Tag Archives: Violence

EDL supporters sentenced to 60 years for Walsall disorder

31 men from across the country, aged between 18 and 59, have been given sentences totalling 60 years and eight months for their part in the 2012 disorder which broke out in Walsall following an English Defence League demonstration.

Over 600 supporters of the EDL held a demonstration in the town centre on 29 September last year. A counter demonstration was also held nearby by the Unite Against Fascism group. Police officers had to keep the two groups apart.

EDL Walsall 2012

EDL supporter injured by his own side in Walsall 2012

A number of officers and EDL stewards were injured when the atmosphere turned hostile and supporters of the EDL threw missiles at the police.

The following men have been sentenced at Wolverhampton Crown Court for their part in the disorder:

Douglas Ralston (53) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 20 months

Darron Davies (49) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 22 months

Neil MacDiarmid (50) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 15 months

Alan Turnbull (32) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 26 months

Stephen Currien (30) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 28 months

Lee Rogers (26) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 24 months

Gary Lycett (55) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 26 months

Jack Lambert (25) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 14 months

Michael Thomas (49) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 28 months

Jack Clark (22) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 16 months

Christopher Boyall (31) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 24 months

Benjamin Banfield (35) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 20 months

Mark Baker (44) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 21 months

Dean Lidster (44) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 28 months

Craig Forward (38) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 25 months

Stephen Bennett (23) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 20 months

Christopher Jelley (28) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 22 months

Myles Smith (39) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 24 months

Nicholas Cooper (28) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 27 months

Peter Kirkham (30) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 14 months

Mark Conroy (35) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 30 months

Kirk Reeves (40) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 18 months

Richard Schulz (38) – found guilty after trial to violent disorder and sentenced to 42 months

Dean Smith (33) – found guilty after trial to violent disorder and sentenced to 27 months

John Cureton (48) – found guilty after trial to violent disorder and sentenced to 36 months

Kirk Jones (28) – found guilty after trial to violent disorder and sentenced to 33 months

Ronald Hatton (59) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 20 months, suspended for two years and 200 hours unpaid work.

Leslie Silk (37) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 18 months, suspended for two years with 200 hours unpaid work.

Samuel Phipps (18) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 16 months, suspended for two years, 200 hours unpaid work.

Duncan Smith (43) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 20 months, suspended for two years, 200 hours unpaid work.

Lee Coxshall (aged 34) – pleaded guilty to violent disorder and sentenced to 14 months, suspended for two years and ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work.

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“On 29 September, the English Defence League had arranged for their supporters from around the country to assemble in Walsall for a demonstration. It is the right of anyone to hold a peaceful assembly and Article 10 of the European Commission for Human Rights provides the right for freedom of expression; however, on that day, the supporters of the EDL went far beyond freedom of expression or a peaceful assembly.

Fuelled by hate and alcohol, a section of the group, instigated by key figures within the demonstration, began to direct their anger towards the counter demonstration. As police then sought to contain the group, supporters of the EDL began throwing missiles.

Police officers were then exposed to some of the worst violence that they have been subjected to in a public order situation. Concrete slabs, bricks and a table leg were among some of the various items which were used as weapons and thrown at the officers.

Those engaged in such reprehensible conduct paid little regard to what they were doing or who they were attacking, as during their orgy of violence, a number of their own EDL stewards, as well as police officers, were seriously injured.

A year on from those violent scenes those responsible for their actions that day have been arrested, brought to justice and now they have to face the consequences for their actions.”

– Robin Allen, Senior Crown Prosecutor from West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service

Link

Full sized mugshot gallery here

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32 in court to be sentenced over Walsall EDL violence (+ updates)

Men were found guilty of violent disorder after protesters clashed with police in September 2012

www.birminghammail.co.uk 2013-12-16 12 49 32

Thirty two men will appear in court this week to be sentenced after violence erupted at an English Defence League demonstration in Walsall last year.

Over a period of four days the defendants will all appear at Wolverhampton Crown Court for their final hearing, after being convicted of violent disorder earlier this year.

