Marco Jacobs' time in Brighton | Statement from Cardiff Anarchist Network (CAN) on the infiltration by Mark ‘Marc | Exposure of police spy in UK sheds light on covert operations | Officer "B" Marco Jacobs- further info and photos | Ratcliffe trial last two sentences | Did the CPS unlawfully authorise undercover work? | Three undercover political Police unmasked as infiltrators into UK Anarchist, Anti-Fascist and Climate Justice movements | Kennedy Mania in the Mainstream Media | Kennedy/Stone talks to Mail on Sunday | Three undercover political Police unmasked as infiltrators into UK Anarchist, Anti-Fascist and Climate Justice movements | Officer 'B' revealed as Cardiff based 'Marco' Jacobs | Mark Kennedy: secret policeman's sideline as corporate spy | Post Flash Fallout, Lessons and Activist security | The 'censored' Mark Kennedy article | I can't forgive Mark Kennedy's betrayal of activists | IMPORTANT: A respectful request to all activists regarding Mark "Stone" | Undercover police officer back in the spotlight | Release the Kennedy Files | Ratcliffe: 2nd Court Case of 6 activist Collapses | Ratcliffe trial collapses! | Judge sentences 18 of Ratcliffe defendants | Statement from the defendants | Ratcliffe Trial Day 15 – Jury says Guilty | Activists found guilty in Ratcliffe coal climate trial | Ratcliffe Trial Day 14 – Jury Still Retired | Ratcliffe Day 10 – Defence calls more Defendants | Ratcliffe Trial Day 9 – Defence Calls More Experts
A year and a half after their pre-emptive arrests, 20 climate change activists began their trial at Nottingham Crown Court last week. The defendants were part of a group of 114 people detained by police in Nottingham last April, suspected of organising to shut down Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station. The defendants are arguing that their planned action was necessary to reduce the environmental devastation of Ratcliffe's emissions.
Previous feature: Mass Arrest of 114 Climate Activists in Raid
Links: Ratcliffe on Trial
In March 2007 the Home Office published "Enforcing the Rules": stating that its purpose was to ensure that for people seeking asylum, life "becomes ever more uncomfortable and constrained until they leave or are removed." From October this year they have stepped their efforts to make life hard for asylum seekers (and perhaps win some votes from the most ignorant and racist parts of the electorate). In particular: cutting asylum benefits to £5 a day for asylum seekers over 25; attempting (disastrously) to deport people to Baghdad, claiming that it is "safe" (one of the people on the demo had lost a friend to car bomb in Baghdad weeks before); making the process of claiming asylum even more of maze that it already is and announcing their intention to forcibly deport people to Zimbabwe by claiming there were "positive changes" there.
Sheffield's Zimbabwean community felt this attack on them should be resisted. They fled Zimbabwe to find safety here and there is no less danger in Zimbabwe now than before the latest "Unity" Government. Initiated by them and backed by the South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group (SYMAAG) we decided to speak out against this latest stepping up of the Government's war against asylum seekers. So 100-120 people demonstrated outside the Town Hall: asylum seekers from Zimbabwe, Uganda, Iraq, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Chechnia, Uzbekistan and Sudan joined SYMAAG, Sheffield and Barnsley Trades Councils, ASSIST, No Borders, CDAS, Sheffield Green Party, the Bishop of Sheffield and council leader Paul Scriven to show our opposition. As well as speeches there was dancing from members of the Zimbabwean group. The demonstration received coverage from Radio Sheffield, Sheffield Live and The Star and passers-by took 200 leaflets explaining why we were protesting. We left, cold but proud that we stood up for asylum rights in our city.
Next SYMAAG meeting: Monday 7th December 7pm at Scotia Works, Leadmill Road, Sheffield S1 4SE
This Monday (9 February 2009), Kent Police arrested a man in Sheffield under the Serious Crime Act 2007 in relation to the recent Indymedia server seizure. His home was raided, all computer equipment and related papers taken. He was released after eight hours. The person had neither technical, administrative nor editorial access to the Indymedia UK website. He was only associated to the project by hosting its server.
The arrest took place under Section 44-46 of the Serious Crime Act, which was passed into law on 1st October 2008 to combat serious international crime like drug trafficking, prostitution, money laundering and armed robbery. Sections 44-46 refer to “encouraging or assisting offences”.
Kent police claim that they are after the IP address of the poster of two anonymous comments to a report about a recent animal liberation court case, which included personal details of the Judge. The IP address of the poster is not stored as Indymedia does not log IP addresses. This was acknowledged by British Transport Police in 2005, after the Bristol IMC server seizure.
For the police to arrest the person who happened to sign the contract for server hosting, is sheer intimidation, in light of Indymedia’s openly stated policy of no IP logging.
With the implementation of the EU Data Retention Directive in March 2009, the UK government attempts to turn every internet service provider in the country into part of the law enforcement apparatus. This legislation will provide a legal basis to track, intimidate, harass, and arrest people who are doing valuable and necessary work for social change, for example as peace activists, campaigners for economic and social justice or against police brutality.
The present intimidation of the open publishing alternative news platform Indymedia will have serious implications for anyone running a server in the UK which allows user contributions – blogs, social networking sites, wikis. This is an attempt to close down sites that respect the privacy of their contributors, pure and simple.
Former Guantánamo prisoners including Moazzam Begg and Chris Arendt, a former guard, are completing a UK speaking tour to “mark seven years of unlawful detention, abuse and torture”. The tour, organised by Cage Prisoners started in London on 11th January 2009, exactly seven years after the first transfers to the prison torture camp at Guantánamo Bay at date which was marked in London by a weekend of actions. Sami al-Haj, a former Guantánamo prisoner and Al Jazeera journalist was due to be one of the speakers but instead he joined a Free Gaza boat which was fired on and didn’t make it. By the Sheffield meeting, held on the date of Obama’s inauguration, he had been replaced by Omar Deghayes another former Guantánamo prisoner. In Liverpool the meeting “was held on the same day as the US president signed an order to close Guantanamo. Moazzam Begg was not impressed, and commented that Barack Obama spoke about ‘outlawing torture’ as though he himself had just decided to make it illegal: “It has ALWAYS been illegal, at least in any civilised country”" Further reports can be found on the tour blog.
Campaigns: Cageprisoners | The National Guantánamo Coalition | 100 Days to Close Guantánamo and End Torture | The Campaign against Criminalising Communities | Scotland Against Criminalising Communities (SACC) | Reprieve | Andy Worthington
Background: Andy Worthington on Antiwar Radio: Obama, Guantánamo and Torture (audio) | SchNews: [ Inside Guantanamo | Omar Deghayes Speaks to SchNews ] Seven Years of Guantánamo Bay: London Actions | Guantánamo - Obama could do better | Binyam’s Story: From Ladbroke Grove to GTMO | The Rendition Monolgues | Moazzam Begg and Andy Worthington on Human Rights in The War on Terror | Can Human Rights Survive the "War on Terror"? | Guantánamo Bay: The Case of Omar Deghayes | Craig Murray: Legality, Morality and the War on Terror
Public sector cuts
April 2006 No Borders Days of Action
Art and Activism Caravan 2006
Climate Camp 2006
French CPE uprising 2006
G8 Russia 2006
Lebanon War 2006
March 18 Anti War Protest
Refugee Week 2006
Transnational Day of Action Against Migration Controls
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