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WAKE UP! WAKE UP! IT'S YER THIRD BIRTHDAY SPECIAL...
Published in Brighton by Justice? - Brighton's Direct Action collective
Issue 144, Friday 21st November 1997
RUNAROUND"It's fucked our lives up. We had jobs, our kids went to school. Everything has just been turned upside down."
- A traveller on the scene in Lincolnshire
As Nazis marched through the streets of Dover last Saturday with police protection, protesting against Romany gypsies coming to Britain, travellers in this country were being treated as ‘unwanted guests’ in another police showdown of zero tolerance, culminating in the use of CS gas.
After weeks of being hounded through seven different counties, travellers eventually found a safe park up in Buckinghamshire for five weeks. Their children were in local schools and the majority had jobs sorted out for the Christmas period...
But then the eviction merry-go-round continued.
In 24 hours they were forced to drive nearly 200 miles by police, until tired, out of fuel and skint, they headed for a site in Twyford Wood, Lincolnshire. However, they were met by 100+ police from the Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire constabularly!
According to one traveller, the police refused to let the vehicles on site, "despite the fact that we were falling asleep at the wheel. They didn’t offer an alternative solution, They just wanted us out of their hair and for someone else to take the responsibility."
The travellers, exhausted and running out of fuel, refused to move. A stand-off ensued, during which police used CS sprays on several people. The police guidelines on the use of CS spray, which are distributed internally throughout all police forces, states that CS gas must only be used "...for a tactical advantage in a violent encounter...The incapacitant is primarily designed for dealing with violent subjects who cannot otherwise be restrained." Yet in this situation its use was, as solicitor Chris Johnson of McGrath & Co Solicitors told SchNEWS, "over zealous" and was "a complete overreaction to the situation." The Association of Chief Police Officers is the body responsible for the guidelines, so it’s interesting to note that Chief Inspector Bob Doyal, of Lincolnshire Police, is on the committee. Inspector George Mould glorified the incident, claiming the gas had "a brilliant effect" (or was that Hitler talking about the Jews?). It’s not surprising either to find out that the Lincolnshire police have only recently finished their training in the use of the spray - a bit over excited, maybe?
According to Chris Johnson, the police exceeded their powers again in setting up the road-blocks on the A1. He managed to persuade the police to allow the travellers to stay in a lay-by up the road in Elksley for the night. But first thing in the morning they were escorted all the way up to Selby, North Yorkshire. This is again only a temporary stay, as the land is private. As one distressed traveller told SchNEWS: "We are still owed money from our jobs we were forced to leave only a couple of days ago. None of this seems real. What the fuck are we doing in North Yorkshire?" Solicitors are calling for a full investigation into the travellers’ treatment.
Errrm... and the Romany gypsies are coming to England for a land of milk and honey.
Fascists Sent HomeLast week the full might of the National Front (NF) descended on Dover - yes a full sixty of them, perhaps on their way to literacy classes to learn how to spell (Did everyone spot their "gipsies go home" banners?) However they were seriously outnumbered by anti-fascists who despite the short notice manage to mobilise up to 300 people intent on spoiling their fun. They had hardly got a look at the White Cliffs before the police cut short their day trip saying they could no longer guarantee their safety. SchNEWS tried to find out why they were allowed to march in the first place.
Telephone Call Number One:"Hello, this is the Home Office press office."
"Could you tell me why the Home Secretary allowed the National Front to march in Dover?"
"The Home Secretary has no power to ban demonstrations, that power lies with the local Chief Inspector."
Telephone Call number Two:"Hello this is Kent Police press office."
"Hello, could you tell me why the N.F. were allowed to march in Dover?"
"The area commander has no power to ban demonstrations, that power lies with the Home Secretary."
"But the Home Office tell me power lies with the police."
"Well obviously the Home Office doesn’t understand the Public Order Act. Look chummy, it’s four days after the event, just what to review."
"Look, he can only ban a demonstration if he thinks there might be Public Disorder."
"I see, and in fact at this demonstration there was Public Disorder wasn’t there?"
