Archive for May, 2009

Calais No Borders Camp – Bristol Events

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on Thursday, 28 May, 2009 by bristolnoborders

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Local Gigs, Talk, films and Breakfast

Thursday 4th June, from 7.30pm Anarchist Hip Hop frrom San Fransisco and Bristol @ The Plough, Easton, Bristol

Saturday 6th June: Calais Solidarity Breakfast@ Kebele 11.00am-2.00pm (including free arabic crash course)

Thursday 11th June: Calais Film and Info Night@ The Island, Silver Street 7.30pm

Friday 12th June: Calais Benefit Gig,: Featuring Chicken Call, Spanner & 2 Sick Monkeys@ Queens Head, Easton Rd. 8.00pm £4

CALAIS NO BORDERS CAMP 23-29 JUNE 09 link to film

The Calais border is an important focal point for the struggle between those who would see an end to all migration into the EU and those trying to break down the barriers between peoples, the borders that prevent the freedom of movement for all, not just the privileged few. The Calais No Border camp is an exciting joint venture between French activists and migrant support groups and the UK No Borders Network.

It aims to highlight the realities of the situation in Calais and Northern France; to build links with the migrant communities; to help build links between migrants support groups; and lastly, but not least, to challenge the authorities on the ground, to protest against increased repression of migrants and local activists alike. This camp is not just about Calais: we are calling for the freedom of movement for all, an end to borders and to all migration controls. We call for a radical movement against the systems of control which divide us into citizens and non-citizens, into the documented and the undocumented.

How do I Find Out More?

Come along to the Film and Info Night at The Island, Where No Borders Activists Will answer all your questions. Or e-mail :bristolnoborders@riseup.net

How Do I get there?

There will be transport from Bristol on the 22nd June (details to be confirmed) and there is transport from London on the 26th ( to get to the demo on the 27th).

For all queries regarding the camp and how to get there e-mail: bristolnoborders@riseup.net or go to www.calaisnoborder.eu.org

Lords refuse to hear Dale Farm appeal

Posted in Dale Farm with tags , , on Sunday, 17 May, 2009 by bristolnoborders

Only hours after a UN agency launched an urgent plea for a freeze on plans to bulldoze Britain’s biggest traveller community, Dale Farm residents learnt that the House of Lords has refused to hear their appeal. Lawyers acting for Dale Farm say the case may now go to the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. But with a likely two year wait before the court could rule on the matter, it will be necessary to seek a prolonged protection from eviction.

Permission was refused on the 14th May “because the petition does not raise an arguable point of law of general public importance which ought to be considered by this House at this time, bearing in mind that the cause has already been the subject of judicial decision and reviewed on appeal.” Just before the decision by the Lords, Brazilian lawyer Leticicia Osorio, who has visted Dale Farm as part of a delegation from UN Habitat, presented the peliminary findings of the mission at meetings in the Houes of Lords organised by Lord Avebury.  UK local councils should not only stop evicting Gypsies and Travellers but also refrain from criminalizing those living on their own land without planning authorization she stated.

The preliminary report suggests that the UK through its failure to curb the racially-motivated harassment of its Gypsy population is in contravention of human rights legislation. It states there is undeniable evidence of de facto exclusion from accommodation, education and welfare provision, leaving thousands of families homeless
and without medical care. After an expected endorsement by UN Habitat next month, the recommendations will be officially presented to Downing Street.

The UN mission organizer Joseph Jones confirmed that members of the UN Mission would be present as observers should an attempt be made by bailiffs to force their way up the private Oak Lane approach to Dale Farm for the purpose of destroying homes there. Several hundred supporters have already pledged to join Dale Farm residents in forming a human shield to stop bulldozers reaching their recently-built social centre and chapel, as well as the l32 chalets, mobile-homes and caravans that comprise the estate.

Meanwhile, Basildon District Council has yet to consider the homeless applications submitted by over 90 Dale Farm households. They include a joint homeless application seeking to be re-accommodated together as a community.

Bristol No Borders are one of the groups that has pledged to support Dale Farm families in helping to resist the eviction. For more information on how you can get involved. please email us at bristolnoborders(at) riseup.net

Passenger wins victory against British Airways racism

Posted in Uncategorized on Sunday, 17 May, 2009 by bristolnoborders

Source: The All African Women’s Group* and Global Women’s Strike

On 6 May 2009, Ayodeji Omotade won a landmark victory against British Airways.  BA had attempted to criminalise him for speaking out in defence of Augustine Eme, an asylum seeker who was being brutally deported on Flight BA075 to Nigeria (27 March 2008).  As a passenger, he had intervened when four security guards, watched by two police officers, held Mr Eme, shackled and handcuffed, down on the floor and screaming.

Twenty Metropolitan police officers dragged Mr Omotade off the flight when he protested.  He was slammed against a wall, mocked as he pleaded to be allowed back on the flight, then arrested and locked up for nine hours.  All his money was seized – under the Proceeds of Crime Act.  (Having deprived him of it for some months, his money was finally returned, with 70p interest.)BA pressed charges of threatening, abusive, insulting and disorderly behaviour towards their crew.

BA not only banned him from all their flights but refused to refund his ticket money, and flew his luggage containing his brother’s wedding suit and gifts to Nigeria. The luggage was returned a week later, in a damaged state. Mr Omotade missed his brother’s wedding.

The case took over fourteen months to come to court. BA had nine witness statements and three witnesses. Mr Omotade had to proceed with only two defence witness statements as BA had refused to provide his defence lawyer with the passenger list which would have enabled him to call further witnesses.  Shockingly, he was also refused legal aid and had to pay thousands of pounds for his own defence.  The NigerianHigh Commission did not help with legal costs or any assistance, as they had promised him to do.

