Monthly Archives: November 2013

Is anti-fascism being criminalised? (IRR)

Reposted from the Institute of Race Relations

“An activist comments on the implications of recent arrests of anti-fascists at demonstrations opposing the English Defence League and the British National Party.

In the space of just over three months this year, police made upwards of 340 arrests of anti-fascists in London. Of the arrests made over two occasions, less than a dozen will proceed to trial. ‘No Further Action’ has been taken against the vast majority of those arrested, raising questions about the credibility of the grounds for arrest.

Anti-Fascist Network (AFN) in action

Anti-Fascist Network (AFN) in action

But Wednesday 6 November saw the first court date for five anti-fascists arrested on 1 June. All five pleaded not-guilty and will present a united defence case, in a five-day trial due to take place in April next year.

This trial could have important implications for anti-racist and anti-fascist campaigners, should opposition to far-right street movements be effectively criminalised. In a climate of resurgent anti-Muslim racism and attacks from the media and politicians on migrants and refugees, the police response to those campaigning against racism and fascism has, by any measure, been severe.

The background

On 27 May 2013, less than a week after the killing of Lee Rigby, the English Defence League (EDL) organised a protest outside Downing Street in central London. Estimates of the number of EDL supporters in attendance ranged from 1-3,000. A smaller number of anti-fascist demonstrators, around 600, were present to voice their opposition.

Toward the end of the protest and counter-protest, anti-fascists were forced to retreat under a hail of glass bottles, cans, sticks and other debris thrown by EDL supporters over the heads of the police and into the crowd of their detractors. Police said thirteen arrests were made over the day, but it was only by chance that the crowd of anti-fascists, which included wheelchair users and the very young, did not sustain any serious injuries.

Three days later, Nick Griffin, the leader of the British National Party (BNP), used Twitter to make a ‘personal appeal’ to EDL leader Tommy Robinson to join him on the BNP’s own anti-Islam protest the following Saturday.

Griffin had originally planned to hold a march from Woolwich barracks to the Lewisham Islamic Centre, but the Metropolitan Police used the Public Order Act to force the demonstration to relocate out of South London and to Whitehall. The BNP agreed to assemble instead at Old Palace Yard, close to the Houses of Parliament, and then march to the Cenotaph.

Arrests at the BNP protest

Arrests at the BNP protest

Anti-fascist activists again mobilised in response, this time significantly outnumbering their opponents. Hundreds linked arms and moved to blockade the path of the BNP and prevent them marching to the Cenotaph. After several hours, police moved to disperse the anti-fascists and facilitate the BNP march. ‘Snatch squad’ tactics were used to pick off demonstrators – who were then arrested and placed on London buses marked ‘special service’, to be driven to various police stations around London.

'Special service' buses used to detain arrested anti-fascists at the BNP protest

‘Special service’ buses used to detain arrested anti-fascists at the BNP protest

In contrast to the more timid policing of the EDL the previous Monday, fifty-eight anti-fascists were arrested. One woman was hospitalised with a broken leg, caused allegedly during her arrest by police. Restrictive pre-charge bail conditions were imposed on those arrested, preventing them from attending future protests against the BNP or the EDL.

Despite the arrests, the BNP were unable to complete their march, and left humiliated. On 7 September, however, the EDL returned to London – this time to the borough of Tower Hamlets. Again anti-fascists took to the streets to voice their opposition to the Islamophobic and racist politics of the EDL, and again the police responded by making mass arrests.

This time 286 arrests were made, including anti-fascists, legal observers and passersby. London buses were again used to send arrestees as far away as Sutton, where punitive pre-charge bail conditions were handed out en-masse. Information recently revealed under the Freedom of Information Act shows that the Metropolitan Police contacted Transport for London twelve days ahead of the planned march to inquire about hiring London buses. A booking with Sullivan Buses was confirmed by 29 August.

Anti-Fascists kettled in Tower Hamlets

Anti-Fascists kettled and arrested in Tower Hamlets

Should the anti-fascist protestors be convicted next year on a series of public order offences, it will set a worrying precedent. On the one hand, it would imply that positions and tactics of fascists and anti-fascists can somehow be equated. On the other, it could send out a warning signal to would be opponents of the EDL and BNP that they face criminalisation just for demonstrating. That is, if the arrests themselves – and the collection of names, addresses, DNA and fingerprints that accompanied them – have not already made the message clear.”

Original article (Institute of Race Relations) here

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Jailed mosque blaze pair ‘went on marches with EDL’

TWO men who set fire to a mosque met at Hester’s Way Library in Cheltenham and went on English Defence League marches together, a court was told.

