Archive for October, 2009

Calais – Humanitarian Crisis

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on Wednesday, 28 October, 2009 by bristolnoborders
The weather has turned in the last few days – by day the winds are chilling and by night the first frosts creep in. In Calais, since the camps nicknamed the ‘Jungle’ have been destroyed, large numbers of those waiting to seek asylum in the UK are being forced to sleep on the streets, without shelter or blankets. Finding this far beyond the realms of reason, groups from Bristol are gathering blankets, warm clothes and other essentials to respond to this urgent humanitarian crisis.
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Jungle - Destroyed

HUMANITARIAN CRISIS, CLOSE TO HOME?

Children as young as ten are sleeping under bridges. If found taking shelter or sleeping out, peoples’ few possessions are removed, their blankets sprayed with chemicals and their temporary refuges destroyed or evicted. These are people from Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Eritrea and other zones of conflict, whose situation the UK and other western governments have been instrumental in worsening. French immigration policy, voiced by minister Eric Besson, has chosen however to ignore its complicity in these broader issues, calling (like the UK Border Agency) for stricter border controls and the use of state power to break up any signs of their existence.

BLANKET APPEAL, YOU CAN HELP!

We don’t think that this is acceptable. Thousands of people attempting to move across Europe to seek asylum or a new life are stranded as a result. The associations and charities of Calais cannot cope with such a humanitarian catastrophe, and as an act of solidarity we would like to collectively respond by transporting aid there from Bristol. If you would like to join us in expressing your indignation or support, please help us collect for the two ‘convoys’ which will leave Bristol on November the 6th and November the 26th.

aid_convoy_websize

We welcome:
blankets
sleeping bags
warm clothes (especially winter jackets and waterproofs)
rocket stoves , camping gas stoves
mens shoes
tents
tarpaulin
rope
tools

Collection points until 26th November will be:

* the Welcome Centre drop-in, Newton Street, Easton: Wednesdays 10.00 – 12.00 and Thursdays 10.00 – 16.00
* Kebele Social Centre, Robertson Rd, Easton: Saturday 11:00 – 14:00 and Sunday 18:00 – 21:00

Thank you.

* If you would prefer to give a donation then please make cheques payable to Bristol No Borders, c/o Kebele, 14 Robertson Road, Easton, Bristol, BS5 6HB or make a bank transfer to Sort code 089299, Account number 65330812, quoting reference 51771 to ensure it comes to the right account. THANKS

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New Calais Zine and Blog: Out Now !

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on Monday, 26 October, 2009 by bristolnoborders

An excellent new Zine about the fucking awful situation in Calais and the resistance to the repression can be found here: calais-94 or here

passp1Extract :

Rasheed. This is the second time Rasheed has tried to move to England, his account makes sobering reading, yet despite this, he continues to smile, happy to talk about his experiences, in the hope that it will improve life for others. Eight hours after I did this interview I watched as the CRS arrested Rasheed for a second day in a row under the bridges. He was released after a couple of hours, a lucky escape as today the first charter flight containing 40 Afghans in the joint operation between UK and France has left from Paris, despite protests from many groups…

“In 2003 I went to England from my home of Afghanistan. I lived in Portsmouth for three and a half years, and then I was deported to Azerbaijan and then Kabul. I left after 4 months to begin my journey back to England. I went to Pakistan, then Iran, through Turkey then Greece. I spent one and a half years in Patras; it is very difficult to cross there with the navy. Then I made it to Albania, but then I was taken back to Greece. I left again, to Macedonia, then Serbia. I spent two and a half months in prison in Serbia. Then I went to Hungary and Austria but on the Swiss border I was caught and spent 1 month in detention there. I went back to Austria and spent another month and a half in a detention centre in Salzburg. I went to Hungary, then back to Austria, then Italy, and finally France. I have been in Calais for 10 days. I want to go back to England because everywhere else there is trouble. ‘Asylum’ in Italy and France means nothing; you have no shelter, no work. In Calais I am arrested all the time, and then released after 1-2 hours. This morning I was arrested.I am afraid to return to Afghanistan.

