UK Newswire Archive
Tuesday 5 July 2011, 5:30pm
Not One Cut Until the Bankers Pay!
At one point, I saw it stretch from one end of East Road to the other, with still enough of a head to snake it's way around the corner onto Burleigh Street.
01-07-2011 22:34The Con-Dem government's austerity drive is due to wreak even more devastation on the lives of some of the most oppressed and marginalised people in the UK. Come and show your support for a small human rights advocacy charity, working to improve the lives of thosewho have fled persecution and been left in destitution by the UK's racist immigration policies.
Release Juan Ibrahim, victim of torture and abuse by the Syrian regime, the UK Border Agency and G4S
* New asylum claim dismissed, medical and objective evidence overlooked, because it's easier for the UKBA to shrug it off as a third country Dublin II case. He is due to be deported to Bulgaria on 6th July.
* Instead of being offered adequate treatment for post-traumatic stress and self-harm injuries, he is put in isolation and cut off from the outside world.
* Denied access to papers, phone and other belongings by the G4S management.
* On hunger strike since Monday, 27th June, in protest at his mistreatment by the immigration authorities and the detention centre management.
* Please see below for what you can do to help.
In Cambridge this was represented by many schools closing, a skeleton staff at Cambridge Jobcentre, and picket lines in front of Cambridge Regional College and Anglia Ruskin University (see pictures).
Imc London previously interviewed Donnacha DeLong on the eve of the BBC strike in November 2010 over issues of pay, working hours, and pensions. The interview talks tactics, solidarity, cuts, and the relationship of the NUJ strike to all of the other strike actions that have happened that week.
Donnacha DeLong is an online journalist with over ten years’ professional experience and President of the National Union of Journalists.
Thursday 30th June. Over 3,000 protestors marched through the Manchester city's streets today, causing widespread disruption, with thousands of school pupils across Greater Manchester kept home from school forcing parents to stay off work or scramble for childcare places.
Criminal courts ground to a halt, hundreds of Jobcentre and immigration interviews were cancelled, and roads in central Manchester suffered rolling road closures as
Protesters claimed the strike, with four unions representing teachers, lecturers and civil servants, would herald months of industrial action - with millions of strikers out on the streets unless the government backed down on public-sector pensions reforms.
Helen Andrews, a Greater Manchester spokewoman for the National Union of Teachers (NUT), warned: "This is the beginning of the fightback.
"Today's strike will be the catalyst for a deepening and widening campaign."
And Sue Bond, vice-chair of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union, told members gathered in Castlefield: "Nationally we have had 750,000 on strike today to defend not just our pensions but our jobs and the services we deliver and we are proud to deliver.
All Images: © Stillshooter - 2011
We joined the J30 Critical Mass at the Brixton Oval. Prior to that we had been for a while visiting the different pickets in the Brixton area, and we quickly realised that this strike wasn't going to be confined to a ritual Unions march in central London. We stood for a while in the Lambeth College picket in Brixton Hill where we noticed the constant shows of support by the honking cars passing by. In a way these early morning honks put sound to the widespread support this strike had from the 'british public', no matter what the corporate media try to put down our throats nor how the government and 'opposition' try to demonise it.
At around 9.30am, the Critical Mass that had left the Elephant and Castle over an hour earlier, arrived at the Brixton Oval just opposite Lambeth Town Hall, where a picket was being set up as the preparations for a later rally were going on. The mass then left Brixton southbound down Coldharbour Lane in a detour of south London. It passed Camberwell, Peckham and eventually arrived at the picket at Deptford's Town Hall blocking the traffic for 30 minutes or so. The picket then turned into an impromptu demonstration with people on foot joining the cyclist's mass, which again, stopped the trafic of the New Cross area for quite a while. At this point several police vans turned up following closely the demonstration, and, from then on, sticking to the Critical Mass for the rest of the day.
The Mass then made its way towards central London with a 'police scort' of no less than 6 police vans, and eventually it joined the end of the main Unions demonstration. The mobile sound system kept playing a mixtiure of reggae, drum'n'bass, dubstep as well as pop, rock and punk tunes for the whole journey and until the batteries ran out as it got to Parliament Square.
01-07-2011 12:36Birmingham - 3 police custody deaths in 11 months
Demetre Fraser - 31st May 2011
Kingsley Burrell - 30th March 2011
Lloyd Butler - 4 August 2011
Justice for Kingsley Burrell, Demetre Fraser, Lloyd Butler
Campaigning for Justice for Kingsley Burrell and for legislative reform in regards to deaths in custody. In unity with Justice 4 Smiley Culture and all those who have lost a loved one in these circumstances.
March for Justice for Kingsley Burrell and for all those that have lost their lives in police custody.
