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Drunk Attack on Chelsea Manning's Family Fundraiser in Liverpool

Chris | 05.11.2013 13:41 | Liverpool | Sheffield

I attended the fundraising gig for Chelsea Manning in Liverpool at The Casa in Liverpool on Saturday 2nd November and witnessed the second physical attack that was launched against the event.

When I arrived workers were sweeping up broken glass from the first attack, which took place inside the venue. The event was a, not very well attended, gathering of peace activists, the kind of activists you generally come across at peace movement events.

Sometime later I was stood outside chatting to a woman who was having a smoke, a statement from her is reproduced below and I can verify that it is accurate, when I noticed a couple of women poking their heads around the corner of the building. They saw that I has seen them, I wandered over to them and they continued to poke their heads around the corner and then duck back, I wandered back to the entrance steps and waved at them. Then one of the peace activists at the event came out and I asked him if the women poking their heads around the corner were anything to do with the earlier attack, he went to have a look and as he returned a group of, I think, four men ran up shouting and one of them attacked him by jumping on his back.

I asked one of the attackers why they wanted a fight, the response is attached as a mp3 above, the attacker said he was only interested in having a fight with one of the peace activists at the fundraiser and it was nothing to do with Chelsea Manning.

The main attacker, the woman with dread locks in the photo above, tried to hit me when I asked her why she was attacking the event, but she was drunk and it was easy to dodge her swipes and she failed to touch me. The second audio clip above is her threatening to smash one of the peace activists face into the kerb as she left.

In all my years of activism the only incident that compares with this is when the EDL attacked a Sheffield Indymedia meeting, ironically the EDL were less violent and more reasonable than activists who attacked the Chelsea Manning fundraiser at The Casa.

Following is a statement from the woman I was chatting with outside the Casa before the attack started:

Anyway, back to Saturday evening...... I was outside talking to the Indymedia journalist from Sheffield, I was in the lee of the doorway due to the high winds and he was slightly further down the steps to my right.

He said he could see two women poking their heads around the corner from the alleyway at the side of The Casa and I asked him whether they were the women from earlier but said he didn't know as he had not arrived by the time of the glass throwing incident.

I couldnt see them as I was sheltering in the doorway but when you came out, we mentioned it to you and you walked to the left to the entrance of the alleyway and from what I could hear - you were asking them to show themselves. You were not doing this in an abusive way, it was not rude and you turned back towards The Casa.

When you were by the street entrance of the club, I heard the sound of running and saw several people,men I think, running down the road from the direction of The Phil and before you had time to turn round or me to shout a warning this man had lept on to your back.

You fell forward and I think managed to save your self from falling by grabbing the rails of the club and you then turned back towards the steps and then it seemed as if maybe six people, including the women from the side of the club had joined the men and were trying to pull you into the street.

I was trying to pull you up the steps and they were trying to pull you back down again.

Then the woman with the blond dreds, made to pick up the large plant pot to the left and I am sure she had the intent to throw it.

When you were at the top of the steps, the man who jumped on your back was being very verbal and abusive - you lost me my job you **** etc and then someone pulled you back inside, you went to get your stick but another man who I dont know persuaded you to go back into the back room.

But it was shocking, the way the man jumped onto your back, because it did not give you the opportunity to defend yourself and because of the storm impossible to hear their approach.

From my vantage point at the top of the steps I could see all this.

I am not from Liverpool, do not have an agenda nor an axe to grind against these people - I just came to the fundraiser because a dear friend (Name redacted) was organizing it and the whole thing was sabotaged by a group of undisciplined street thugs who tried to ruin an event they really ought to have been supporting.



my account

05.11.2013 14:54

the glass that was later thrown by woman on left of this picture
the glass that was later thrown by woman on left of this picture

perpetrators escorted off premises
perpetrators escorted off premises

but later came back with others for more aggression and violence
but later came back with others for more aggression and violence

On Saturday night, three women opposing Ciaron O'Reilly attended the event for Chelsea Manning at the Casa on Hope Street. There was no picket but the women had a group of supporters some of whom entered the venue at one point (when summoned by text, apparently) and others who remained outside.

In addition to a lot of verbal abuse from the women, there were at least four physical assaults during the evening, three of which I witnessed personally.

One of the women (with blonde dreads) hurled her half full glass inside the venue, narrowly missing mine and other people's heads, hitting and injuring [name redacted] in the ankle and smashing on the floor. [I have since been told that the glass was aimed at Ciaron who ducked it - I was facing the other way towards the women and didn't observe this].

