Around 20 local anarchists, friends & badgers visited the HQ of the Bristol CID & Special Investigations at Sir Kenneth Steele House on Feeder Road in Bristol last Saturday 15th November. Officers operating from there have recently been visiting people’s homes and workplaces, harassing and putting pressure on local activists, musicians and their friends to become informants for the police. As a response, it was decided to turn the tables and start asking some questions of our own.
Armed with police style spotter cards displaying some of the ugly faces of Big Brother, our investigations began in the car park as decidedly nervous looking CID operatives arrived for their dirty work. Our unannounced presence seemed to produce a sort of mild panic for the first officer on the scene. Continue reading
On Saturday some Bristol AFed members and friends took the streets to express our Solidarity with the Ferguson, Mo. Since their community rose up to protest the police murder of an unarmed teenager, Mike Brown and the racist harassment they have suffered for years, they face near total repression at the hands of a militarised police force. We came out to add our voice in solidarity, and to amplify their views and their voice. The strength shown in resisting both the crack down and the attempts at pacification from politicians and self declared leaders has been inspiring. Continue reading
Things kick off (as in start that is, not, you know, kick off) with the Anti-Police harassment demonstration 6.30pm, Assembling at Newton Park, Old Market going to Trinity Police Station (MAP) Bring noise, banners, lanterns etc.
A little later in the evening some of us will be taking the short walk to the central fire station to support the FBU members who are staging a four hour strike as part of their fight to prevent the raising of their retirement age.
On Saturday at 12.30pm, the ‘Save Our City’ coalition of anticuts groupings in Bristol are organising a demo against George Ferguson and his plan to cut 1000 jobs, they’re making it a personal and will be protesting outside the Tobacco Factory bar/cafe that he owns and uses as his central bristol base. Facebook Event.
Finally, just down the road from the anti cuts demonstration over in East Street, our friends at Sol Fed have organised a picket of Santander beginning at 2.30pm. This is part of an international campaign of solidarity with a CNT member in Spain who was fired from his job at Santander for union organising, facebook event!
Hope to see you in the streets, let us know if you attend all four and we might give you a cookie.
Love & Rage,
Bristol Anarchist Federation
In recent months Avon and Somerset Police have drastically increased their attempts to harass and intimidate local activists. Using the excuse of a recent arson attack to launch a campaign against people they know had no involvement. This is part of a growing trend across the UK to clamp down on dissent and resistance. In the South West activists have been questioned without rights under anti-terror laws, harassed over the phone, followed round their own uni campuses, been visited at home and had friends/family/employers contacted by the police.
Its time we took a stand, in the streets, and showed that we are in solidarity with each other and will not be intimidated into silence. It is a time we can remember ALL those who have been on the receiving end of police harassment and violence.
Join us for a candle lit demonstration outside Trinity Road Police Station. Continue reading
Anarchists Detained by Counter-Terrorist Police on Return from Swiss Conference
For the past week, thousands of anarchists from across the world have been converging in St.Imier, Switzerland to celebrate the 140th anniversary of the founding of the Anarchist international. The gathering took the form of a festival and educational, with music, films and entertainment as well as workshops and discussions.
On returning from the St Imier gathering, two anarchists, one a member of the UK Anarchist Federation, were detained for nearly two hours at Heathrow by SO15 (counter-terrorist) intelligence who initially refused to identify themselves to the detainees. During the detention, the anarchists were told that their normal rights did not apply, and had their names, addresses, email addresses, DNA, photographs and fingerprints taken. The detained anarchists were also forced to sign forms – which may or may not be legal – waiving their rights to silence and a solicitor. Police also conducted a thorough search of personal possessions, photocopied literature and passports and took information from phones and cameras.
During the detention, the police constantly accused the anarchists of lying about involvement in criminal activity and alleged that they would be conducting follow-up police action against one of the detained anarchists. In addition to this, SO15 officers asked a number of inflammatory, irrelevant and offensive questions, including ‘what would you do if someone raped your mother?’ evidently in an attempt to cause emotional upset and illicit angry or violent responses. One member (28) who did not want to be named for fear of reprisals from the police, said “We were treated like criminals. I told them I went to the congress as I am an amateur journalist and I write articles about activism. They saw my note book, camera and Dictaphone but they said I was lying.” One officer said ‘You said you are an anarchist, I’ve seen anarchists on the news, they are violent, throw molotov cocktails and disrupt people’s lives not write articles”.
The counter terrorist officers either didn’t know or chose to ignore that, during the first day of the gathering, the International of Anarchist Federations (Of which the UK Anarchist Federation is a member) had issued a statement rejecting all terrorist tactics as a means of achieving an anarchist society.
In contrast to the actions of the UK security forces, the local press and residents in St.Imier reported very positively on the anarchist gathering.
With this incident, we are seeing a further slide towards political policing and the criminalisation of political ideologies. The two detained anarchists have not had any involvement in any illegal or violent activity, or any activity that would concern the counter-terrorist police. As in the past, when Metropolitan police called on people to give information about local anarchists ( Anarchists should be reported, advises Westminster anti-terror police | UK news | The Guardian ), anarchists suffered harassment for their political viewpoint.
As class-struggle anarchists, we believe that the state does little except serve the interests of the rich and powerful at the expense of ordinary people. This is seen clearly when people who hold views critical of the state are treated as criminals and terrorists. We seek to create a classless society, based on freedom, equality and co-operation. We believe in the capacity of ordinary people to run society themselves, without the interference of bosses or politicians. This incident was not in response to any crime and constitutes repression and criminalisation of a political ideology.
Anarchism is a political philosophy that seeks to build an egalitarian society in which mutual aid, co-operation and direct democracy replace capitalism and the state.
The St Imier Congress was a gathering of anarchists from all over the world to celebrate the 140th anniversary of the first international anarchist gathering in the Swiss town of St Imier in 1872.
The Anarchist Federation is a federation of class struggle anarchist-communists in the UK who seek to build an egalitarian society.