We call on you to march with us in Birmingham
One People with One Aim: Justice for All
30-06-2011 22:45A look at far reaching changes in social housing policy being introduced by the UK government.
It was a nice day out, sun was shining on the strikers for most of the time. Except for the moment when the police decided to clear that sit in protest on Whitehall outside McDonald's (which had its own line of coppers). Section 60 was used as carte blanche to stop everyone who fulfilled a certain set of criteria: young, (mostly) male, dressed in black, (and apparently in a group with at least one person from BAME background - at least so it seems to your insignificant observer, but others have commented on this too). It was a clear tactic of intmidation, which hopefully won't work.
Generally the turn out was ok, the atmosphere was happy but unexcited, and everything was nice and colourful.
Police lines were also randomly selective about letting people leave the protest or not. If they liked your face, you were free to go where you please, if they didn't then your freedom to protest turned into the obligation to protest, whilst your freedom of movement was swiftly stripped. Obviously the coppers on the lines were asked to make a judgment and were helplessly overwhelmed. I wonder what kind of orders they get in situations like that? "You can let individuals through, but make sure the march stays on the route"? So if they decide you are "the march" you aren't allowed to pass? Or a more explicit: "You can let everyone through who wears a suit or has shopping bags, but if they look like protesters, make sure they stay in the designated protest area"? Or maybe the much simpler version (overheard at a police line on a different occasion) "Let them through if they're the right ones"?
There was a whole lot of stereotyping and profiling by coppers on the front line happening, and maybe it's time for some public enquiry into how they are trained to do - what exactly?
Here's just a few of the snaps from today's london stop and searches and arrests. For sure the cops were really going for people with aggressive interventions and some rowdy push and shove when nothing at all had even happened, nothing. Best bit though was the solidarity shown by people at Charing Cross when they went for the young lads in the main march. Sure someone will have it on video - great solidarity. And a great day - biggest strike for years - c'mon people don't let the Daily Mail and co win the spin war.
+ Police PR (re-trumpeted by some shit tv stations) were also doing their best to say that everyone they were targeting were 'outsiders' not connected with the march. Huh. So like now if you're young or wearing a kafiya or wearing black you can't be concerned with the cuts and marching in solidarity with the strike!?
List of some of the tweets about stop and search and arrests:
We're all in this together...
On an evening in the middle of May two machines being used in
the construction of a new ASDA being built near Loanhead on the
outskirts of Edinburgh were sabotaged, electrics and hydraulics were
cut. This action was taken in disgust at ASDA's open endorsement and use
of GM products. We oppose the control and domination of our food supply
On June 30th members of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), National Union of Teachers (NUT), Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) and University and Colleges Union (UCU) went on strike in defence of their pensions. There were picket lines across Nottinghamshire and a sizeable march along Mansfield Road.
Pickets appeared outside schools, job centres, the crown and magistrates courts and even the British Geological Survey in Keyworth. Notts Uncut spent the morning visiting pickets, distributing food, by all accounts receiving a warm welcome.
The march formed up at the Forest Recreation Ground outside the old clubhouse. As might be expected, there were placards and banners from all the participating unions. Unison, the Fire Brigades' Union (FBU) and Unite also had banners on the march, as did Notts Uncut and Notts SOS. many people had also brought home-made placards, some of them clearly having required considerable effort to produce.
The march was started just after 11.30am, by a GMB branded town cryer (no I don't know either?). Marchers made their way down the Mansfield Road, pausing regularly to ensure the march didn't spread out unduly.
Numbers on marches are always difficult to estimate. I have heard figures from NUT officials suggesting there were as many as 2,500. This seems on the high side to me. I was told as we were leaving the Forest that the police estimated the crowd at 1,300-1,500 people, so there's no dispute that there were over 1,000 people. This is not to be sniffed at.
At the bottom of Mansfield Road, the march turned right and into Trinity Square for a rally. This it turns out is not an ideal space, the architecture makes it feel isolated from the rest of the city and the speakers ended up standing on the blocks in the middle of the square, as if they were speaking in the round.
There were speakers from the unions involved, Notts SOS and assorted others. While this was going on, protesters were able to visit campaign stalls around the edge of the square and even had the opportunity to throw wet sponges at "David Cameron".
After around half an hour, some marchers moved on to the rally/meeting in the Albert Hall. The rally at Trinity Square continued for a little longer. At that point some people went on to the Albert Hall and others joined Notts Uncut to visit the usual targets. The police were, as at the last Uncut action, expecting them and stationed outside most of the well-known tax dodgers (Vodafone, Primark, HSBC etc.). While I wasn't there, I did hear that there was a minor scuffle with an agitated member of the public on Clumber Street, but it seems that nobody was injured. By the time I made it to the Albert Hall everything there had come to a close.