pass2

The Taliban and America are at battle. If you work with the Taliban, America says you are Al Qaida. If you work with America, the
Taliban say why, you are Muslim? America has some control in Kabul, but in the provinces the Taliban rule. It is very dangerous, at night time the Taliban come. They rule the border with Pakistan, where drug smugglers rule. This is 1,400 kilometres long. If I go back I am in danger. The Taliban sent me a letter before I left accusing me of working with America because I wouldn’t help them. In my province there are many CID (Criminal Intelligence Department) agents, everyone hears your words. They come at night. There is no work for me. I am an artist, a designer, but I cannot work in Kabul. I have spent 2 years travelling now, my mind isn’t working anymore. I have lost all my family; I spent all my money trying to get to England, so if I am deported I am in trouble. I like no borders because it means no detention, no deportation, no finger prints.”

Dale Farm Alert: Baliffs to be chosen Dec 12th

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on Wednesday, 21 October, 2009 by bristolnoborders

dalefarmkids

(© Jess Hurd/reportdigital.co.uk)

It’s just leaked out that Basildon Council’s Cabinet will meet on Saturday, December 12,to decide which out of two bailiffs companies to award the two million pound contract for the eviction operation at Dale Farm.One is Constant & Co.

Dale Farm is part of an Irish Traveller site on Oak Lane in Crays Hill, Essex which houses over 1,000 people. It is the largest traveller site in the UK and has been the subject of a evictoion and court action for years.
This is a fateful step as once they “mobilize”a bailiff force, there maybe no going back.For this reason, mothers are forming a Dale Farm Homeless Committee to organize the biggest yet demonstration outside the Basildon Centre (town hall) at noon that day.As its close to UN Human Rights Day (10 Dec – which  happens to be Richard Sheridan’s birthday)it will be a rally against decisions being made by local councils which still want to get rid of Travellers – spending million on brutal policies which solve nothing.
Dale Farm mothers are asking supporters to pull out all the stop for this one. Many children will
be coming. Can anyone help bring in a samba band – or other musicians? Anybody have contact with street threatre groups? Help making banners and posters etc? Minibuses will bring people in from Dale Farm.
Any extra help with transport? Contact with groups likely to join and help swell numbers? A meeting is taking place tomorrow (Thursday 22 Oct) of supporters at Essex University to expand on plans. So if you have any ideas, suggests, offers of help, post back today to
dale.farm@btinternet.com

Pecos Insurrection: How a private prison pushed immigrant inmates to the brink

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on Wednesday, 21 October, 2009 by bristolnoborders

Prison Riot
Last Dec. 12, on the outskirts of Pecos, Texas, the immigrants doing time in the world’s largest privately run prison decided to turn the tables on their captors. It was the Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe, an important religious holiday in Latin America. But the inmates were in no mood for celebration.
The Pecos Insurrection How a private prison pushed immigrant inmates to the brink
By Forrest Wilder for The Texas Observer

Last Dec. 12, on the outskirts of Pecos, Texas, the immigrants doing time in the world’s largest privately run prison decided to turn the tables on their captors. It was the Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe, an important religious holiday in Latin America. But the inmates were in no mood for celebration.

The motin, as the overwhelmingly Spanish-speaking inmates called their uprising, began in the Reeves County Detention Center’s Special Housing Unit (SHU), better known as solitary confinement, with two men—a Honduran and a Mexican—using the wires in an electrical outlet to set a mattress on fire.

They broke out the windows of their cell, and when prison guards tried to extinguish the fire by sticking a fire hose through a port in the door, the two broke the sink off the wall and held it up as a shield. One brandished, but didn’t use, a “shiv,” a crude jailhouse knife. Meanwhile, the two men yelled for other inmates to join in the uprising. Soon, at 12:45 p.m., a lockdown order went out across the prison. Staff tried to hustle prisoners on their way to lunch or the recreation center back to their cells. Inmates in one of the housing areas refused, and they forced the guards to release friends from their cells. “Open the doors or we will take your keys,” the prisoners demanded, according to an FBI account. “We’ll see who has control in a bit,” one inmate told a guard.

