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Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective

Issue 138, Friday 10th October 1997

"They treated him like an animal...

...these people are not human and need to be brought to justice."
- Kura Njie, cousin of Ibrahima Sey

Family members and campaigners have called for the withdrawal of CS Spray from all police forces following the killing of Ibrahima Sey in police custody last year. They are also demanding the prosecution of the police officers involved in his death after an inquest jury returned a verdict of unlawful killing last Thursday (2nd).

Mr. Sey, a 29 year-old Gambian asylum seeker and former international football player, died in the early hours of 16th March 96. He had been sprayed with CS gas and ‘restrained’ by several officers whilst handcuffed within the custody suite of Ilford police Station. Mr. Sey’s window Amie Sey believes her husband was murdered by the police and condemned the way in which they sought to cover up an incident which has left her two children fatherless. In a statement on behalf of the family Kura Njie, said "We have endured the worse eighteen months of our lives waiting for the truth to emerge and to hear the exact circumstances of Ibrahima’s death. It is an outrage and a crime that he was treated so brutally by those who claim to defend the public."

Mr. Sey’s death came just two weeks into the six-month long trial of the sprays by selected forces across the country. Despite his death Michael Howard declared the trails a complete success - which of course it was, if your aim is to help the police kill off as many ‘suspects’ as possible.

The official cause of death was ‘positional asphyxia’ but this does not reveal the true story. Mr Sey was arrested by seven officers from Forest Gate, taken to nearby Ilford police station with his friend Pa Ebou Ndimbalam, where he was handcuffed, placed in a "restraining" hold and then had so much gas solvent sprayed in his face that it was literally dripping from his mouth and led him to begin swallowing the solution. When he collapsed he was left laying face down on the custody room floor with the police standing around, one copper even swapping over the handcuffs so that he would not have to do any overtime once they realised something was wrong.

The verdict of unlawful killing follows an eighteen month justice campaign organised by the Newham Monitoring Project (NMP) an anti-racist community organisation that campaigns against racist attacks and police harassment,. Within days of the death the campaign had organised a public meeting, a three hundred strong picket of the police station and an angry march of over one thousand people between Forest Gate and Ilford Police Stations.

The family and supporters who had packed the gallery throughout the five week long inquest had been particularly angered by the testimony of the police. The WPC who had actually sprayed Mr. Sey sought sympathy from the jury by explaining how horrible it was to have members of the local community calling you a murder and that the stress of it all had given her "terrible acne." Family friend Pa Ebou Ndimbalam was left waiting in the police station for four hours thinking Mr. Sey was in the cells when he was actually lying dead in hospital. Even then they insisted on interviewing him (which they had no legal right to do) before telling him of Mr. Sey’s death. Evidence of the cause of death was clouded by the fact that the CCTV cameras in the station were "not working" at the time. The police doctors first claimed that he had died of "heart disease" but they subsequently changed it to "excited delirium" a term used in the Victorian era meaning that your mental equilibrium is disturbed and you get so worked up that you literally drop dead!

Chair of the NMP Barry Mussenden, told SchNEWS "It is ridiculous to see the way in which the increasing numbers of black people dying in police custody are being consistently ignored. When the police were issued with American style long handled batons in 1995 we predicted another Rodney King style case and within a month Brian Douglas died from a blow to the head. We made with same prediction with CS Spray and this time it only took two weeks. As far as we are concerned the police are the real criminals and they should be disarmed."

  • Following NMP’s Ibrahima Sey memorial Campaign the organisation were accused by the police of using public money to fund political activities. Predictably the council responded by cutting their grant. The NMP are now helping another black family where father, mother and four month old baby were all sprayed with CS gas by Forest Gate Police. Contact Newham Monitoring Project, PO Box 273, Forest Gate, London E7 0181 555 8151.
  • March For Justice - called by the Movement for Justice - against police harassment and deaths in custody. Meet 1pm Brixton Oval (opp. Lambeth Town Hall). Details: 0976 916956. PO Box 16581, London SW2 2ZW


U.S. Crap Arrests of the Week

For carrying signs and chanting slogans, singing songs and taking photographs. On the morning of July 7th, 29 American Earth First!ers were nicked in Wisconsin, while protesting against the proposed Wolf River Exxon/Rio Algom Corp. metallic sulphide mine. Protesters were charged with"Unlawful Assembly" and "Criminal Trespass."

Once in handcuffs, people were bussed hundreds of miles to six different jails in six counties. Some were placed in solitary confinement, others were denied access to telephones or water. None were allowed to speak to a lawyer. Bail hearings did not come for two days after the arrests and bail was set between $350 and $500.

Exxon and other mining corporations have successfully biased the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, influenced the State Legislature, dismantled environmental watchdogs, interfered in local politics, disrupted Indian communities and spent millions of dollars on a public relations blitz with TV, print and radio ads. All to make a quick buck extracting mineral wealth which has lain untouched for millennia - minerals such as like copper, gold, uranium, zinc, lead, mercury, arsenic, chromium and sulphides.