The men were arrested and charged following an investigation by West Midlands Police Force CID following violence in Walsall town centre on September 29, 2012.

A series of operations were staged across the country to arrest people suspected of involvement in the disorder, which broke out when members of the protest group tried to break through police lines.

image-2-for-edl-in-walsall-protests-by-the-english-defence-league-gallery-840371998-217789

A further 17 men have already appeared before magistrates where they have been sentenced for crimes ranging from public order offences to criminal damage.

Det Chief Insp Pete Dunn, who led the police investigation into the disorder, said: “The majority of the people who visited Walsall to protest that day were law-abiding.

“However a small number of people decided to get involved in a few ugly scenes when protestors began to try and break through police lines and throw missiles.

“Thirty people were arrested at the time, and we continued to arrest people from as far and wide as Dorset and County Durham over the weeks and months that followed.

“This week sees the culmination of a detailed, painstaking investigation by a dedicated team of officers who were determined to bring those people to justice.

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“We recovered many hours of CCTV, mobile phone and police footage which led to more than 450 hours of detective work to identify those responsible for bringing violence to the streets of Walsall.

“These court proceedings underline the fact that we will pursue people who commit crime in the West Midlands, no matter how long it takes, and bring them to justice.”

Chief Supt Dave Sturman, commander for Walsall and in charge of the operation on the day, added: “We recognise that the people of Walsall were both concerned and inconvenienced on the day and we hope that residents are reassured by our continuing efforts to bring those involved in disorder in the town to justice.

“The message to people intent on bringing violence to the streets of the West Midlands when attending such events is clear – we will not tolerate disorder or any form of anti social behaviour.

“The force takes a hard line against anyone who comes to the West Midlands and creates disorder, whether it be in the name of an organisation or just for devilment.

“If you commit such crimes we will track you down and ultimately you will be brought before the courts.”

Despite violence breaking out at the EDL demonstration, only a small number of protesters and police officers sustained minor cuts and bruises.

There were no serious injuries.

All 32 men will appear before Wolverhampton Crown Courtto be sentenced between Monday, December 16-Thursday, December 19.

Link

updates

16.12.13

Judge slams ‘mob violence’ as seven jailed over Walsall EDL demonstration

17.12.13

Seven jailed after EDL violence in Walsall

Dudley man jailed for joining mob violence at EDL demo

EDLNews updates

18.12.13

Day of reckoning for yobs in Walsall EDL violence


Assault On Prisoners In Sofia Central Prison, October 17 (Bulgaria)

via Brighton ABC:

Jock Palfreeman

Jock Palfreeman

Jock Palfreeman, a young Australian anti-fascist currently serving a 20-year prison sentence for defending 2 young Roma lads being brutally attacked by fascist thugs, was attacked along with a group of his fellow prisoners on October 17. here is a statement released by him:

“On the Bulgarian Prisoners’ Rehabilitation Association’s blog I have up until now not written much if anything about myself in an attempt to keep the Association’s blog neutral and equal for all issues and prisoners in Bulgaria and specifically Sofia Central Prison. However, I have done this at the expense of not reporting the prison’s attacks against myself for my unionism and solidarity with other prisoners, in an attempt to reform the corrupt prison administration, however on Thursday 17th of October an incident occurred involving myself that must be published.

At 8.30am a guard was counting prisoners for roll call, he quickly entered a cell and demanded that all 11 occupants exit the cell into the cold corridor, but before 10 of them could react he quickly left the cell and locked the door (the speed in which he left and locked the door made it evident that the guard was looking provocation). I Jock Palfreeman was not asleep but the guard did not see me as I had just exited the toilet and I was standing behind him in the guard’s blind spot, the guard swore at the 10 prisoners and said “now you’re going to see what will happen to you”.

However when the guard locked the cell door, I immediately banged on the door as it was getting close to when I had to go to my university studies at 9am. One of the guards shouted “you’re too late for roll call”, I replied “I’m not too late I have been up since 7am, you just didn’t see me as I just left the toilet, I was standing behind you”, the guard from the previous shift told me that he would open the door for me, but the guards started arguing with each other, one wanted to open the door, the other wouldn’t let him. The guards left the block at about 8.45am.

