Anti-fascists are gearing up for the return of the English Defence League to Tower Hamlets in East London on September 7th.
The EDL don't have any right to "march on" areas. This is not about expressing freedom of speech, it's about causing fear and division. That's why they must be opposed - Anti Fascist Network
The EDL's leadership have a peculiar obsession with this borough of London - this'll be the third time they've tried (and failed) to demonstrate en masse in the area. That's without counting leadership Tommy and Kev's ill-fated effort at a charity walk through the area back in June.
The last time the league put in an appearance in the borough, in September 2011, a thirty day ban on all parades in the area was enforced by the Home Secretary. On the day, an army of cops enforced separation between them and the thousands of locals and anti-fascists waiting for them just up the road.
So why Tower Hamlets? According to the EDL it's because the area is already under Sharia law. In fact they go so far as to claim that there is "No beer allowed, this is a Muslim area", which will come as news to regulars of the White Hart and Blind Beggar.
In reality there probably are a handful of nutters who want to establish a global caliphate and Taliban-style social mores in the East End but they're a tiny, tiny minority. Despite EDL assertions, local government is probably no more corrupt there than in any major city. Scare stories about 'ghettoes' and 'no-go zones' are just there to whip up hate and get boots on the street.
Last time, the EDL mobilised around 800 of their footsoldiers for their venture into darkest Muslamic country. When they announced Tower Hamlets 2013 they were at the height of their post-Lee Rigby bounce. Recent outings in Hull and Portsmouth have not seen anything like the numbers turning out in the immediate aftermath of the soldier's death but the threat to the area is still substantial.
There's every likelihood that there will be a state ban on demos and parades again but anti-fascist opposition on the streets is what counts. The Anti-Fascist Network is calling for autonomous anti-fascists to meet in Altab Ali park at 11 a.m on September 7th saying, "We are calling a mass opposition, the more people, the safer and more empowering it will be for all of us. On the day we aim to be mobile and fluid in order to disrupt the EDLs plans".
Look out for the Anti Fascist Network (AFN) banners and flags and join them on the streets.
Follow @THStopEDL for updates now and on the dayRead more >>
The Hovefields Gypsy/Traveller site in Essex has been evicted this week. At the time of writing, a group of these families are still on the road without anywhere to stop, having been also evicted from two other sites they tried to move on to, all within 24 hours. In fact it is illegal for them to stop anywhere as a group, as they are more than six live-in vehicles.Read more >>
Today, a series of non-violent protest actions disrupted the 'Salute to Israel' parade. The parade celebrated 60 years since the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. Activists wished to remind the public that since its inception, Israel has been maintained through the constant oppression of the Palestinian people, in particular through ethnic cleansing.
The 'Salute to Israel' parade was a shameful show of support to a government engaged in war crimes. Sponsors included the Jewish National Fund, an organisation deeply involved in the colonisation of Palestinian land as well in anti-Palestinian discrimination within Israel. Activists wish to stress that the British government's authorisation, protection and support of this event is entirely unacceptable.
En route, the parade was greeted by activists with red dye on their hands to symbolise the blood of Palestinians killed by the Israeli government. In Trafalgar Square, both fountains were turned red after activists poured dye into the water and a Palestinian flag was unfurled at the entrance of the National Gallery. An activist climbed up a big screen which had to be turned off for most of the event. Also, another group attempted to get onto the roof of the National Gallery in order to unfurl a banner but were arrested in the process.
Police responded by making a series of ridiculous arrests, assaulting and detaining a woman for singing anti-zionist songs and deploying Forward Intelligence Teams to monitor and follow those attending the counter demonstrations.
Several Counter demonstrations were held by Jews for Justice for Palestinians, Action Palestine and Friends of Al Aqsa while Palestine Solidarity Campaign and others drove three double decker buses draped with Palestinian flags and black balloons around the square and Rhythms of Resistance tried to drown out the Pro-Zionist hip hop gig.
