Three ‘not guilty’ of assaulting police at anti-Israeli demo, as more evidence emerges of ‘secret’ police files on protesters.

arrestWhen police struggled to arrest a protester at a demonstration against the Israeli Ambassador‘s visit to the Welsh Assembly last June, three of them alleged assault. One said he’d been given a kick in the balls, another that he’d had his wrist scratched, a third that someone had pulled on his arm. Three people were arrested.

But what came out of the court case, as the CCTV showed, was that it was the protesters who had been assaulted. They had behaved, according to the District Judge, entirely lawfully. Yet the three defendants had been pushed and shoved across the road, one had been swung around by her arm, another thrown to the floor.

Why? There were ‘concerns’ the officers said, but none of them could explain further. PC Cook said he ‘feared a breach of the peace’. But he could not tell us why he feared such a thing. “I had reasons,” he said, “but I don’t think I can tell you what they were”.

It was not enough to convince the District Judge and he found all three defendants not guilty, as the police had not proved they were acting lawfully.

PC Cook’s ‘reasons’ had been based on an ‘intelligence briefing’ received by all officers that day. But despite repeated requests from the defence, the contents of this briefing were never revealed.

This is further evidence that the police keep ‘secret’ files on protesters, and that they use this ‘intelligence’ (that even defence lawyers are not allowed to see) to justify assault and arrest. Other material that was disclosed shows that at least half a dozen others were identified at the protest and placed under surveillance, one of them having the movements of his car monitored even after he left the protest.

Protesters are not criminals or terrorists, and should not be treated as though they are. It’s about time the police came clean about what information they keep on their files and how they use it.

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Resist police violence! Friday May 1st!

2848_e_onlineWe call on everyone angered by the vicious and violent methods of the police force to Protest outside Cardiff central police station on Friday the 1st May, 6.00pm. The police station is on King Edward VII Avenue, just behind city hall. Bring what you expect to find.

police-stop-g20-protester-001The brutal policing of the G20 that culminated in the death of innocent bystander, Ian Tomlinson was typical of the police force’s response to protests.  Tomlinson died after being assaulted by a masked member of the Territorial Support Group (TSG). This was not the only incident of violence on the day and, most certainly, is not an isolated event as anyone who has attended a recent demonstration will attest to.

The events at the anti-G20 protests are only the tip of the iceberg. The introduction of  SOCPA and anti-terrorism laws have had a profound effect on the policing of protesters and demonstrators in recent years. More recently 114 climate protesters were arrested on “conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass” following a police raid, as usual there were multiple raids on homes whilst people were in custody. The protesters have since been released on bail to return in court in July. With ongoing police operations like this, it is clear to see the worrying extent of surveillance in use by the state and the growing criminalisation of dissent.

blog-pictureSouth Wales Anarchists stand against the ever increasing role of the police force as a political tool in the UK, and the violent methods that underlie all police forces. We stand in solidarity with victims of police aggression and those faced with humiliation and deportation due to an over-zealous government desperate for a ‘win’ in the eyes of a sceptical public. We do not simply wish for minimal punishment for the individual officers but recognise that the role of the Police is one of violence, intimidation and protection of power and property. The State monopoly on violence is exercised through the Police and those who defy the moral code of the State will always suffer the brutal consequences.

Some People Push Back

g20-police-medicOne of the most important points to be made about the policing of the G20, other than the attempted cover up of the death of Ian Tomlinson, is the fact that heavy handed policing is not uncommon.  Events such as the climate camp, the G8 summit protests and, more recently, the protests against the blockade and invasion of Gaza have all been met by brutality from the police, resulting in injuries to protesters.

Throughout the G20 demonstrations there were baton charges and aggravation by the police, who claimed that their policing was a response to the violence initiated by protesters. As many who attended would agree, this was not the case. After being penned into a kettle, without food, water or toilets, tempers are clearly going to rise. Even so, it was not the protesters who initiated the violence. Standing on Threadneedle Street in front of police lines, in a huge crush of people, we noticed the police starting to advance, though quite where they thought we’d go was anyone’s guess. When they met with the slightest resistance, they drew batons and lashed out. This provoked a response from those in danger of being hit, and ultimately turned a peaceful protest into the scenes witnessed later on.

g20-protests-g20-protests-012On the other hand, one of the biggest successes for protesters that has not been reported was the effectiveness of group action. Soon after our arrival at the Bank of England, it was clear the police were trying to pen us in. A group of 20-30 protesters, wearing masks (to both conceal their identity and as a show of solidarity to make it difficult to apprehend specific people) formed a square block and walked quickly into police lines, in a non-violent manner, to assert their right to move freely. It worked to great effect. With the police not yet organised and caught unaware, 75% of the group made it out of the cordon before the police could reform. Despite the attempts by the police, those remaining managed to prevent any arrests being made.

