Anti-racist and anti-fascist news.
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 day
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.
Around 300 English Defence League members descended on Centenary Square in the city centre on Saturday 29th October. Although there were divisions from as far afield as Essex their numbers still fell well short of predictions - there were nowhere near the 1200 the EDL (claimed/forecast). There was a vast police presence throughout the city with officers stationed all the way up New Street and Paradise Forum as well as in Centenary Square. The police pre-emptively fenced off the Occupy Birmingham encampment in Victoria Square for the duration of the day.
The demo was largely peaceful in comparison with previous years however there were definite tensions between the police and the EDL, at one point there was a surge of chanting protesters which almost broke the police line and sent press and onlookers sprinting for safety. The protesters were throwing bottles and fireworks were set off. After this the police presence was greatly heightened and there were three lines of riot police and dogs separating the general public and the EDL after this extra deployment the demo was peaceful. A counter demo was held in Chamberlain Square called Unity and celebration of differences. The event was supported by many unions and was well attended. There was live music, DJ's and talkers promoting anti fascism.On the newswire: Call Out: Oppose The EDL In Birmingham 29th Oct | Details of coach companies ferrying EDL racists to Birmingham | EDL Official Website Hacked By Anti Fascist Hackers - 09 Feb 2011 | Richard Price EDL Co-ordinator - Placed on the sex offenders register
Previous West Midlands EDL demos: Dudley EDL members sent to prison | SchNEWS Issue 687 - Fash Get The Brum Rush | No march for EDL in Wolverhampton | English Defence League animal abusers put pigs head on Mosque walls in Dudley
LATEST: Monday 3 October: Basildon Council concedes that full clearance of Dale Farm as originally proposed would be illegal. Council ordered to pay one third of Dale Farm's legal costs. Awaiting outcome of applications for judicial reviews, due Tuesday. More in full article.
The legality of the eviction notices served by Basildon Council on Dale Farm residents was challenged by the Travellers in the High Court on Friday. Once the arguments had been heard, including an application by Basildon Council for the scaffolding at the entrance to the site to be removed, the Judge Mr Justice Edwards-Stuart said that there would not be a ruling before Monday 26 September (now extended to Tuesday 4 October). Late in the day it was reported that the injunction to restrain bailiffs from starting any clearance or eviction of the site would stand in its current form until at least 4pm Monday. A later report indicated that the judge may further extend the injunction into the middle of next week or beyond if necessary. In the meantime, applications are being prepared for judicial review of the eviction, which could lead to further delay of a final decision. Basildon Council has already set aside £18 million to evict the Dale Farm residents. However, with the current stalemate reported to be costing the council over £1 million per day, the total cost is likely to have increased by some £8 million by Monday and will continue to rise during any further delay. With a bit of luck they'll run out of money before the eviction is allowed to go ahead.
Recent newswire articles: Injunction extended to Monday | NET climbers at Dale Farm | Experiences of a legal observer | Travellers and Supporters open up Dale Farm | High Court 23 September | Re Dispatches: The Fight for Dale Farm | Keep stinging them in the pocket | Dale Farm wins reprieve | Last minute injunction | BBC censorship shame | Call out to activists | Bailiff's dirty tricks | Photos from Dale Farm march and demo 1 | 2 | Eviction Update
It was going to be the 'Big One', the EDL's grand day out in the capital city. They proudly proclaimed that they were going into the "Lion's Den" -- "Islamic hell-hole" -- and what they no doubt had in mind when this hare-brained scheme was first announced was something like an Orange march through London's biggest Muslim community, with drums beating and the chant of 'E.E.EDL' echoing off the walls of the East London Mosque as terrified Muslims fled. What actually happened was a half-arsed piss-up miles from Tower Hamlets. They predicted thousands would attend and only attracted hundreds. EDL Facebook posters have been reduced to claiming that Aldgate is by some spurious definition 'in Tower Hamlets' which is the equivalent of trying to pass off a Calais booze cruise as a seaborne invasion of the European mainland.
The Home Secretary intervened early in proceedings and banned marches for thirty days in the six surrounding boroughs. This is old hat to the EDL, who until recently always had their marches banned and have resorted to 'static demonstrations' in car parks around the country. These static demos basically revolve around drunken EDLers trying with varying degrees of success to break out of their police cordon and go on the rampage.