In the early hours of Saturday morning, activists occupied and shut-down the HQ and only UK freight warehouse of Carmel Agrexco - Israel's largest agricultural exporter from the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The occupation held for over 6 hours until they were forcibly removed at 12 noon.
During the occupation over 10 loading trucks intended for the warehouse were sent away. British supermarkets - accounting for 60% of Carmel-Agrexco's total exports - had some of their orders affected. The Israeli government has a 50% stake in the company. Exports include flowers, avocados and herbs grown in illegal Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land.
Previous Actions: Fortress Carmel Agrexco breached by Peace Activists | Video - Carmel Agrexco protest during Camp for Climate Action | Weekend of Action Against Carmel Agrexco | Activists Blockade Carmel-Agrexco's UK Headquarters for the Third Time | International Actions against Israeli ApartheidRead more >>
The four migrants accused of "conspiracy to commit violent disorder" during the Harmondsworth uprising in 2006 were today found not guilty. Relying on a clearly insufficiently indoctrinated jury, the attempt to single out and punish few individuals with violent criminal convictions and long sentences has been thwarted. Of course, all four have already served one year and three months in prison, on top of varying times in immigration detention. Now they will have to resume their struggle against the immigration system, which imprisoned them for seeking refuge in the first place, and will most probably be dispersed around Britain's detention estate until their cases are 'resolved'.Today the Support the Harmondsworth Four Campaign held a protest outside Sodexho's London headquarters. There had been a solidarity protest outside the court every Monday [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5].
Background: letter from two of the Harmondsworth 4 to Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! | 'Report of the Investigation into the disturbances at Harmondsworth and Campsfield House Immigration Removal Centres', Robert Whalley | Chief Inspectors of Prison Report on Harmondsworth Immigration Removal CentreRead more >>
On Saturday, 24th March, England played Israel in a Euro 2008 qualifying match. A group of activists picketed the Football Association in Soho Square calling for a Sporting boycott of Apartheid Israel [Newswire Report].
Prevous boycott actions and campaigns include:
Agrexco: 1 | 2 | video | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 Text of Letter to Carmel Agrexco | Apartheid and Agrexco in the Jordan Valley | War on Want's Report - Profiting from the Occupation
Caterpillar: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
Caterkiller Shutdown | Jewish Voice for Peace - Rachel Corrie (1978-2003) | Caterkiller
Supermarket protests: Marks and Spencers Stencilled | Repression of M&S Protesters
Academic boycott: AUT Boycott | NAFTHE Boycott | CUPE Ontario | COSATU (South Africa).
The very mention of custody deaths brings to mind nasty foreign repressive regimes. But these deaths happen in Britain, too - on average, one a week in police custody alone. Then there are the deaths in immigration detention centres and in prisons, including children. Many of these deaths occur under dubious circumstances. Moreover, those in custody may not not have been convicted of any crime and are supposed to be presumed innocent.
The suicide rate is much greater in custody - as much as 18 times the UK average for young males, and disproportionately large among black people, especially as a result of "the excessive use of force by functionaries of the state", according to the group Inquest [example]. Deaths can also occur as a result of deliberate police inaction.
There is a lack of transparency in investigations into deaths in custody and very long delays before inquests (up to five years in some cases) as well as lack of accountability after juries return 'unlawful killing' verdicts. Of those verdicts since 1990, which the group Inquest is aware of, 18 police officers were prosecuted but all were acquitted. As far as is known, no police officer has ever been brought to justice for such killings.
Links: United Friends and Family Campaign’s annual Remembrance Procession (2006) | 19 minute video | photos Guido, Real2Reel, Marc Vallée | 2005 (photo report) | 2003 (photos & audio) | Ireland 2006 part 1, part 2.Read more >>
32 Iraqi asylum seekers, who had been incarcerated in different detention centres, were deported to Arbil, northern Iraq, on 5 September, 2006, on a specially chartered flight from the RAF Brize Norton military base in Oxfordshire. There was a demonstration at the Home Office in London, called by the Coalition to Stop Deportations to Iraq and the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees, but that did not apparently stop the process, and neither did the warnings from international organisations [1 | 2 | 3] or the legal challenges.
