Friday, 20 May 2011

More messages of solidarity to the campaign

Tommy McKearney, former Republican hunger-striker, now organiser for the Independent Workers Union of Ireland and leading socialist journalist, has sent the following message of solidarity to the Glasgow Defence Campaign:

There is nothing new about political policing in any part of the UK. As part of the machinery of state, British police forces usually believe that they are entitled to do whatever they feel is necessary to protect their employer. We are so used to this type of policing in Ireland that we almost take it for granted yet it is a huge mistake to concede any ground on this issue. Allowing police decide what is politically acceptable is quite simply toleration for a police state. 

Every effort must be made, therefore, to prevent the Strathclyde police getting away with political harassment of activists and we must all offer our wholehearted support to the Glasgow Defence Campaign. - Tommy McKearney

The Manchester branch of the Revolutionary Communist Group and supporters of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! also sent the following message of solidarity:

Manchester branch of the RCG condems the police harrassment and open political attack on our comrades and other anti-cuts activists in Glasgow. This direct political attack by the police on anti-cuts activists in Glasgow follows on from the police arrest of 145 UK Uncuts activists in London on 26 March and the arrest of FRFI anti-cuts activists in Newcastle. It is clear that the British government, knowing that the protests against the devastating effects of the cuts will increase, are making every effort to intimidate and deter those that can give a political lead to the anti-cuts movement. All those that defend the democratic right to protest have to support all those arrested and call for the dropping of all charges.
From Manchester RCG to the GDC

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Update: May trial of anti-cuts activist adjourned until July

Update: The GDC has learned that the trial of Dominic O'Hara has been adjourned until July. Watch this space for further updates.

Dominic O'Hara was due to appear at Glasgow District Court on 23 May on a politically-motivated charge of police assault during an anti-cuts protest in Glasgow on 29 January. This has now been moved once again to July. Dominic - alongside other members of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! - has been a consistent target for Strathclyde police harassment over the past year.  It is especially important people turn out in numbers to show solidarity with this young activist who has already been convicted on the word of lying police officers for his part in another protest in Glasgow on 9 December and faces the serious possibility of a custodial sentence. 

Joey Simons, another member of FRFI, will appear in court on Monday 6 June, on trial for several charges also relating to the 9 December student protests. 

The Glasgow Defence Campaign is committed to defending all those under attack from the authorities for organising in opposition to the social devastation pursued by the Tory government and Glasgow's Labour city council. Hundreds of young people took to the streets of Glasgow throughout December and January to voice their anger about the destruction of education and the multinational businesses continuing to avoid billions in taxes. It is of equal importance that people come to the streets in numbers to voice their anger that young activists taking a leading role in these demonstrations are criminalised for exercising their right to protest.

Solidarity with anti-cuts activists! Defend the right to protest!
Glasgow District Court, St. Andrews Street, Glasgow (just off Saltmarket)
- Monday 6 June, from 10am

Thursday, 5 May 2011

GDC supporter deals with police harassment as protesters confront political leaders

On Tuesday 3 May, supporters of the Save the Accord Centre campaign, Citizens United, Margaret Jaconelli and the Glasgow Defence Campaign gathered to confront the leaders of Scotland's main political parties. A final hustings debate, before the election on the 5 May, was being held in the Glasgow Piping Centre and was broadcast live on STV.

Despite being kept outside the building by security staff the crowd of 50+ made sure that their voices were heard chanting 'Glasgow Labour council, Shame on you!', 'Save the Accord, Save the Accord, Save the Accord right now!' and other popular slogans.

The mainstream press were forced to take account of the campaigners noisy presence and so too were the party leaders - Gray (Labour), Goldie (Tories), Scott (Liberals) and Salmond (SNP) - as people demanded answers and assurances off them that the Accord Centre in Dalmarnock would not be closed to make way for a road and car park for the 2014 commonwealth games.

One campaigner commented that 'commonwealth shame' is a more appropriate title for the event. With the poorest and most vulnerable groups in society, such as the elderly, disabled and young, having the services which they require to live a decent life ripped away from them this is a title which cannot be disputed.

As the demonstration dispersed Dominic O'Hara - a supporter of the Glasgow Defence Campaign - was harassed by officers who claimed that he was banned from entering Glasgow city centre. This relates to bail conditions which were informally imposed on a fourteen year old and formally held on two seventeen year olds and two other anti cuts campaigners two weeks ago when all five were spontaneously arrested by Strathclyde police for participating in a peaceful protest on the 9 December 2010 against education cuts. Charges against all five were dropped on 21 April and the restrictive bail conditions were lifted.

PC David Markey (A413), Constable Hay (A80) and Sergeant Wilson (A548) were the offending officers.

The GDC salutes the people who came out yesterday to express their opposition to the cuts and the ‘commonwealth shame’. It will be normal Glaswegians that will be sacrificed for the interests of the rich and corrupt and so it will have to be normal Glaswegians that take a stand against these people and their army known as Strathclyde police.

No to political policing!
Fight the cuts!
Save The Accord Right Now!

Glasgow Defence Campaign
Contact us with any details of police harassment – see our Police Harassment Log at or contact

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Trade Union support builds for the GDC and against political policing

Dominic O'Hara of the Glasgow Defence Campaign spoke at Dundee Trades Union Council May Day march. To applause, he pointed out that the resistance which working people and trade unionists are beginning to show to the cuts will inevitably come up very quickly against the police and other state forces. Dominic encouraged that resistance, stating that the working class will not accept being made to pay for the crisis of the ruling class' system.


