Friday, 26 November 2010

Police deny using horse charges on students. Haven't they heard of Youtube?

Spot the difference...

Exhibit A:
From the Guardian: Yesterday a spokesman for the Metropolitan police said: "Police horses were involved in the operation, but that did not involve charging the crowd." He added: "I dare say they [officers policing the Whitehall demonstrations] were doing the movements the horses do to help control the crowd for everyone's benefit, which has been a recognised tactic for many, many years, but no, police officers charging the crowd – we would say, 'No, they did not charge the crowd.'"

Exhibit B:

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

After the student demo... Defend the Right to Protest: Unite against the witch hunt - No to victimisations

There is a meeting tonight at Friends Meeting House in London to defend those victimised after the student demonstration of 10 November.

This will be of especial importance after reports have emerged that tomorrow's student actions against cuts to education and the increase in fees are to be policed by Bob Broadhead. Broadhead ran the disastrous policing operation at the G20 protests in the City of London in 2009 which led to the death of Ian Tomlinson. The Territorial Support Group will also be on standby.

Defend the Right to Protest

Unite against the witchunt - No to victimisations


Tuesday 23rd November, 7.30pm,

Friends Meeting House, opposite Euston Station

Speakers include: Arrested students, John McDonnell MP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Mark Serwotka PCS Gen Sec, Sean Vernell London Region UCU, Ashok Kumar – President LSE/Education Activist Network, Matt Foot Socialist Lawyer and Jeremy Corbyn MP.

“A few broken windows are nothing compared to the wholesale destruction of the education system and the welfare state”

61 students have been arrested since the Nov 10th protests and there has been a widespread moral panic whipped up against those who took part in the Millbank occupation. Despite this it is clear there is widespread sympathy with the protesters. Yesterday 299 academics signed a statement which declared “we will fight with students over fees”. Thousands have signed a statement supporting arrested students fighting to clear their names and calling for unity against the governments attacks.

Come along to Tuesday’s public meeting and help to build a united campaign against the witchunt and victimisation of students.


The Con-Dem government has launched a savage attack on further and higher education. The Tories plan to increase tuition fees to £9,000 a year, make swingeing cuts in courses and lecturers and teachers jobs. They also plan to cut the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA). The EMA is a small grant given to students in further education to enable them to attend college. Any cut in the EMA would deny many poorer students the opportunity to access further education.

The ministers in this Con-Dem government all benefited from free education – they received grants and their tuition fees were paid by the state. Now they want to close the doors to higher education and further education for a generation of young people.

Their policies are creating a two-tier education system.

On Wednesday 10 November over 50,000 students and lecturers marched in central London against the Con-Dem plans. This is the biggest demonstration over education this country has seen for more than two decades.

The Guardian newspaper headline declared ‘This is just the beginning’. It is right, the Tories attacks on the poor and trade union movement means that there will be many more strikes and protests against the government’s austerity measures.

Britain is not the only country facing huge cuts and austerity measures. Across Europe, particularly in Greece, France and Ireland there have been massive protests, occupations and sit-ins against the austerity plans their governments have tried to introduce.

It therefore can be no surprise that when the students and lecturers marched passed the Tory Party HQ, thousands of protestors occupied the building and its courtyard.

The next day some sections of the media carried lurid stories attacking those that occupied Millbank.

This witch-hunt is an attempt to detract people’s attention away from the real issues. A few broken windows are nothing compared to the wholesale destruction of the education system and the welfare state.

We the undersigned believe:

It is vital that we all unite to stop the government’s attacks.

We support all those students and lecturers falsely arrested at Millbank who are fighting to clear their names.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Police censorship: Fitwatch site taken down by Scotland Yard

In an astounding piece of political censorship, Scotland Yard has forced the removal of a website which has been critical of civil rights abuses by the police.

Following last week’s student protest in London against cuts in education and the increase in tuition fees, politicians and the right wing press have launched a full scale witch-hunt of those it perceives as responsible for occupying the Tory Party HQ in Millbank.

The Fitwatch website, which has chronicled police surveillance and intimidation since 2007, published an article offering information to protestors who were worried about the "irresponsible and frenzied ‘shop-a-student’” initiative being pushed by the liked of Tory blogger Guido Fawkes and the Daily Telegraph.

CO11, the Metropolitan Police’s public order branch, ordered to remove the Fitwatch site for 12 months. The website’s owners were only made aware of this censorship after the website had been removed.

According to the letter, which was seen by the Guardian newspaper, “The website is providing explicit advice to offenders following a major demonstration in central London… The demonstration was marred by violence and several subjects have already been arrested, with a major police operation under way to identify and arrest further offenders.”

How convenient that the police unilaterally decided to take down the website of one of their most vocal critics! After Fitwatch, who will be next?

As last Wednesday’s protest took place, David Cameron was busy pushing trade agreements in China, where he claimed to have lobbied the Chinese government to relax its restrictions on liberty and free speech.

If he meant a word of it, perhaps he could say the same to Scotland Yard.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

United Families and Friends Campaign procession last week

The procession from Trafalgar Square to Downing Street by friends and families of those who have died in custody on Saturday 30 October was a powerful symbol of resistance to injustice. Around 100 people marched to Downing Street, blocking off Whitehall traffic as they walked in silence to David Cameron's residence.

After powerful speeches by the representatives of the families of those who have died, protesters crossed Whitehall to deliver their letter to Cameron which demanded justice for those who have died, and reforms to British policing and the judiciary making it less likely for officers to kill, and more likely for justice to be won.

The march received coverage in the Morning Star and Socialist Worker, and check out the excellent report from Russia Today:

The marchers vowed to return next year, in even greater numbers.