The resistance to metallic sulphide mining in Wisconsin has been extensive, especially because of its effect on locally produced foods, such as soybeans, cranberries, ginseng, maple sugars, potatoes and more is shipped out around the world, and Lake Superior is home to 20% of the world’s freshwater reserves.

  • EF! July 7th Support Committee c/o UW Greens/Midwest Headwaters EF!, 731 State Street, Madison, WI 53703 or check out EarthWINS web pages at http://www.menominee.com/nomining/.
  • For more info on EF! campaigns in this country and around the world subscribe to the EF! Action Update tel: 0161 2244846.



On Weds. 8th October several UK EF! activists erected banners outside the Oxford homes of Directors of BP and Texaco Ltd. They also handed out leaflets reading "Severe Weather Warning" documenting the causes and problems of global warming, and promoted sustainable energy resources as an alternative to oil. A recent central London oil conference was also disrupted in the run up to the Kyoto Climate Change conference. One activist dressed as an "oil bride" threw herself at John Battle MP, Minister of State for Energy, to symbolise the intimate relationship between this government and the oil industry.
  • For info on 100 days of action SAE to Box CW, 111 Magdalen Rd., Oxford, OX4 1RG. Phone 0171 8658234. Email: 100days@waveland.org


Bunch of Bankers

The Kebele not-for-profit squatted community centre in Bristol has been served its eviction orders. On September 23 ownership of the building passed from the Bristol One Parent Project to Lloyds Bank. John from Kebele told SchNEWS "Despite attempts to negotiate a future for the building as a housing co-op with them, Lloyds intend to auction the property, which is worth very little and will almost certainly stand empty until it is knocked down and replaced with something cheap, ugy and profitable. Several other houses on Robertson Road are already empty and bricked up after squatters were evicted earlier this year." He added "There is strong support within the inner city community of Easton for Kebele. We firmly believe that it is time to put people before profit, to continue demonstrating that an anarchic existence can be achieved in this ‘society’." If you want to help resist the eviction, contact (0117) 9399469.



Last week the Labour Party delegates were surprised to see half a dozen mutant veggies, including a radish, marrow and a beef tomato with horns dishing out the dirt about genetics. Meanwhile as part of the Global Days of Action against genetic engineering people stripped off on the roof of Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH) - the advertising agency trying to paint a rosy picture of nasty mutant soya bean makers Monsanto. They asked for the bare facts to be disclosed and called for an end to ‘the genetics cover up’. Please don’t ring BBH on 0171 734 1677 and make deformed gestures down the phone. Monsanto are also involved in a joint venture with ForBio who have developed supertrees that grow faster, straighter and larger than their conventional counterparts which can be handled by a three-armed robot which will be able to produce 750 embryonic trees an hour. Three of the robot assembly lines can generate millions of genetically modified seedlings a year. The elite seedlings will sell for up to ten times the price of conventional seedlings.


Diary Dates

  • Oct 17th - World Day for Overcoming Extreme Poverty. Events 0171 703 3231
  • Watch out for ‘Major Resistance - The Underground Tapes’, two 30 minute prgrammes about protest under the Tories to be broadcast on Oct 19, and Oct 26 at12.30am on C4.
  • Sat Oct 25th: Liberty and Earthrights are hosting a meeting to discuss a litigation strategy for protest and public order, open to all lawyers and activists involved in protests, particularly direct action campaigns, and those with direct experience of the criminal justice system. NB this is NOT an all-purpose discussion of protest and the law. Wanna go? Call 0171 357 8689 asap, and leave a contact address or number so they can send details.
  • ‘Raise Your Banners’ - ‘the Festival of Political Song’ is happening in Sheffield from 31st October - 2nd November, with 11 choirs, theatre, poetry, films, childrens events and people like Billy Bragg, Fun- da-mental, Atilla the Stockbroker and the Tofu Love Frogs. Programme from PO Box 44, Sheffield, S4 7RN or tel:0114 249 5185
  • ‘Shared Planet’ Europe’s largest student gathering in world poverty, human rights and the environment takes place at Warwick Univ. Arts Centre on October 25-26th 01865 245678
  • Sat 1st November - Reclaim The Streets in Oxford, meet Lower South Park, East Oxford @ 12 noon