The first forced deportation of Iraqi Kurds from the UK took place on 19 November, 2005. 15 men were taken to an airport at night, handcuffed, beaten and forced onto a military plane headed for Arbil through Cyprus. The move then sparked a lot of anger and protest [1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5], and the deportation of Iraqis was halted for a while until resumed this month. Tens of Iraqi Kurds are believed to be interned in UK detention centres, while thousands more have been served notice that they will be 'removed' from the country [latest report].Read more >>
A crowd of several hundred demonstrators, mainly Muslim, gathered outside New Scotland Yard on Sunday afternoon 11 June to voice their disquiet at the June 2 raid in Forest Gate. The police raid which involved some 250 officers, was one of the largest single 'anti-terrorist' raids in Britain. Two houses were targeted based on intelligence that they were the location for a chemical bomb factory run by two brothers, Mohammed Abdul Kahar and Abdul Koyair.
The raid was brutal and Koyair was shot in the shoulder in circumstances that remain a mystery. The two brothers were eventually released without charge late on Friday June 9.
A demonstration was called for the 18th of June to show support for the families of the Forest Gate raid. More than 2000 people marched in East London to show the community’s anger and frustration at the raids. Demonstrators carried placards with statements such as “The War on Terror is a War on Us” [Report]Read more >>
A replica of the Israeli wall and a large banner with the words "Stop Starving Palestinians, End Israel's Occupation and Recognise Palestinian Democracy", acted as a back drop for the up to 20,000 demonstrators that gathered in London's Trafalgar Square on Saturday 20 of May.
Reports: 1 | 2 | Photos: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
The demonstration, organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, was prompted by the Israeli government's decision to strengthen the economic blockade of the Palestinian people after the landslide victory of Hamas in the recent Palestinian elections. The Israeli and US governments, together with the EU, brand Hamas as a terrorist organisation and have therefore stopped vital aid and funding from reaching Palestine, with devastating effects on the everyday lives of Palestinian people living in the Occupied Territories.
For daily reports of life under Israeli occupation see the Middle East Media Centre and the Palestine Today audio reports in the IMC-UK newswires. Also check out IMC-Israel and IMC-Beirut for information about grassroots strugless and campaigns in the Middle East.Read more >>
Updates: 27th April: Some remain on hunger strike.
24th April: The hunger strike in Colnbrook seems to have ended [Timeline | Solidarity Page]. Meanwhile, around 20 Turkish Kurdish detainees in Harmondsworth began a hunger strike on 20 April.
17 April: About 25 detainees in Haslar have staged a peaceful protest in the courtyard early this afernoon and are still there, refusing to re-enter the building. There are also news that the hunger strike have spread to Tinsley House.
15 April: More than 120 detainees in Haslar detention centre, Protsmoth, have gone on hunger strike in protest againts arbitrary detention and in solidariety with the detainees in Colnbrook.
In protest at their inhumane treatment by security guards during the No Borders demonstration last Saturday (8th April, 2006), over 150 detainees in Colnbrook detention centre went on hunger strike. According to the latest updates, nearly 100 of them are still on indefinite hunger strike. A delegation from the Home Office is supposed to pay them a visit to hear their demands for release. [Strike update 17/04]
The hunger strikers have been subject to repression from Colnbrook’s management, with one detainee, deemed to be the "organiser" of the protest, having been locked in an isolation cell on Saturday night, then later removed to another detention centre.
Many of the people inside Colnbrook have been there for over 6 months, with some being detained for up to 3 years. There is no automatic bail review process for immigrants who are being detained. Last January, a detainee at Harmondsworth Detention Centre took his own life out of despair. Fellow detainees responded with a one-day hunger strike and a written statement about their conditions and treatment in detention.