Clive Ceronne, 37, and Ashley Juggins, 21, were former members of the controversial group before starting the blaze at Masjid-E-Noor in Ryecroft Street, Gloucester.

Gloucester Crown Court was told yesterday the pair had been driving around and shouting abuse at Muslims on the evening before the arson.

Ceronne was jailed for four-and-a-half years and Juggins for three-and-a-half after the pair pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered.

Juggins, of Brooklyn Road, in Cheltenham, poured petrol on the mosque’s steps before sparking a rag and setting it alight, causing £3,200 damage.

CCTV stills from the attack

CCTV stills from the attack

The blaze came 27 days after the death of Drummer Lee Rigby, who was killed in Woolwich.

Prosecutor Peter Coombes said: “Ceronne used to work for P&L Security and was posted to Hester’s Way Library where they met.

“His previous employer said Juggins told people that Ceronne had taken him to an EDL rally and had expressed anti-Muslim views to his boss, but also said he had changed his views now.”

In mitigation, Dermot Clarke said Juggins was first introduced to the EDL marches four years ago, but had since stopped taking part.

Mr Clarke said: “He left after two years because, in his own words, he describes the meetings as degenerating into no more than throwing things at the police, however he remained in contact with Ceronne.

“I would be doing him a disservice if I did not mention the influence. He was unemployed, lacking sophistication and befriended by an older man that perhaps had an agenda.”

Since being remanded in prison, Juggins was said to have attended church three times a week.

The court was told Ceronne of Redwood Close in Gloucester had been the county’s divisional officer of the New British Union.

The group is said to be styled on Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists, which was banned in the 1940s, after it aligned itself with Nazi Germany.

On its website, Ceronne claimed to have been involved in “far right cults, including the EDL”.

Joe Maloney, for Ceronne, said: “He has had time to reflect on his beliefs, which is not to say he will change his beliefs, drastically over- night.”

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Gloucester mosque arson attack: Two men jailed

Two men have been jailed for an arson attack on a mosque in Gloucester.

Masjid-E-Noor mosque, Gloucester

Masjid-E-Noor mosque, Gloucester

Petrol was poured around the door of the Masjid-E-Noor mosque on Ryecroft Street and set on fire in June.

Ashley Juggins, 20, and Clive Ceronne, 37, previously admitted arson with reckless endangerment to life.

Clive Cerrone and Ashley Juggins

Ceronne and Juggins

Juggins, of Brooklyn Road, Cheltenham was sentenced to 42 months in prison, while Ceronne, of Gloucester was jailed for 54 months at Gloucester Crown Court.

The court was told the damage to the mosque had been minimal but that was due “more [to] luck than judgement”.

The attack happened days after an open day was held at the mosque to welcome local people.

Link


Report on action against Neo-Nazi’s in London (via London Anti-Fascists)

“On Saturday 9th November, notorious fascists and neo-nazi has-beens called a demonstration in support of the jailed leadership of the murderous neo-nazi Golden Dawn party at the Greek Embassy in London.

A Neo-Nazi Golden Dawn flag goes up in smoke

A Neo-Nazi Golden Dawn flag goes up in smoke

Over 40 militants from the AFN responded in a co-ordinated action to send a strong message to those attending or thinking about attending neo-nazi and racist demonstrations – that they are not welcomed and they will be opposed. The message was spelt out to them with a “frank discussion” before the demonstration. For all their talk of “smashing the reds” not one of the 12 fascists said a word, instead the sense of shear fear on their faces would hopefully make an impression and knock some sense in the younger attendees that were present. Around 5 of the younger fascists were escorted out of the pub onto trains by AFN militants and told to fuck off home.

After we had left the remaining fascists, who had hoped for a large police presence at their pub but with none insight, pleaded with community support officers to escort them to the demo as they were too afraid to leave. They ended up getting taxis to the embassy.

Flames of resistance

Flames of resistance

Our aim was to never attend or call a counter-protest, if we had we would have had given the 30-35 odd balls that turned up a sense of importance and the cops more intel. The location of the embassy and the high police presence meant that any counter protest would have been completely in the control of the cops. Different situations require different tactics.

After the action, seized Golden Dawn Flags were burned. We give our total solidarity to our working class brothers and sisters in Greece, the many migrants who are struggle against racist and fascism and to our Brother Pavlos who was murdered by Golden Dawn members.

London – always anti-fascist!”

London Anti-Fascists ( AFN )

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