At Glasgow's May Day March, hundreds heard Len McCluskey, president of the Unite union, support the Glasgow Defence Campaign and its battle against political policing. He spoke of the determination of the Scottish revolutionary John MacLean to fight for free speech and quoted the famous words of MacLean at his trial in 1918 when he was sentenced to five years penal servitude for his opposition to the imperialist war. Speaking of the thuggish behaviour of the London Metropolitan police over the last year, McCluskey sent the same message to Strathclyde police: “Keep your sleazy hands off our kids!”

Dundee Trades Union Council, which supports the GDC, had put forward the motion which was passed unanimously at the Annual Conference of the Scottish Trade Union Congress a few days ago. We include the text of this resolution below and urge all contacts to take this into their union organisations- and all other organisations, community campaigns and political groups.  We also include a model resolution for this. Please let the GDC know of progress in this. The GDC can provide a speaker for meetings and everyone is urged to take up this offer to assist in spreading the opposition to political policing and the cuts.

Dominic is himself a member of the Unite union since his battle with the fast food multinational KFC. He took a principled stance against unpaid and compulsory overtime and was illegally sacked for this action. Then, Strathclyde police were hesitant about interfering with the solidarity pickets organised by activists in the Govanhill area of Glasgow. Despite conspirational car park chats between the cops and the local KFC manager who urged them to act to clear the pickets- the local community was informed about KFC's bullying and encouraged to boycott this low pay- crap food outfit's profitable operations.

Now, as we know, Strathclyde police have stepped up their political policing campaign in the southside of Glasgow and elsewhere. GDC supporters are learning every day of the determination of the cops to stifle and stall resistance to repression and limit and control legal political expression. The GDC though is more determined and will continue to organise and gather support from all organisations and individuals.

This week GDC comrades are meeting to discuss the legal campaign against Strathclyde police's repressive actions. The GDC is not a criminal or illegal organisation. The resistance to the cuts is not a criminal campaign. The GDC is seeking the views of all supporters on calling for a legal and public inquiry into Strathclyde police and its campaign of political policing.

Last week’s STUC congress in Ayr unanimously passed the following motion from Dundee TUC, condemning the recent spate of political arrests of student activists in Glasgow, and the attacks on the right to protest more generally:

That this Congress expresses its concern at recent actions by some police forces in Scotland, which appear to be designed to intimidate anti-cuts activists, particularly young people and students, as opposed to fulfilling any legitimate law and order function. These include incidents such as those at Vodafone and the Hetherington in Glasgow.
1) notes the public concern expressed on these cases by, amongst others, John Pilger, Ken Loach and Peter Mullan
2) Recognises that some form of non-violent direct action is a legitimate tool of political campaigning
3) recalls its existing policy concerning local authority impositions on the routes and timings of legitimate protest marches
4) resolves, in the context of heightened and possibly long-term political opposition to government policy, to call on the General Council to raise these concerns with the Scottish Government and local authorities and to exhibit appropriate solidarity with those it considers targeted by these tactics.

Glasgow Defence Campaign

The Glasgow Defence Campaign has been established in order to defend people's rights to free speech and political organisation. The campaign arose out of the direct experience of  Strathclyde police attempting to prevent campaigning against the cuts in Glasgow. We seek support from all organisations, groups and individuals: trade unions, community, student, civil rights, legal, religious and political.

The Glasgow Defence Campaign welcomes the support expressed in the speech made by the General Secretary of the Unite Trade Union, Len McCluskey, at this years May Day March in Glasgow. The GDC also welcomes the motion unanimously passed at the Annual Conference of the Scottish Trade Union Congress. The GDC expresses its thanks to Dundee Trade Union Council for raising the motion and welcomes the concern shown by these labour movement organisations at the recent behaviour of police across Scotland. As the motion states: this “...appears to be designed to intimidate anti- cuts activists...”. Glasgow Defence Campaign can assure its wide range of supporters, amongst which we include Dundee Trades Union Council, that intimidation may be the aim of the state authorities but they have only succeeded in making all more determined to unite to defend our rights to protest.

Can we ask all supporters of the GDC to consider raising the following model resolution through their Trade Union branches, community, student, civil rights, legal, religious and political organisations and to send on the details to us in order that we can add that support to our campaign. Thank you.

“The Glasgow Defence Campaign has been established to oppose political policing and defend democratic rights in the struggle against the cuts in Glasgow.

We condemn the recent police attacks on the right to protest experienced by anti- cuts activists across Scotland.

We condemn all the tactics employed by the police in their campaign against protest: street stops, repeated requests for personal details, door stepping visits to homes at unreasonable hours, attempted interviews with minors without parental permission or legal support, false charges and police perjury, police intimidation in court, repeated police approaches to legal protest activity.

We further condemn the restrictive bail conditions imposed on those charged which prevent knowledge of the undemocratic actions of the police from being brought fully before the public.

We support the Glasgow Defence Campaign and all other campaigns and individuals fighting to challenge unjust use of the law to intimidate protest.

We note the Glasgow Defence Campaign is seeking the views of all supporters on calling for a legal and public inquiry into Strathclyde police and its campaign of political policing.”

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

If you tolerate this....

The Glasgow Defence Campaign would like to highlight this case of political policing in Soho Square London which took place on 29 April 2011. We would like to condemn the sinister use of undercover snatch squads against peaceful assembly.