On Thursday 13, a solidarity protest took place outside the Home Office building in central London [Report and Pics]. This had been urgently called by London No Borders and The Square Social Centre. On Satuday 15 No Borders fundraiser also took place in London. And on Thursday 20 Cardiff saw another solidarity demonstration called by the No Borders South Wales group.Read more >>
Harmondsworth, 8 April 2006. Around 300 people from London, Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Brighton, Reading and Cardiff demonstrated at the Harmondsworth and Colnbrook detention centres near Heathrow to ensure that "those inside will hear our voices and know that they are not alone." The call out for the demonstration was made by London No Borders, the Campaign to Close Heathrow Detention Centres, London Against Detention, and The Square Occupied Social Centre in solidarity with the Noborder actions in Australia [see the NCADC report].
There was a large police presence and they prevented detainees and demonstrators from establishing a line of sight: the demo was not allowed to take place in the field where detainees could see it from their windows. Security guards also prevented detainees from accessing the centre's exercise yard and didn't even allow them to approach the windows. Some detainees were reportedly beaten up when they protested against these restrictions. In response, some 150 detainees in Colnbrook have gone on hunger strike [Read press release on updated situation in Colnbrook].
Many phone calls from detainees were passed on to the demonstrators via a small sound system. Former detainees also gave live testimonies of their own experience in detention [Sekindi's speech]. Meanwhile, about 40 people managed to make their way around the side of Colnbrook where detainees could see and hear them from the windows, and they spent a long time communicating with people inside, before being moved on by the police.
In Glasgow, around 300 asylum seekers, refugees, sans-papiers, Unity activists, and their supporters marched from the Home Office Reporting Centre in Ibrox to a rally in the Carnival Arts Centre in town calling for the right to work and an end to deportations. On Monday, 10th April, the All African Women's Group and other organisations protested outside Communications House in London in solidarity with international actions for immigration and asylum rights, and against detention.
In Manchester, a demo and rally [more] were held on 15 April under the slogan "Manchester: city of detention, destitution and deportation". On the same day, the offices of Ethiopian Airlines in London were targetted by anti-deportation activists. Their locks were glued and anti-deportation slogans were painted over their office and in the surrounding area.Read more >>
Davids 'crime'? - wearing a rucksack along with an 'unseasonal' jacket and checking his phone messages while waiting for his train. Luckly for David the police refrained from following the shoot-to-kill policy that had resulted in the tragic death of Jean Charles De Menezes less than a week earlier. Instead, they closed Southwark tube station and cordoned off the whole area while the bomb squad checked his bag. Eventually, finding nothing but a laptop in his bag, the orginal officers appologised then arrested anyway. His home was searched and his computers confiscated. You could be next.Read more >>
In February 2005 The Home Office brought about new regulations forcing all non European Nationals to ask ‘permission’ before getting married.
Those non EU Nationals married in the United Kingdom before February of this year may classify themselves as being amongst ‘one of the lucky’ few who managed to marry the person they love, however it seems that even before these new laws were passed marriage to an non-EU member didn’t count for very much in Britain anyway.
The shocking reality of being married to an non-EU member in Britain today is a life of forced uncertainty, dominated by the imminent threat of your loved ones being deported and returned to a country where they most probably face certain death. Astonishingly the ’Right to Marry and found a family’ as outlined in Article 8 of The Human Rights Act is certainly not a right that exists for many British women today.Read more >>
A statement posted on an Islamic website in the name of, Abu Hafs al Masri Brigade, an al-Qaida-linked group claimed responsibility for both sets of London attacks. The group has threatened "a bloody war" on the capitals of European countries that do not remove their troops from Iraq within a month.
