Thursday, 30 December 2010

Free speech rally on 8 January

A supporter of FRFI learned on 30 December he is facing criminal prosecution for selling the newspaper Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!, and is due to appear in court in Glasgow on 17 January 2011. We believe this citation to be politically motivated and an open attempt to undermine our ability to organise against the attacks on living standards in our communities. In response we are calling for a rally in defence of free speech in Glasgow city centre on Saturday 8 January. We call upon all individuals and groups to attend and show support. It will be an open megaphone for all those who wish to participate.

Free speech rally

Saturday 8 January 12-2pm
Donald Dewar statue,
Near the Royal Concert Hall, Buchanan Street Glasgow.

Called by the Glasgow Defence Campaign, and supported by Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! and others.  

No to political policing! Fight the cuts! All power to the people!

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Saturday, 11 December 2010

FRFI supporters arrested on student protests in Glasgow


Contact: Glasgow FRFI                                                           
Tel: 07779 785 529


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 Argyle 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 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.

For more information, please see

Friday, 5 November 2010

Ken Loach supports campaign against police tasers!

Renowned film director and socialist Ken Loach has recently been in Govanhill talking to young people for an upcoming project based in Glasgow. An activist from the Govanhill Defence Campaign spoke to the great film maker down at the Govanhill Youth Project and asked him to support the campaign. After reviewing the material, he replied by email with a message of support:

To: Govanhill Defence Campaign

I support your campaign to oppose the carrying of Taser stun guns by police officers on patrol.

Good wishes,
Ken Loach

Dundee Trades Council supports KFC campaign

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

No to police tasers!

Over the last few months, Fight Racism! Fight imperialism! supporters have come under harassment and intimidation from Strathclyde police officers in Govanhill, with material seized, supporters charged, attempts to carry out illegal stop and searches and    turning up to people’s flats. The Govanhill Defence Campaign was formed to stand up against this. We argued from the start that police are gearing up to attack any communities and political groups which move to seriously oppose the coming spending cuts— cuts which will hit the working-class and poorest the hardest.

On 22 September, we got a taste of what’s to come. A Chief Inspector known to FRFI was in Lidl supermarket on Victoria Road handing out a ‘public      perception survey’ to local shoppers. It asked: ‘how does knowing that some local officers could carry a Taser on patrol make you feel?’

What the police survey didn’t tell you was that the United Nations Committee Against Torture (CAT), concluded on November 23, 2007, that: "TASER   electronic stun guns are a form of torture that can kill." Police taser guns have played a part in the death of more than 270 people between June 2001 and October 2007 in the United States. Strathclyde police now want to put them in the hands of regular police officers across Glasgow.

This has nothing to do with ‘making communities safer.’ Chief Superintendent Derek Barnett recently stated: "In an environment of cuts across the wider public sector, we face a period where disaffection, social and industrial      tensions may well rise...We will require a strong, confident, properly trained and equipped police service..."

Tasers guns will not be used against the real criminals: those corrupt politicians, profiteering bankers and employers, slum landlords. The real threat to the working-class comes exactly from what the police are there to protect: the status quo. We must unite now against these  attacks...white,black, Asian or Roma, everyone is under threat.

No to police tasers!
No to attacks on our communities!

Friday, 3 September 2010

Charges dropped against two GDC supporters

On 24 August, two GDC supporters previously charged received letters from the office of the Procurator Fiscal stating that the charges against them had this time been dropped. 

The GDC has sought independent legal advice from two local solicitors, which both affirmed that work on the streets, with stalls, newspapers and leaflets should continue and that no laws were being broken. Solicitors also confirmed that Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! is entitled now to receive the material previously seized and held in production by cops at the New Gorbals Police Office.

The response of the police remains to be seen and all political activists must continue to be vigilant.The GDC which will once again be outside Lidl on Victoria Road, Govanhill this Saturday from 12.30 - 3pm. We urge other groups and campaigns to come along and stand in defence of democratic rights. Solicitors will be on stand-by should the police once again attempt to harass people.

Formal complaints and possible legal action against the police by the GDC is now being explored.

GDC update: policing politics

On Monday 23 August, three supporters of the Govanhill Defence Campaign met with Chief Inspector Stephen McAllister, Area Commander at the New Gorbals Police Office, following his requests for a meeting.

GDC supporters did not attend the meeting with a view to convincing the police of the campaign's aims or political arguments. It was the Chief Inspector himself who felt the need to defend the actions of his officers.
In the CI's view, what has been happening in Govanhill was a "minor incident" which had "grown arms and legs". He was especially concerned that we should view the events in the southside as harassment and political policing, strenuously stating that Strathclyde police was an "apolitical organisation", that to view the seizing of newspapers and charging of activists as political was a "nonsense" and that it was a "huge leap of the imagination to think that Strathclyde Police are against work in opposition to racism and fascism."

