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 govanhill_defence_campaign@yahoo.co.uk 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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