I sat down and waited to be let out to go to the study room, but at about 8.50am 50 guards rushed into the cell, took all of us out of the cell, 11 people, all of whom had not been in bed since the argument with the guard at 8.45am. The guards took all of us into the corridor and started viciously beating all of us. They used their boots, batons and also punches with their fists, they also took us by the hair and rammed our heads against the wall, myself included.

They lined us up against the wall and about 50 guards started beating everyone from behind. We were 3 Iranians, 6 Iraqis, 1 Sudanese and myself – Jock Palfreeman – citizen of Sofia Central Prison. The guards were comprised of two shifts, from the days of the 16th and the 17th. There were 2 commanding officers and 2 sub-commanding officers and the rest were normal prisoner guards.

During the attack I was shouting “this is a crime” and other prisoners were shouting “Why?”, because they did not speak Bulgarian, all they could say was “Why?”. After the attack had finished, I started to explain to the commanding officer that I didn’t have anything to do with any problem, the guard making the roll call had simply not seen me and that after I explained the situation to him he had refused to re-open the cell door again and that I had the right to go to the study room at 9am.

As I was explaining this, the same guard from the roll call, burst through the other guards, grabbed my shoulder from behind and started hitting me in the stomach and upper body. After this individual guard had finished beating me the commanding officer started threatening us, he said “I don’t care about the human rights organisations, I don’t care about your embassies, this is Bulgaria and we will beat you when we want”, I started to argue with him and he shouted “Shut up or I’ll cut off your beard and shave your head”, this threat perplexed me as it seemed out of context for the violent environment the guards had just put us through. I was shocked into silence as the threat was just so random and although very illegal, somewhat comical.

We were put back in the cell and the guards left. At 9.05am a group of us went to the bars that divide the block’s corridor from the stairs that leave to the block’s exit. Several prisoners wanted to go to the gym as it was their allocated time at 9am, others wanted to go to the Bulgarian language lessons also set at 9am, and I wanted to go to the study room for my own studies. But the same guard from the morning roll call refused to open the corridor gate and instead ran away. I believe that he thought that everyone was coming to him in a big group so as to seek revenge for his previous attack against 17th cell.

The guard was an old guard but new in Sofia Central Prison and so as is typical in Bulgarian institutions, none of his superiors properly instructed him to the fact that at 9am many prisoners have to leave the block to go to their respective activities (which aren’t many so should not have been hard to have known).

So the guard upon seeing people gathering around the gate ran and called the commanding officer thinking that a group was assembling for revenge for the guards’ earlier attack. We could hear him on the phone downstairs telling the commanding officer that a large group of prisoners are at the gates and that he needed help.

About 5 minutes later (which is amazing reaction time considering it can take over 30 minutes for medical help) 30 guards came running up the stairs and they assembled outside the gate of 10th group. They told all the prisoners to go into their cells, which all the prisoners did, including myself. The guards then tried to open the gate but they soon found out they couldn’t. I looked out of my cell and saw that there was a pad lock on the inside of the gate that the guards couldn’t reach.

They tried by force to open the gate by barging it, but the padlock wouldn’t break. I then realized that this was my only opportunity to call for external help. I took my prison phone card and went to the phone in the corridor about 2 metres from the gate where the guards were and I called a lawyer, the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee and the Australian consulate.

The guards started banging on the metal gate with metal rods, shouting and they also turned on the block’s siren to try and drown out my conversation with the consul and the lawyer. I told them one by one “please come ASAP, the guards beat us at 8.45 and they’re coming again to beat us”. After I made my phone calls I returned to my cell at 9.11, we know the exact time due to the recorded phone calls.

What is also interesting is at this time the prison told all the lawyers to leave from the lawyer consultation room at the other end of the prison then the prison administration shut down the lawyer consultation room. The prison administration tried all they could to try and stop their crime from leaving the premises of the prison and the confines of the prison administration. It is also completely illegal to expel lawyers from the prison premises, even more so during working hours. The right for a prisoner to meet with his/her lawyer is non-negotiable and this was another extreme violation of prisoners’ rights.