For Nottingham this was clearly a significant day politically. It is to be hoped that the unions can build on this first day and move forward. Of course, for teachers, the fast approaching summer holidays are a major impediment to action. Nevertheless, with other public sector unions making noises about balloting for action in the autumn, there is a real opportunity to tackle the government's attack on pensions and the wider austerity agenda.
On June 30th, while teachers and civil servants went on strike against attacks on their pensions, Nottinghamshire County Council was meeting to slash the Supporting People and daycare budgets. A small lobby was organised in front of County Hall by Notts County Unison in protest.
Protesters included Unison members, service users and supporters. Leaflets about the cuts and attacks on pensions were distributed to people coming into the building.
There were also speeches through the megaphone. Unfortunately, there didn't seem to be all that many people coming into County Hall to hear them. Possibly they came in through another entrance, or perhaps strike action by teachers had more of an effect than anticipated, forcing staff to take time off to look after kids.
A few Labour councillors wandered out to mouth predictable platitudes before disappearing back inside. The protest was initially overseen by a couple of police officers, but they soon realised that their presence was unnecessary and left.
There was a brief flurry of interest as a photographer from the Post turned up. He left with a not-in-the-least-bit staged line-up shot and a copy of the leaflet. Whether the story will actually make it into the paper remains to be seen.
The protesters hung around for around one and a half hours, with a few supporters drifting in and out, fitting the protest around their work commitments. Shortly before 10am when the meeting was due to start, they drifted off, ultimately headed to the strike march beginning from the Forest Recreation Ground.
At the time of writing, the supporting people cuts have been voted through (after two hours debate according to the council's Twitter feed) with the "modernisation" of daycare currently on the agenda. Almost inevitably, this too will eventually go through.
It is easy to get disheartened when protests seem to fail like this, but this should not be seen as the end. The mass strike today marks the next step in the anti-cuts movement. If this movement can continue to grow it holds the hope that the imposition of austerity on the most vulnerable in society can be stopped and perhaps even reversed.
Late reporting from Whitehall and surroundings.
Arrived in Trafalgar Square in the early afternoon, then marched on Whitehall towards Parliament Square. Police were busy directing people where they wanted them to be. Barriers stood in the middle all along Whitehall and police seemed intent in making the march go only on one side of them.
Once in Parliament square, I ended up on the green outside Westminster Abbey. A sound system was on one corner and on another one, a banner with the words “Workers Assembly”. Next to it was a speaker that seemed to welcome anyone who wanted to speak. I could see lots of people with the same model of t-shirt: “Real Democracy Now”, the main demand of what seems to be known as “The Spanish Revolution”. A real assembly seemed to be happening right there. People raised their hands and waved them from time to time (a sign of agreement with what is said at that moment).
On the way back to Trafalgar Square, I saw a small group in the distance, between the Square itself and the McDonalds restaurant, that seemed to be kettled, or in the process of being kettled. Heard reports of snatch squads and seemingly random arrest. People had seen police with “snatch cards” on their hands.
Noticed a police line being formed on one of the side streets. They allowed people to get through the line but at a given point, they stopped allowing anyone through. Before I could figure what was going on, a noise of running came from a few yards back. Three very big guys, bully thugs style, were running very close together. They were carrying a smaller guy between the three of them, clearly against his will. I then realised that the guy being carried in this way had his hands tied up behind his back. He did not have handcuffs, but one of those plastic bands used to hold cables together. His hands were placed in a very ackward and obviously painful position.
Now, these big guys in plain normal clothing carrying this other guy “were” allowed through this police cordon. Then the cordon eased off to allow a van in. After some talking and lots of note-taking by the thuggy guys and uniformed police officers, the guy with his hands on his back was put into the police van.
The incident just described is what is known as “snatch squad arrest”, where police in plain clothes choose one person from the crowd and quickly, by surprise and without any warning or even any word, they immobilise him/her and they quickly take him/her into police custody. I saw another person being taken into a police van in this very same way up in Trafalgar Square too.
Saw another, smaller march also in Trafalgar Square. People dancing to a samba band and with banners about Congo and Sudan marched towards Whitehall. They were escorted and surrounded by police, various big vehicles and other hired workers. Some of the workers picked up traffic cones in front of the march, from one of the big vehicles, leaving them there as the march passed next to them. Other workers put a white tape between the cones, in a way that made the march enclosed by police and by white tape too. Then a last worker removed the tape and put the cones on a last vehicle moving slowly behind the march.
When this small march went on to Whitehall, police had made sure the Strike march was out of the way from the smaller march. So both marches were never mixed up.