The three and others who had arrived a few moments before, were told to leave the Casa by management. Some time later, they returned and assaulted someone who was attending the event and had gone to smoke outside. They did this by a number of them jumping on him from behind. I did not witness this myself.

During the ensuing altercation (the person who had been assaulted was by now inside and those outside trying to deal with the situation were a mix of people attending the event, other Casa customers and bar staff), the woman with blonde dreads who was on the pavement reached through the railings into the venue yard and grabbed one of the people trying to reason with her by his jacket, pulling him towards the railings.

While the manager [name redacted] was telling the group to leave, she was physically assaulted (hit) by the woman with blonde dreads. At this point the group dispersed.

There were numerous witnesses to all these incidents. Ciaron O'Reilly was not involved in any altercation as far as I am aware. At one point before the first incident, he was challenged by the woman with blonde dreads and he suggested that they go outside to speak to avoid disrupting the event. However, this didn't happen as the group started attacking someone else and was then told to leave. [See clarification above - have since been told Ciaron was the target of the thrown glass].

The woman who perpetrated at least three of the above incidents complained to me directly during the evening about how unsafe she had felt at the anarchist bookfair after she had ripped up Ciaron O'Reilly's Assange solidarity postcards. Ciaron's response there was to verbally defend his right to free speech. Demanding 'safer spaces' at the bookfair, then instigating violence at a benefit gig seem contradictory in the extreme.


If you live in Liverpool and are involved in activism, I think this is your problem as well as ours.



Display the following 59 comments

  1. Video statement by Seamus — lynx
  2. disturbing — ...
  3. Reply for the purpose of clarification to M email on Mersey activist list — Ciaron
  4. Welcome to activism in the UK.. — Aunty Christ
  5. To Ciaron and others. Lets not loose track of the bigger fight.... — Aunty Christ
  6. Those behind the attacks. — squirrel
  7. Rhiannon Lowton's version of events — facebook discussion from last night
  8. Lies from Adam Ford aka ‏@neon_black1871 about the attack on the Casa — Chris
  9. Attacks on bar, Ciaron and others — squirrel
  10. @squirrel — confused
  11. Solfed — squirrel
  12. Liverpool SolFed — @confused
  13. @I_Am_Jay_O_Doom" — squirrel
  14. News From Nowhere bookshop — squirrel
  15. stop demonising people — anon
  16. Next to Nowhere Safer Spaces Policy — W Morris
  17. @anon — squirrel
  18. Safer spaces for the win! — anangrywoman
  19. @anangrywoman — squirrel
  20. Hearsay & gossip really not helping. — A local activist
  21. @A local activist — squirrel
  22. Threats of Violence on Twitter — Screenshots
  23. Sticks and stones — Hissy fitter
  24. @I_Am_Jay_O_Doom" — squirrel
  25. Son, stop talking to yourself — Sean Colligan
  26. WTF squirrel? — dismayed
  27. Example — Seamus
  28. important for all in the movement - and globally — a friend
  29. Oh dear... another fine mess — Ciaron
  30. nevermind ciaron — donny mark
  31. WikiLeaks & solidarity — @
  32. Background to the behaviour of Liverpool SOLFED and AWOL — Seamus
  33. Divide and Rule — Seamus
  34. Waiting for the Witchhunt — mf
  35. facts... (TW- discussion of sexual assault) — anon
  36. Surprised this is all that happened..... — Awful
  37. Anon, could you please rebut this sequence of events. Where is the rape? — ?
  38. Semantics... — Anon
  39. Semantics? Reading for meaning. — feminist woman
  40. On snitching — Seamus
  41. What have we learned so far — Seamus
  42. Sean Colligan — Seamus
  43. please stop sharing personal info — observers
  44. sharing these personal details — observer
  45. ....interviewed last week by my local neighbourhood Christian Athiest! — Ciaron
  46. an alternative account — me
  47. Lies from the Angry Women of Liverpool blog — Chris
  48. Where next. — Seamus
  49. AWOL claims about Indymedia — ftp
  50. trying to work out the truth — me
  51. eh? — SK
  52. 'bottle him in the face' comment on AWOL — Seamus
  53. Regarding the "bottle him in the face" claim and the claim of police involvement — Chris
  54. "bottle the bastard" — Seamus
  55. Regarding the police — Seamus
  56. The hostelry next door to the Casa is not a bus stop — Chris
  57. bus stop — Seamus
  58. They invented the bus stop story — Chris
  59. The bust stop — Seamus