A prisoner from prisoner maintenance Budimir Kujovic came and cut the lock off the gate at about 9.15am and the guards ran into the empty corridor as if they were charging down for a rugby ball despite the total lack of aggression from the behalf of prisoners. They locked all the cell doors and entered 17th cell, my cell. They again started beating everyone with batons, punches, kicks and ramming heads against walls.

After they stopped beating us I asked the sub-commander “why have you come back to this cell? Why are you angry with us specifically?” the sub-commander replied “you (collective ‘you’) have made us come back twice today”, I said “we didn’t make you come one time, people wanted to go to their work and the gym and that guard called you here”.

Despite the beatings I was completely calm as were the other 10 prisoners. They handcuffed us all and they said “ok now we will start the search for telephones”. 5 minutes into the search I was taken out of the block and put into a temporary holding cell on the other side of the prison. I asked the arresting officer “why have you restrained me in handcuffs?” he replied “we (the guards) have been sick of your group for over two months now”, meaning that the problem wasn’t with me individually but rather the guards were trying to make a collective punishment on the entire group.

A normal search of a cell would take about 45 minutes, however they searched the cell for about 3 hours and confiscated only an undocumented hotplate for cooking and furniture. No mobile phone was found and the guards went crazy that not a single mobile could be found, this is as they are all acutely aware of the problem of corruption within the prison administration and therefore presume that every prisoner has a mobile.

The same guard who had provoked the two incidents then came to me in the temporary holding cell and tried to intimidate me to sign as a witness for the search in 17th cell that had been carried out without me, I flatly refused and explained that I would not be a witness for something that I didn’t in fact witness.

With nothing illegal found in the cell, the guards then tried threatening other prisoners to testify against me, but out of about 100 prisoners not a single one would lie, all of them stuck to the truth as they saw and heard it. I was kept in the temporary holding cell (which can be said to be less then comfortable) all day, but allowed visits from the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee, a lawyer and the Honorary Consul of Australia. At 4.30pm I was returned without explanation to 10th group, but needless to say all my personal belongings had been thrown around, destroyed or confiscated.

The prison administration wanted to put me in isolation, but could not find legal grounds to do this especially as my lawyer was present. So they took the administrative decision to move me from my old cell to a different cell, in a petty attempt to increase my discomfort, however for those of you who know me personally, you know I love camping!

An ‘investigation’ was carried out and concluded by the prison administration but has yet to be revealed, the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee have conducted their own investigation as well as the Ombudsman’s office of Bulgaria. The matter has been referred to the regional prosecutors office, but experience tells us not to expect anything when it comes to the Bulgarian state investigating itself.

The instigating guard was not moved from the block and on Monday the 21st of October he started threatening prisoners to not testify against him; however on the 25th of October he was moved to another place within the prison to separate him from his victims.

This is another case of unacceptable violence against the human rights of prisoners in Bulgaria, the commanding officers should be sanctioned, failing this the Association asks for the resignation of the Director Peter Krestev, so that law might prevail within Bulgarian prisons!”

Jock Palfreeman
Chairman
Bulgarian Prisoners’ Rehabilitation Association

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How you can help: see Freejock.com


“English Defence League extremists hold demonstration in Solihull town centre” (Birmingham Mail)

edl+2“Shoppers look on in horror as sixty supporters of the far-right group wave flags and shout anti-Islamist chants

Sixty English Defence League supporters have held a demonstration Solihull town centre (12.01.13)

Shoppers at the Touchwood Centre in Solihull looked on in horror this afternoon (Saturday) as the EDL far right extremists waved flags and shouted anti-Islamist chants as they passed by.

Pav Sehra, 22, from Solihull, saw the commotion as she left the main shopping area and saw the protesters at Brueton Gardens, on Warwick Road at around 1pm.

She said: “I think it is ridiculous.

“They shouldn’t be allowed to do it in public.”