The ban seemed to come as bit of a surprise to the Unite against Fascism lot though -- who had planned a march from Weaver's Field around Tower Hamlets. To their credit, despite calls from the authorities for anti-fascists to stay at home now that a ban had been implemented, they re-located their protest to within 200 yards of the East London Mosque (the EDLs stated target),meaning that there was at least a strong presence on Whitechapel High St.
From the newswires:The day the EDL didn’t come to Tower Hamlets | EDL in london - pics and report |EDL's Tommy Robinson threatens the entire Muslim community of Britain | Video of EDL getting spanked in Mile End | TeaMp0isoN expose the EDL leadership! | EDL kept away from anti-racists activists |RMT against the EDL | Nottingham EDL organiser poses with a gun |
"When they put him in the room they were putting pressure on him saying he had no right to stay in this country. He was normally a very quiet person [...] but the pressure is too much for people in here."
On 2nd August, a 35 year old Indian man who was hours away from being deported hanged himself in the toilet block of Campsfield House.
Campsfield is not a house, it is a migration prison just outside Oxford where people are held arbitrarily for the "crime" of being foreign, non-white, and poor. Several hunger strikes, protests, suicides and escape attempts have taken place over the years since it first opened in November 1993.
This comes shortly after two detainees died in Colnbrook migration prison, on 2nd and 31st July. The first seems to have died of a heart attack amid reports that staff were very slow to call an ambulance. Not much has been said about the second; it is "being treated as unexplained".
Campaigners in Oxford responded by holding a vigil, while at Colnbrook a solidarity demo was held. These deaths are just the tip of an iceberg of deaths caused by borders (around 15'500 since 1993 across Europe, not counting undocumented deaths), and deaths are themselves only the most extreme part of the massive suffering imposed by this system.
Meanwhile, the Namaste project: a local initiative to match destitute asylum seekers with people willing to house them, is gradually gathering momentum.
[ Campsfield: report | press release | vigil ] [ Colnbrook: report | demo ] [ overview ]
[ Guardian: Campsfield | overview ] [ Close Campsfield Campaign | Oxford No Borders | Namaste update ]
[ List of deaths | Oxford migration articles ]
On 4 July 2011, some 90 families at Dale Farm, the UK's largest Traveller community, were hand-delivered a final notice of eviction giving families until midnight on 31 August to abandon their homes, or face their entire community being bulldozed. The central government and Basildon Council have set aside over £18m for the eviction battle that could last three weeks. It will be the biggest clearance of its kind, involving the ploughing up of 54 separate plots created on a former scrap-yard purchased by the Travellers ten years ago.
Urgent Call-out for Support: Supporters are urgently needed to help the community resist the eviction. Come to the camp for one of the activity weekends any Saturday between now and the end of August, and join Camp Constant from 27 August.
On the newswires: Solidarity Bulletin 4 August | Colchester Council Hates Gypsies | Solidarity Bulletin 27 July | Dale Farm Info Night, 2 Aug, Bristol | Resist Ethnic Cleansing | Eviction notice served | Previous feature
Elsewhere: Dale Farm Travellers | The University of Esssex Human Rights Clinic | Susan Craig-Green, Advocacy Project
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
They are the most politically marginalized people in this country and across Europe; marginalized in the UK in every other way too, having no legal place to live, unable to send children to school because of police move-ons, and even refused service in pubs and restuarants.
But Travellers today are standing up for themselves and nowhere more so than at Dale Farm, in Essex. Here a hundred families have been under siege for ten years, refused planning consent to live on their own land; though it's only an old scrap-yard converted into a mobile-home park.
Dale Farm Travellers are making a final stand against what they see as an act of ethnic-cleansing equal in its brutality to the clearances of Roma camps in Italy and France. They are asking for your help.
Three G4S security guards are accused of causing the death of Jimmy Mubenga, who died during his forcible deportation on a British Airways flight to Angola on 12th October. Eye witnesses told the Guardian how the 46-year-old man was being "heavily restrained by security guards and had complained of breathing problems before he collapsed." The three men have since been questioned by police and bailed until December pending further inquires.
In response to the government's deafening silence, on 15th October activists from South London plastered the area from Elephant and Castle to Peckham with posters holding witness statements and other info about Jimmy's murder.
From the Newswire: Group 4 murder Angolan migrant during deportation | Unacceptable death of Jimmy Mubenga | Jimmy Mubenga posters in South London | Dover detainees demand 'proper investigation' | The Angolan death on BA77 at Heathrow