Press Release from Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! (FRFI)
10 December 2010 - GLASGOW On Thursday 9 December 2010, two supporters of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! (FRFI) were arrested by Strathclyde police during student protests against education cuts in Glasgow, one during disturbances on Sauchiehall Street and the other at the end of a police kettle in George Square. The supporters were taken to Stewart Street police station and detained overnight, appearing at Glasgow district court on 10 December. A number of charges were brought, ranging from breach of the peace and obstruction to more serious charges of assaulting and obstructing police officers and attempting to rescue or assist the escape of a person in custody. After pleading not guilty to all counts, both were released on bail, one with a city centre restriction order. Both are due to reappear in court in January where they are facing possible jail sentences.
FRFI are urgently appealing for witness statements, video footage and photographs relating to the arrest on Sauchiehall Street and incidents at RBS on Gordon Street and Vodafone shops on Argyll Street and Buchanan Street. FRFI supporters were assaulted by police on Sauchiehall Street and it is key that statements are given to counter police accounts of the day´s events. Please contact Glasgow FRFI if you have any relevant information as soon as possible.
FRFI and our legal advisors are clear that this is targeted political policing. The two FRFI supporters detained were the only arrests on a day of action involving hundreds and had previously been the targets of police harassment for political activity by officers operating out of New Gorbals and Stewart Street police stations.
Today (10 December), the court hearing was moved to an earlier time and rushed through from the Sheriff to the District court in response to an FRFI mobilisation for supporters to attend the hearing originally planned for 2.30pm. Upon leaving the court, those arrested, their family members and supporters were stopped on the street by a vanload of uniformed police from Glasgow´s A-Division. PCs Colin Findlay, Claire Thompson and another officer (A500) involved in the previous day's protests took it upon themselves to aggressively question, intimidate and harass all those making their way home. Then at 5.30pm, another FRFI supporter was pulled over in his car by police in the southside of Glasgow.
FRFI is launching a defence campaign in support of the FRFI 2. Having opposed political policing and intimidation on the streets of Govanhill in Glasgow, we will stand up for all our rights as we mobilize against the budget cuts and organize in defence of the working class. Already in Glasgow, other activists are facing banning orders and prison sentences relating to political protest. The treatment of the Gaza demonstrators and now the student protestors in London demonstrate the centrality of this question to any emerging movement. FRFI Glasgow will be organizing an open meeting in January to discuss these issues and call on all interested parties to join us. We call for maximum unity in defence of all those attacked and imprisoned by the British state in its attempts to silence dissent.
Take Action - Note from SACC
SACC shares the view of FRFI and its legal advisors that this is targeted political policing. The charges that the two protestors are facing are facing are serious. This is an issue of UK-wide importance. The campaign in support of the FRFI 2 urgently needs all the support it can get.
Please send messages of support to Glasgow FRFI