The magistrate accepted Mr Omotade’s compelling account, and found him not guilty.  She saw that the testimonies of BA’s nine witnesses – staff, police, G4 security and immigration officers – contradicted each other. Mr Omotade said: “It has been a horrific experience for me and my family, going through a year of criminal proceedings in which British Airways, the Metropolitan Police, Immigration security officers, and the Crown Prosecution Service constructed a false and malicious case against me.”

Stella Mpaka a member of AAWG* commented: “Given the overwhelming odds against him, it’s fantastic that he won. We will continue to defend people like Ayo because any one of us could find ourselves fighting for our lives like Mr Eme.  When we expose the injustice of what is going on in this racist immigration system, and keep fighting as Ayo did – we can win.”

Women of Colour in the Global Women Strike adds: “Exposing BA’s alliance with the Met police and immigration services to criminalise a courageous and gentle man for protesting an injustice brought many people together – the businessman and the asylum seeker, the grassroots groups and the professionals, women, men, Black, white, with or without papers.  Ayo’s victory is a power to everyone challenging racism, whatever form it takes.”

This is a great victory not only for Ayo Omotade and his family but for everyone defending themselves and others against deportation. His instinctive response to a person in distress cost him dearly.  But many lives have been saved by passengers of principle like him who are willing to intervene to try to stop removals, some of which are extremely violent, where women, children and men are being forcedback to face rape, other torture and even death.

For Mr Omotade: The truth has finally prevailed, and I have been completely vindicated.  I spoke out as I expect anyone would do.  I paid a price because I could not look the other way. I am in the process of putting my life together again. Justice has been served.  I have been delivered from the claws of British Airways corporate tyranny.”

Mr Omotade is demanding an apology and full compensation not only for himself but for his family in Nigeria who were waiting for him to bring clothes and even the wedding rings from England; all had to be re-bought for the  wedding to proceed.   He must also be compensated for the brutal treatment he received.  He also demands that the  immigration authorities report to him and others what happened to Mr Eme – they are responsible for his safety since they forced him to leave a (relatively) safe environment.

The world belongs to all of us – we all have a right to be here – and to be safe!

CLEANER ACTIVIST ARRESTED IN COMPANY ENTRAPMENT

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on Thursday, 7 May, 2009 by bristolnoborders


Many of you will know Alberto, a Colombian activist who worked as a cleaner at Schroders in the City of London who has recently been involved in the Mitie/Willis dispute and has spoken at various union branches and forums in recent months including the NSSN.

This morning after attending a construction workers’ demo at the Olympic site he was called to a meeting at his employer, the cleaning contractor Lancaster, at 9.15am. Upon arrival he was met by four policemen, inxcluding immigration police, and arrested on suspicion of working under false papers.

The police took Alberto in handcuffs to his house, questioning him on why he had socialist papers in his bags. He also had a DVD about the Tamil struggle about his person (having been given it for free on a demo) and the police said that they would have to consider this “terrorist” material in his case. All these materials were confiscated and his house searched before he was taken to the Peckham police station.

In reality, Alberto had come to the UK in 1998 on a student visa, and when it expired in 2002 his employer Lancaster told him to assume a false name. Only now after he has become a leading labour activist has this same employer chosen to raise the issue of his immigration status, involving the police.

Fortunately Alberto escaped with a caution and was released by 8pm. But this was a clear case of victimisation and Alberto has now lost all the benefits accrued during 10 years’ employment, such as the right to redundancy pay, as well as his job itself (he was until recently on suspension with pay).

Alberto is adamant that “the fight is only just beginning”.
WILLIS BUILDING CLEANERS: 3 MONTHS AND STILL FIGHTING

3 women – 1 man

2 Latin Americans – 2 Africans

1 shop steward – 3 union members

4 FIGHTERS

All four have now been holding demonstrations with supporters for 3 months now! Four cleaners against two huge companies: Willis (global insurance brokers) and Mitie Cleaning & Support Services.

The next one tomorrow will start at Wilis and will head off around 13.30 to HBO, 33 Old Broad Stret EC2 where all four had been working for Mitie as well.:

Friday 08 May

1300 hours

Willis Building, 51 Lime Street, London EC3M 7DQ

(tube: Liverpool Street / Bank; bus 25)

Information: Edwin 07931 464 890 or Alberto 07803 634 319

Eyewitness Gaza 2009

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on Saturday, 2 May, 2009 by bristolnoborders

free gaza boat arrives

Public meeting with Ewa Jasciewicz
7:30pm, May 12 2009
Easton Community Centre, Easton, Bristol

Paramedics, prisoners and border communities under fire

EWA Jasiewicz has been on the ground in Gaza since November, having arrived on the siege breaking Free Gaza boat. She has been working on ambulances and reporting the reality of lives under siege and under military assault. She is currently in the UK to highlight the ongoing situation in Gaza and encourage links between communities here and in Gaza

THE FREE GAZA MOVEMENT
http://www.freegaza.org
Since August 2008, the Free Gaza Movement has sailed from Cyprus to the Gaza Strip on several successful voyages bringing in medical aid and solidarity workers. Ours are the first international boats to journey to Gaza since 1967. In May a flotilla of boats will sail to Gaza carrying people and medical supplies to break the siege once again. We have not and will not ask for Israel’s permission. It is our intent to overcome this brutal siege through civil resistance and establish a permanent sea lane between Cyprus and Gaza.

Ewa Jasiewicz is a co-co-ordinator of the Free Gaza Movement, based in Gaza. An activist, union organiser and journalist, she has worked with oil workers in Iraq from 2003-2004 and paramedics in Gaza throughout Israel’s recent war on the territory. Her current focus is on co-ordinating siege breaking delegations to Gaza and building twinning relationships between schools, ambulance stations, and ER departments.