Shoreham Campaigners Walk FreeThe four animal rights activists involved in the Shoreham live animal export protests yesterday walked free from jail. Mike Roberts, John Taylor and Geoff Chapman had their convictions for ‘conspirarcy to cause criminal damage’ quashed by the Court of Appeal who called the case "fatally flawed". A fourth man, Tony Daly had his sentence reduced but still walked free. They had all been jailed in May of this year in a six month £2 million trial which even the Judge at the time advised the jury to acquit. After three editors of Green Anarchist were last week sent to prison for three years each on conspirarcy aharges (see SchNEWS 143), the whole use of such a catch-all law must once again be questioned. The Shoreham campaigners were not actually charged with doing anything - just talking about it.As one activist told SchNEWS in May "the Campaign Against Live Freight helped organise a very successful campaign of direct action, and the powers that be invented trumped up charges to try to destroy the campaign."
The GANDALF defendants are starting their three year prison sentences. It’s up to us to give them as much support as possible. Saxon Burchnall-Wood CK4322, Steve Booth CK4323, Noel Molland CK4321 HMP Winchester, Romsey Rd. Winchester, SO22
SchNEWS Training DayDon’t forget our training day next Wednesday (26th) 12 noon at the Justice? office. Get down on writing, desk top publishing and databasing your favourite rag. Ring the office and book
Cowards and BulliesYes it’s official, on Wednesday Judge Graham Boal sentenced P.C. Paul Evans from Stoke Newington, Hackney,for assaulting a student on the eve of a festival, to six months saying, "You are a coward and a bully and you have brought shame on the force". A solicitor told SchNEWS. "Members of the public charged with these offences could expect six to twelve months but I would expect someone who was in a position of trust and respect (sic) to receive considerably more". Six other members of the same scum squad were cleared of all charges. On the night before the 1994 Hackney Homeless Festival, two police officers were called to a pub to investigate a vandalised slot machine. Despite admitting that they were not threatened in any way they called for assistance, this being provided by another twenty of Newingtons worst. A series of random beatings began after police chased a man they wrongly believed to have smashed the window of their car. A bystander was knocked to the ground then assaulted and arrested by a passing plod, his friend complained and was dragged to the ground, kicked in the groin then held to the floor by a boot on the face. P.C. Evans approached a group of people standing outside the pub saying, "I’ve never seen so much collected scum." One man remarked to a friend, "I couldn’t agree more". Evans then beat him to the ground with his torch. Another two who objected to this behaviour were also assaulted, arrested and taken to Stoke Newington police station where Evans continued to kick them about the head, demanding they "Call yourselves cunts" as he did so. A police photo showing the injuries to one man later went missing.The seven officers involved then got together in the station canteen where it took them an hour and twenty minutes to write their notes, claiming they had faced "an angry and violent mob". All arrested were acquitted and all charges dropped. The irony about this case is not that the police launched unprovoked attacks on the public, Stoke Newington have a history of this, but that one of their own who saw them fabricating their notes was so disgusted he blew the whistle. The local area complaint unit recommended that the seven officers be charged with ‘conspiracy to pervert the course of justice’ on the strength of his statement. But, surprise surprise, the Criminal Prosecution Service kept the existence of the officer and his statement from the jury. Neither was any mention made of the fact that these same officers were involved in an attack on a squatted pub or that they were also involved the day after in attacks on 29 members of the public at the festival. one a woman, suffered a broken arm another a man suffering from Spina Biffida. No-one who was attacked or arrested were ever convicted of any crime and a number are currently suing police. During 1987-94 alone, the Colin Roach Centre (set up after Colin Roach was shot dead in the foyer of Stoke Newington police st.), dealt with over 500 allegations of assault,the planting of evidence, police drug dealing and fit- ups.The centre also told us P.C. Evans is under investigation for nine other claims of assault against members of the public. It’s clear to SchNews that it’s not one apple, it’s the whole fucking barrel.
* Vocab Watch: Affray - The unlawful use or threat of violence/Conspiracy (not applicable to the police)
Empty ThreatAn old abandoned hotel has become the latest scene for the struggle of homeless people to use empty buildings. The Flamingo Motel in Santa Monica, USA is being occupied by more than 50 people who have declared it the Independant nation of Flamingo.