The demonstration was organised by Matthew Pile, who runs the EDL Birmingham Division’s blog and is based in Sutton Coldfield.

Members came from as far as south east London to take part.

A member of the Birmingham Division, who was acting as a security for the EDL on the day, said: “We have liaised with police and the police have liaised with us.

“We were expecting around 50 people to turn up but we’ve got a few more than that.

“It is peaceful.

“No anti groups have shown up but I don’t know what will happen if they do.”

West Midlands Police said that they were aware of the demonstration and would be deploying officers to the area.

Right wing extremists from the British National Party said they did not want to be associated with the event.

BNP member Ian Stock, from Sheldon, called the Sunday Mercury to distance himself from the rally.

He said: “They have just sent me a text message saying they are holding an demonstration against Islamification in the West Midlands.

“We do not agree with anything they are doing today.

“I saw what they did in Dudley.”

Mr Stock was referring to violent scenes in Dudley as the EDL protested against the opening of a mosque there in June 2010.

Several people were injured when bricks and metal security fences were launched at riot police and 21 arrests were made.

Violence flared as United Against Fascism staged a counter protest at the same time.

A 16 year-old girl suffered a broken leg and six people were knocked over “like skittles” by a car fleeing the far right protesters in one demonstration.

Shops in Dudley had closed early and some boarded up windows as the EDL demonstrators descended on the town.

* Matthew Pile has been charged with attacking a man on the bus in the city centre.”

Original article

Great write up on indymedia “EDL outnumbered by trees in Solihull


EDL gang jailed after East Lancashire ‘mob protest’

Bernard Holmes

“AN English Defence League mob which descended on an East Lancashire town for a flash mob protest have been branded ‘a pack of wild animals’.

Five of the gang have today been jailed for their parts in the brawl.

One Asian teenager was punched and kicked during the disturbance last July and another Asian man was run over as around 35 EDL supporters rolled into Brierfield last July.

Ringleader Bernard Holmes has been jailed for 18 months for his role in co-ordinating the protest, which ended when a rival gang of Asian youths confronted the mob in the Castle Street area of the town.

And Lancashire Police have secured a five year anti-social behaviour order on Holmes, 26, of Bolton Road, Blackburn, preventing him from organising any further ‘flash mob’ protests. He admitted a racially aggravated public disorder charge.

His ‘lieutenants’ Leonard Hawley, 47, of Worcester Road, Blackburn, Jason Smith, 43, formerly of Burnley but now of Hollinge Road, Todmorden, David Wilson, 47,of Devon Road, Blackburn, who admitted the same offence, were each jailed for 37 weeks.

David Garratt, 45, of Beckett Street, Darwen, who confessed to possession of an offensive weapon, was jailed for 47 weeks.

 Six others from Todmorden, Chorley, Clitheroe and Blackburn were given suspended prison sentences, after admitting using threatening behaviour as part of the same incident.

Passing sentence Judge Norman Wright said freedom of speech was something enjoyed by everyone in the UK, no matter how repugnant the views expressed may be.

But the judge, sitting at Preston Crown Court, said the events of that day saw ‘middle-aged men running around like a pack of animals’.

Earlier that day protests had taken place in Accrington and Clitheroe, and outside the home of MEP Sajjad Karim at Simonstone, who said his wife and daughter were left ‘terrified’ by the ordeal.”

Source


Pedlars of Hate: the violent impact of the European far Right

“The Institute of Race Relations has published an important study by Liz Fekete, Pedlars of Hate: the violent impact of the far Right.

The report “documents patterns of violence, from the peddling of hate online and the drawing up of lists of ‘national traitors’, to violence, arson and murder on the streets, and the stockpiling of weapons in preparation for ‘race war'”.

The IRR points out that Islamophobia is just one element in the rise of violence on the part of the European far right. While Muslims are the far right’s principal targets in western Europe, in eastern Europe it is the Roma who are the main victims, while anti-black racism and antisemitism are also on the increase.

Another worrying development is that “attacks on Social Democrats, Left politicians, academics and journalists that report on the far Right around Europe are intensifying too”.

The report can be downloaded here


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