This minor action shows the importance of working together and quick decision making in protests. If we as activists don’t like the tactic of kettling, it is not up to us to wait for any authority to prevent it; we need to take matters into our own hands. Working as a group is extremely effective and using directly confrontational actions can produce excellent results, as shown by those who broke out of the block and didn’t have to spend the day trapped in a cordon.

Bookfair Benefit Gig

On Friday 24th April there will be a gig at TJs  in Newport for the Cardiff Anarchist Bookfair. Playing with be London’s best dub-ska-punk band Inner Terrestrials, raging hardcore punks Poundaflesh, local ska favorites Dirty Revolution and southwest punx Dead Subverts.

Entry is only £7 and all profits will go towards financing the bookfair! Theres a facebook event page, bring your friends!

War in the Vale

A number of South Wales Anarchists attempted to disrupt this year’s ‘Aerolink Wales’ aerospace and defence fair, held at The Vale Hotel and Spa near Hensol on 7th April.

"Hardocre activists" "storm" The Vale Hotel...

"Hardcore activists" "storm" The Vale Hotel...

While members of the Red Choir, Campaign Against the Arms Trade, CND and Stop the War maintained a presence in a designated area at the front of the hotel, local anarchists approached the doors to attempt to gain access. However, they were prevented from doing so by police officers who described the group as ‘hardcore activists’ trying to ‘storm’ the building.

A police evidence gatherer filmed activists closely and became confrontational when protesters began to block him getting pictures. The officer was then instructed to put his camera away so as not to cause a scene! Erm, too late: the line of police at the entrance and the officers and police vehicles around the 4 Star facility had probably not gone unnoticed by its guests.

Police evidence-gatherer foiled by anti-militarist propaganda

Police evidence-gatherer foiled by anti-militarist propaganda

Leaflets were given to hotel guests and visitors, explaining that companies which supply the Israeli army who killed an estimated 1500 people in recent attacks on Gaza were showing off their wares and cutting deals in their hotel.

Many were shocked and upset to learn of what was happening in the hotel and made complaints to the manager. One guest took a number of leaflets back into the hotel to give out to other customers while another told us that when she asked hotel staff what the event was about, she was told they weren’t allowed to tell her!

Despite being informed that they were trespassing and being asked to leave by a nervous hotel manager, apparently under instruction from the police, the south wales anarchists continued to ensure that anyone going in or out of the hotel knew that profiteers from war were doing business in their hotel.

Meanwhile, as all police attention was focused at the front of the hotel, they totally missed posters and ‘blood’ covered dolls being left inside the hotel in protest against this Welsh Assembly supported arms fair. Doh! We think Aerolink 2010 may be actively looking for a new venue…

Doh!

Doh!

Anarchists fight with police…and win!!!

From our G-20 Meltdown correspondent

We’ve had a great day. It’s been fantastic! We said we’d storm the bank and we did. They couldn’t stop us. We broke through the police lines and the royal bank of Scotland was trashed.  We’ve won! We’ve done what we said we would. It feels fantastic. We’ve had a brilliant day!

rbs-smashedWe estimate numbers of demonstrators at 8,000. The police were saying about 4,000 in Threadneedle St alone so add on a few thousand to that.

The journalists caused horrendous problems. When we wanted to get through police lines, they were pushing back against us. They were real nerds. They kept pushing in between us and the cops, which was a real problem because when the police were hitting people the journalists were stopping us getting to the injured. Their presence was also stopping demonstrators from going through police lines. In terms of numbers there, half were protestors and half journalists.

The police have used batons on people. They’ve used horses but not for charging. It’s been baton charges. It is arguable that they were less aggressive because the press was there. They could’ve been more aggressive. It could’ve have been worse. Whether the presence of the press tempered them is a possibility.

 

For more news direct from the streets, check out Indymedia.

Check out this brilliant sequence of photos of the day.