Thursday, 25 August 2011

Anti Cuts activist sentenced at Sheriff Court

A Scottish Socialist Youth activist was sentenced today at Glasgow Sheriff Court for 'culpable and reckless conduct' during the events that followed the violent police eviction of the Free Hetherington occupation at Glasgow university on 22 March 2011. He entered a guilty plea and was fined £250 with the judge going on to question his reasons for protesting, dismissing the claim that there is youth unemployment in Scotland as 'rubbish' and pressuring the activist to think about his career prospects before protesting again.

He confirms what the GDC have argued all along - that the right to free speech and protest in Britain comes with the prospect of criminal charges. The choice is clear: abandon dissent in the hope a career in this rotten system awaits you or stand up against the cuts and imperialist war and face criminalization for doing so.

The GDC pledges it full support to the comrade who has been singled out for his progressive work against the cuts and once again reminds supporters not to give in to pressure from solicitors to plead guilty to criminal charges. At the very least, we must make the Crown office work if they wish to purse their campaign of criminalising politics.

Justice Not Careers!
Oppose The Cuts! 
No to Criminalization! 

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Another political frame-up in Scotland as Palestine activist convicted

The Glasgow Defence Campaign sends its solidarity to Paul Donnachie, a student and Palestine solidarity activist who was found guilty on Tuesday 23 August on the outrageous charge of 'racially aggravated conduct' after expressing his contempt for the Israeli flag. He was immediately expelled from St. Andrews university. The verdict sets a dangerous precedent whereby any criticism of the Israeli state and its continuing brutality against the Palestinian people is outlawed. The charge of 'racially aggravated conduct' for criticising, in a private incident, the violent, racist conduct of Israel is clearly politically-motivated, and as Paul Donnachie stated following his conviction: "I've fought racism all my life." An appeal is underway.

Alongside the continuing arrests and frame-ups of anti-cuts activists and the remanding in custody of young teenagers who commented on Facebook on the recent riots in England, the Scottish justice system is clearly showing that it stands firmly on the side of the powerful and wealthy against justice. Any democratic rights we have can only be secured by a continuing fight in their defence.

The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign has issued reports from the trial and an official statement which will appear on their website shortly. The GDC urges all its supporters to heed the SPSC's call for "supporters of Palestinian rights, anti-racists, and supporters of free speech to assemble outside Cupar Sheriff court on Tuesday September 13th at 9am to support Paul Donnachie. An injury to one is an injury to all."

Monday, 22 August 2011

URGENT: Demonstrate outside Glasgow District Court tomorrow!

The Glasgow Defence Campaign is once more calling on all supporters of the anti-cuts movement and democratic rights to attend a protest outside the trial of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! (FRFI) supporter Joey Simons on Tuesday 23 August. Hundreds took part in the demonstrations on 9 December in Glasgow on which two FRFI supporters were targeted and arrested by Strathclyde police. 

The GDC and FRFI haver consistently fought to oppose the attacks on anti-cuts activists by both the courts and the police, and offered our solidarity to all those who have faced harassment for their political activity. We urge and demand that all progressive forces stand with those protesting outside Glasgow District Court tomorrow calling for the charges to be dropped as not in the public interest. Only through protest and public campaigning can we apply any form of scrutiny and accountability to the 'justice' system. Recent events in England have shown the viciousness with which the courts of the ruling class can act. We cannot allow any member of the anti-cuts movement to face isolation and criminal charges. As Strathclyde police continues to arrest ever increasing numbers of activists, 'An injury to one is an injury to all' must be the principle on which we fight.  All out for the Glasgow District Court! 

Drop the charges now! Stop the political attacks!
Protest outside Glasgow District Court from 10am,
21 St. Andrews Street, off Saltmarket

Glasgow Defence Campaign
Monday 22 August, 13:00

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Strathclyde police - back off!

On Friday 12 August, Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! and GDC supporters held a "No to the Cuts! No to Political Policing!" stall outside Buchanan Galleries on Sauchiehall St. Two Strathclyde police officers (A678 and A297) approached the stall at 3.30pm, threatening a charge of breach of the peace for the megaphone being "too loud." Activists effectively defended their rights and drew in a crowd of around 50 members of the public to highlight yet another instance of political policing. Officers attempted to pull a 15 year-old GDC supporters away from the stall but failed and eventually retreated.
A second set of male officers (A192 and A929) arrived in a police vehicle at 4.25pm. They then circled the stall by foot and entered shops in the surrounding area, before approaching twenty minutes later, again failing to intimidate activists and unlawfully take personal details of those on the stall. The police eventually back off. Another example of the necessity and effectiveness of standing up for our rights in the face of political policing. Strathclyde police - back off!

Sunday, 7 August 2011

GDC opposes latest arrests and calls for unity

The Glasgow Defence Campaign condemns the most recent wave of arrests in the past week as yet another example of political policing in the city of Glasgow. The arrests are an abuse of power which is intended to intimidate and isolate those prepared to make a principled stance against the cuts. The timing and character of the arrests are themselves further evidence it was directed by the highest levels within Strathclyde police working alongside the crown office.

The GDC calls for maximum unity in the face of these latest attacks. As we demonstrated in practice in April when a number of people were arrested and detained - only by open opposition can an effective defence be mounted. Following the demonstration – all of the charges against the accused were dropped as a result of the public pressure generated. We need a similar victory once again.

If the latest round of anti democratic actions by Strathclyde police go unchecked and unchallenged – who will be next? History teaches us that the British state will show no mercy against those it deems necessary to criminalise; those who cooperate with the prosecution will be hammered. Witness the attacks on the Gaza demonstrators of January 2009, the attack on Charlie Gilmour and the punitive incarceration of Milbank protesters.

The GDC calls for those who wish to defend themselves politically to contact us. Now is the time for effective, non sectarian unity among everyone under attack. The police attacks on the right to free speech and assembly must not go unopposed. We say that those who remain silent, and accept criminalisation, invite more trouble – not less.

Joey Simons, a supporter of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! stated ‘only through public campaigning can we be successful – not just on an individual basis but also in upholding the rights of everyone. We refuse to be intimidated, isolated and criminalised. That is why we oppose this latest round of arrests and call for supporters to attend my trial on 23 August. We are calling for enough public pressure to be mounted in order to have all of the charges dropped.’

The trial against Joey Simons is set to take place on Tuesday 23 August from 10am at the District Court, St Andrews Street, Glasgow. The GDC is calling on supporters to attend and for messages of solidarity to be sent from individuals and organisations.