Santa Monica, in California is the richest state of the richest nation on earth but many people have nowhere to live, thanks to the result of property developers which have helped destroy low- income housing in the city.
The Flamingo Motel was one of the last places for transitional housing in the city for those who had become homeless, but was closed two years ago. As one resident put it: "The homeless activists, because of the failure of the government to provide assistance to needy citizens, have taken matters in to their own hands. The City of Santa Monica has, instead of responding to the problem, directed its police force to hound and harass homeless residents. They have made being poor and homeless a criminal offense." The police have arrested three people but widespread coverage has kept them at bay while the City Council decide to open cold weather shelters. More info http://www.radio4all.org.
Meanwhile a bit nearer home the new London Food not Bombs succeeded in serving up free hot vegetarian food for hungry and homeless people, at Halloween, in Imperial War Museum Park despite a day of harassment from police, park wardens and food hygiene inspectors. Around 60 people turned up for the meal which, it is hoped, will be the start of a regular series. An information stall provided literature about the Food not Bombs movement, squatting, and other relevant events and activities around London. Food not Bombs is a movement grew out from the States in the seventies and aims to promote community-based positive direct action while addressing the root causes of poverty and homelessness.
Meanwhile, the Empty Homes Agency has launched a hotline to identify the capital’s 120,000 empty homes. If you live next door to an empty property in London to call 870 9016303. And if anyone out there who wants to organise another Squatters Estate Agency why not subscribe to the Building Society Repossession List - "Britains largest list of repossessed vacant and unmodernised properties." It’s a bit pricey - a London and Home Counties Edition will cost you £80 for a month edition (£100 for the whole country). Give ‘em a call on 0181 262 7788 and try and blag them.
100 DaysThere are just nine days left to the international climate summit in Kyoto, Japan. But as multinational oil companies flex their corporate muscle and look set to scupper any reduction in CO2 emissions , the co-alition of groups involved in 100 days of action against the oil industry are keeping busy...
This week Greenpeace installed solar panels on the roof of Shell’s administration building in Luxembourg, as a payment for a £33,000 damages claim awarded against them for an earlier action against the company. Shell is a member of the Global Climate Coalition (GCC); the fossil fuel lobby group which is trying to de-rail the international climate negotiations, and Marcus Rand from Greenpeace told us "In October Shell announced its plans to conquer 10% of the global solar market. Yet these actions are completely contradictory with its membership of the Global Climate Coalition."
Anti-Hunt CampWe all know that drag-hunting is a humane alternative to fox hunting. But while the latter remains legal, is there a humane alternative to the often gruelling sport of hunt sabotage, with its characteristic mix of mud, mayhem and testosterone-filled hunt supporters? On Saturday November 29, the day after the first reading in Parliament of Mike Foster’s anti-hunt bill, hunt sabs in the Chiltern area will be standing proud, going out in drag themselves as they once again prevent the Vale of Aylesbury foxhunt from killing. Hunting folk will encounter sabs as they’ve never seen them before as wigs and make-up will be the order of the day. Slinking and mincing and making innuendoes. "I’d like to blow his horn!" You can come too: if you don’t like hunting, don’t get cross - cross-dress! Phone Doog on (01494) 465358 if you want a crack of the whip
and finally"The landscape is transexual!" so says The Listening Voice - the newsletter of the Equi-Phallic Alliance (EPA). "This revelation has shocked ‘mystical’ feminists and New Agers, for it means that the ‘Great Goddess’ is in fact a man and the land is only dressing up as a mother." But don’t worry the EPA promise to "remove its penis and testicles, fully feminishing the landscape...as yet, it wears its high heels awkwardly - the hills are mincing about...."!
SchNEWSnight Political CabaretSaturday Nov 22nd, 8:00 @ Lift Club, Queens Rd
disclaimerSchNEWS warns all readers not to and forget any ideas of freedom life’s a gas and remember all coppers are...honest.
Last updated 1 December 1997
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