The following day was extremely tense with many people expecting a follow up attack because the bombers had left too much evidence behind for them to believe they would not soon be captured. Security around the capital was increased with so-called 'random' stop and searches introduced on London Transport but many people stayed away from the city.
At around 10am (Friday 22/7), police shot dead an unarmed man on a train in south London. They had trailed him from a block of flats which they had under surveillance, allowing him to board a bus and then enter Stockwell Station, despite apparently believing that he was a sucide bomber. [first reports | more on shooting | train driver threatend ]
Transport remained in chaos all Friday and into the weekend with many security alerts, one of which involved armed police at the East London Mosque. Police has since raided several addresses and made at least three arrests. The dragnet extended to Birmingham where one man was arrested under terror laws but later released uncharged.
News of the 'shoot to kill' policy raised urgent concerned from Muslims and non-Muslims alike, especially since the man (now named as Jean Charles de Menezes) turned out to be completely unconnected with the bombers. After police admitted the man was innocent on Saturday a hastely organised vigil was held at Stockwell Station on Sunday 24 morning. [reports and photos - 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | audio | video ] A second much larger vigil took place on Monday 25 evening. [Pics and report | Impromptu march | Photos vigil and demo] On the following Wednesday 27 another protest took place outside the Metropolitan police headquarters at Scotland Yard. [Photos and Reports 1 | 2] [Audio interviews]
Britain continues to hold 14 foreign nationals who have never been charged with any offence. The supposed evidence against them remains secret. They were never questioned by the police. They have not been put on trial.
These men are detained under the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001, which allows the Home Secretary to detain indefinitely any foreign nationals if he has 'reasonable suspicion' that they have links with 'international terrorism'. At hearings last year, the government acknowledged that some of the 'evidence' could have been obtained by torturing detainees elsewhere, e.g. Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.
On Sunday 3 October, around 100 people gathered outside Belmarsh Prison in south east London to protest against the indefinite internment of the 14 prisoners, and to demand the repeal of the UK's anti-terrorism laws. A wide range of people were present, from Muslim leaders to grass roots activists, incluiding Lawyers and anti-racism campaigners. A number of speeches were made, and an open microphone included poetry and music. Photos 1 | 2.Read more >>
As part of the Boycott Israeli Goods campaign, a picket of the Marks and Spencer store in Oxford Street has been taking place in London every Thursday since October 2000. This is in fact, the longest running protest in the UK against the illegal Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip The campaigners state that M&S is the biggest British corporate sponsor of the state Israel, arguing that: "The history of Britain's biggest clothing retailer Marks and Spencer demonstrates how consumer habits in Britain are tied to the oppression of other peoples. Marks and Spencer has championed the state of Israel and thus connived in the dispossession and suppression of the Palestinians. Our comforts and pleasures, which Marks and Spencer so eagerly service, have been bought at an unacceptable price."Read more >>
On 31 Jan 2004, the first European day of Migrant Struggles took place simultaneously across Fortress Europe in 11 countries and 49 cities, see the noborder web site and the round-up on the global indymedia site for an overview of the actions, and click here for a round up of actions in Europe.
In London, there was a No Borders Protest at Waterloo Station and on Friday a Anti-Daily Mail Demo at which there was a counter, pro-hatred, BNP demo. In the evening there was a post demo party at Kentish Town Social Center.
A short video of the waterloo station action and the adbusting actions of the previous nights has been produced. Note how happy the eurostar staff were to collect up our leaflets in order to deny others access to it.
10min, 170mb~, smaller versions will follow: ftp://italy.indymedia.org/imc_italia/video/310104high.avi
Requires divx codec: linux | mac | windows
In Athens 3,000 people marched on an anti-racist demo.Read more >>
As we approach the Christmas period, London Transport Police are gearing up to “keep London safe for Christmas" (words of a police officer outside Victoria Station). They are reportedly achieving this by implementing immigration sweep and deportations, outside of tube station.Read more >>
Public sector cuts