The Chief Inspector is entitled to his views. But to anyone involved in progressive political organisation, the reality is clear beneath the slick public-relations exercise of community policing. To those local residents who faced hundreds of police officers, mounted charges and helicopter surveillance as police forcefully ended the occupation of Govanhill baths in 2001, the idea of a political police is no "nonsense". To those asylum-seekers in Glasgow dawn-raided and their supporters criminalised, it is no leap of the imagination to think the police are hostile to anti-racist action. Across the land, from the brutal attacks on Gaza protesters to the death of Ian Tomlinson at the hands of a masked police officer during the G20 in London, the police are exposing their role in the front-line of suppressing dissent.

The CI thought it "ironic" that the GDC was claiming that human rights were being violated while apparently violating the human rights of his officers by placing their names and photographs on the internet. He requested that in the spirit of co-operation, these were removed.

There is indeed much that is "ironic" about all this. The names and photographs of Strathclyde police officers are available online on the police's own websites. GDC activists filmed on a stalls on Victoria Road from a mobile van are yet to receive copies of the footage. Names and addresses of activists were demanded by police under threat of arrest. Anyone attending political demonstrations is filmed by police, regardless of the peaceful, legal nature of an event. We will not let the police hide behind the shield of anonymity and will continue to expose the officers involved. 

The GDC will continue taking the fight for democratic rights to the streets. The recent decision by Glasgow city council to impose severe limitations on marches and parades through the city centre (lumping together supremacist Orange parades with trade union marches) shows this is a fight that will increasingly come to affect all of us. If opposition to attacks on the public sector and the living standards of the working-class as a whole is to be built, these attacks on democratic rights must be challenged.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

First victory for Govanhill Defence Campaign

First victory for Govanhill Defence Campaign
On Saturday 14 August, the Govanhill Defence Campaign (GDC) won its first victory for democratic rights and against police harassment of progressive campaigns in Govanhill. The necessity and possibility of standing up to the bullying tactics of Strathclyde police was demonstrated on the streets. The first time since the GDC was established that stalls were held in Govanhill, no activists were charged and no material was seized, despite the presence of police.
Stalls from Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! and the Glasgow Solidarity Network, as well as local residents and other supporters set-up outside Lidl on Victoria Road, distributing literature against police harassment, the government’s attacks on working-class communities and meetings for the local solidarity network. The previous week, this simple, legal act was met with the deployment of six officers and a CCTV van to wrongfully charge FRFI activists with ‘illegal street trading’ and seize 27 copies of an anti-racist newspaper.
This Saturday, a meatwagon with three officers and a Chief Inspector, arrived to the stalls within half an hour. However, this time, there was no claim that activists were breaking any laws. No-one was charged, no material was seized. The Chief Inspector had the cheek to ask if we had received any “hassle”.  After loitering around in front of the stalls for 15 minutes, the officers left and activists continued speaking to local residents and building support for their campaigns.
The Govanhill Defence Campaign is clear. Recent events are clearly political in nature and can only be fought through a political battle on the streets. The police are now aware that their harassment will be met with organised, public opposition and now have to think carefully about whether or not to pursue their current course. It is not the law which changed from the previous Saturday. It is the establishment of the GDC which has made the difference.

The next period will undoubtedly see resistance arising from working-class areas to the devastating attacks planned on communities across the city. As the Save Our Pool campaign in Govanhill showed back in 2001, the police will be in the front line of suppressing this resistance. The GDC will continue fighting for the democratic right of all political and local community groups to build organisation on the streets, whatever the opinion of the police and their political masters.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Govanhill Defence Campaign: launch statement

The Govanhill Defence Campaign has been formed in order to build the maximum unity of all progressive and democratic organisations, groups and people to defend and extend our political rights.

No to political policing! Yes to our political rights!
Socialists, anti-racists and supporters of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! have been on the receiving end of organised police interference with political expression and organisation. 3 people have now been charged with distributing a newspaper without a licence. Activists leafleting at the Job Centre have had personal details demanded of them while anti- fascists have been questioned and monitored as they met.

FRFI supporters were outside Lidl supermarket in Govanhill on Tuesday 13 July. They were protesting at the budget cuts planned by this government. The police approached, seized material and charged people involved. They have since revisited the street stalls and made further charges.

Police harass activists, 7 August

The Govanhill Defence Campaign is determined that the police will not get away with this undemocratic bullying without a public fightback against their behaviour. We assert that they have no legal basis for their actions and are actually contravening sections 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights which guarantees freedom of political expression and association. We demand the dropping of all charges, the return of material and police respect for the law by ending their harassment and interference.

Support the Govanhill Defence Campaign
Already the campaign has the support of Scotland Against Criminalising Communities, the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! / Revolutionary Communist Group and individuals from Solidarity.

Support the campaign by signing up to this statement, publicising the challenge to police interference in political organisation. Invite speakers from the campaign to your events and meetings. Raise the matter with your union, councillors, MSPs, MPs and MEPs. Join the campaign and have a say in how it is run to keep it open, active and democratic. Come to the protests, send observers, messages of support and solidarity. Send complaints to Strathclyde Police to demand they end political policing.


For more information or to join the campaign, email or phone 07734 348 065

 Please link to and post on the blog to show your support for the campaign

Govanhill Defence Campaign established!

The Govanhill Defence Campaign has been established following political policing and attacks on democratic rights in the Govanhill area of Glasgow. Check here for further information.
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