SchNEWS in Brief

  • Hague may look uncannily like a foetus, but what if our leaders took the lead of some Brazilian politicians? You may remember SchNEWS telling you that a goat called Smelly was elected to the city council of Pernambuco in 1954, but did you know that just 5 years later a female rhino was elected to serve on the municipal council in Sao Paolo...by 50,000 votes. It’s true. Honest.
  • Texaco pulls out of Burma! the US oil giant announced that they were to sell their stake in a natural gas project off Burma’s coast in a major coup for the Burmese democracy movement and supporters worldwide. This follows Clinton’s decison to bar new investment in the military-ruled Burma. Multinational oil company investment in Burma provides the largest legal source of foreign currency to the regime
  • Success in the Lancashire hills as North West Water back down over plans to build a theme park in Lever Park, which was given to the people in 1902 to be free for all time, after a campaign by locals and Green Party activists. They are now attempting to negotiate with the Action Group, who are trying to buy (or get for free) NWW’s stake.
  • There are plans to develop what will be Europe’s largest indoor Ski Centre next to Pennington Flash near Wigan, a site of special biological interest. The domed building will be 230ft high, with space for 3000 cars. There will be the usual shops, cinema, an aquatic centre and the Snow Centre which will produce real artificial snow burning 2050 cubic metres of gas every hour to fuel the refrigerator. Wigan Borough Council (01942 44991), who own the site and are pushing it through
  • The FBI and NSA are lobbying for a 5 year prison sentence for any American that uses encryption on the Internet that the US security services can’t read. If they suceed it is expected that governments worldwide will follow suit!
  • The Earth First! periodical Do or Die has dropped the letter ‘e’ from its name in honour of Lady D
  • Huntingdon Life Sciences, the company at "the leading edge of biological research", and currently subject to an animal rights encampment outside its premises, is looking for a new Marketing Officer. Interested? Then send a CV with a covering letter to The Personnel Officer, Huntingdon Life Sciences, PO Box No 2, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE18 6ES. Closing date 20th October. Go on, it could even keep the Welfare to Work officials off your back.
  • Eat yer mash and save water - is the latest advice from a Cornall University researcher who has been calculating the amounts of water needed to produce the world’s staple foods. More than 1900 litres of water are needed to grow a kilo of rice, whereas the same amount of potatoes only need 500 litres of water. This pales into insignificance when you compare how much water is needed to make a kilo of beef - 100,000 litres!
  • The Rollright Stone circle is safe! Last month saw the Rollright Stones Appeal bid for the site, but were pipped to the post by Nat Le Roux and Nick Cavalla, two city types. They have, however, decided to set up a charitable trust (very handy for tax purposes!) to preserve the Neolithic site, with the backing of The Rollright Appeal. Details: PO Box 333, Banbury, Oxfordshire OX16 8XA
  • The disused Radstock to Frome railway line looks set to be trashed if Beazer Homes get their way...

Oh God, Not More!

  • ...the company, owned by Hanson plc (SCUM), plan to build houses roads and another bloody supermarket on the site. Camp has been set up and a treehouse already erected. The site also has superb access for living vehicles. Details: 01761 432273.
  • Westminster Council (0171 828 8070) is considering ‘housing’ up to 210 asylum seekers in a floating hotel formerly used by oil workers.
  • The Environment Agency have been lobbing multi coloured cucumbers into the Irish sea...in order to find out why sheep shit keeps floating ashore Blackpool beach. Apparently cucumbers float under the surface of the water and are driven by tidal flow, rather than by the wind.
  • The spoilsport government of the Northern Italian state of Como have written to managers urging them to ban morning coffee breaks for their workers in a bid for a more efficient workforce. The letter states, "...to drink a coffee during work hours is a flagrant violation of office duties." SchNEWS say, "....to drink a coffee during work hours is the only way we get anything done!"
  • On or around 14 Sep, the fences around Greenham Common were snipped back and pulled down, five years after the last nuclear missiles were withdrawn form the base. The area will now revert to common land, although some areas will be off limits for safety reasons. Local MP David ‘hypocrite’ Rendel claimed credit for the Greenham women by telling ITN, "We’ve now finally got it back. It’s no less than our due and we are going to make good use of it." SchNEWS asks what about the land being trashed by his beloved Newbury Bypass, couldn’t that be better used?
  • A discarded cigarette was the probable cause of the fire which destroyed the luxury home of the president of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco in Wilmington, North Carolina.
  • More than 200 Taiwanese anti-nuclear activists braved rough seas in 106 fishing vessels to stage a mass blockade in protest against a planned nuclear power station. The $4 billion American project originally got the go ahead in 1994, but was halted last May due to pressure from activists and opposition politicains. It was revived only five months later by the ruling National Party. Two reactors will arrive at the site before the end of the year.
  • Seventy Italian anarchists have been arrested and charged with membership of a non-existent "Insurrectional Anarchist Revolutionary Organisation" Info Solidaritatskommittee Italien c/o Infoladen Munchen, Breisacherstr.12, 81667 Munchen, Germany Web http://www.ecn.org/zero/anarchy
  • SchNEWS are compiling a map and diary of actions that have taken place since January for the next SchNEWs annual. So we don’t make mega gaffes and miss stuff out, send us details to the usual address.


and finally

Two Texans were stopped by astonished customs officers when they noticed a strange wriggling in the men’s underpants. When asked to drop their trousers, customs officers found a wriggling mass of illegally imported rare snakes wrapped around their groins. They pleaded guilty to illegal importation of wildlife and handed over the snakes wrapped in a pair of tights. SchNEWS has not been able to confirm that the men were allowed to keep the common trouser snake...



The SchNEWS warns all readers never to... Always. Never. Honest.


Stop the Store Alliance! Flannel + Tit for Tat + Bob @ The Richmond Mon 13th Oct. 9-1 pm £3/2.50 to stop a proposed Sainsbury’s behind Brighton Station.

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Last updated 22 October 1997
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SchNEWS Web Team (schnews-web@brighton.co.uk)