The prison’s emergency-response team deployed an arsenal including rubber bullets, pepper spray, expulsion grenades and bean-bag guns. To little avail. The insurrection quickly spread to the other housing areas. The rioters assembled in the outdoor recreation yard armed with rocks, concrete, and steel poles as well as horseshoes, hammers and box cutters they had pilfered from the recreation building. Many of them, aware of the prison’s extensive surveillance system, hid their faces with T-shirts, hats and bandanas. Some wore sunglasses.

Two prison employees were taken hostage. (Neither was harmed.) With more than 1,200 inmates milling around outside and hordes of law enforcement officials, the prison must have looked like a war zone.

It was not mere anarchy, though.

By midafternoon, members of the FBI, Texas Rangers, DPS and the Odessa Police Department arrived at the prison. As the crisis negotiators quickly found out, the riot had not been prompted by gang infighting, racial tensions or a spontaneous outburst of violence. The men incarcerated at the Pecos prison are considered “low-security”; most are serving relatively short sentences for immigration violations or drug offenses. All are set to be deported at the end of their sentences.

Leaders of the rebellion were demanding a meeting with the Mexican Consulate, the FBI and the warden to discuss a number of grievances that they said GEO Group, the prison company that manages the 3,700-bed facility, had refused to address.

The evening of the uprising, the inmates sent a delegation of seven men—a Venezuelan, a Cuban, a Nigerian, and four Mexicans—to meet with the authorities.

They explained that the uprising had erupted from widespread dissatisfaction with almost every aspect of the prison: inedible food, a dearth of legal resources, the use of solitary confinement to punish people who complained about their medical treatment, overcrowding and, above all, poor health care.

The delegates pointed to a string of deaths (according to public records, five men died in Reeves between August 2008 and March 2009, including two suicides) they attributed to the prison’s inattention to medical needs. The riot had been sparked by the death of Jesus Manuel Galindo, an epileptic, who had been carried out of the prison’s Special Housing Unit in a body bag that same day. “Suspect(s) are talking about the guy being out of the shoe [SHU],” the Odessa Police Department report said. “Someone should have been there with him. Special housing was not the place for [him].”

The authorities jotted down the concerns and promised to take them seriously.

Twenty-four hours after it began, the uprising was over. More than $1 million worth of damage had been done to the prison. Less than two months later, on Jan. 31, the prison would be under inmate control again—and this time the rioting would last for five days and end with one building destroyed and some $20 million in damage.

To critics of GEO and other for-profit prison companies, the two huge riots in as many months—rare, especially in low-security prisons—were the logical consequence of the largest experiment in prison privatization to date.

Athens Town Hall Occupied After Police Murder Migrant

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on Sunday, 18 October, 2009 by bristolnoborders
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The banner reads: Mohammad Kamran Atif, dead from torture at the Nikaia Police Station – MURDERER

STATEMENT FROM THE OCCUPIED TOWN HALL OF NIKAIA

Four-hundred demonstrators marched together today, October 17, on the streets of Nikaia in a demonstration of rage for the recent assassination of 25-year old Pakistani migrant Mohammad Atif Kamran, who passed away following his torturing in the police station of Nikaia. The demonstration had been called by anarchist collectives and a local assembly of the neighboring areas.

We walked through the area’s main streets, passed by the house of the assassinated Atif and headed toward the police station. The large numbers of Riot Police (MAT) and motorcycle forces (Delta and Zita) that were “accompanying” the demonstration parading in its front, back and side streets, were highlighting the official stance of the now Socialist Ministry of Public Order (now called Ministry of Citizen Protection!): To cover up and support the torturers, assassins, the police occupation of the area in face of the appearance of the world of struggle and solidarity. After all, what happened will continue to happen: beatings, torturing and ridiculing of detainees in all police stations across the country.

During our gathering and for the largest part of the demonstration the rain was falling heavy. And yet at the point of passing in front of the police station of Nikaia it wasn’t just the rain drops. The unit protecting the police station also took a rain of stones. The orderly continuation of the demonstration and our retreat from that point was met with the combined attack by Riot Police units in both the back and side part of the demo. The people at the sides of the demo, chained up, held up against the police attacks and locals watching from the pavements and balconies were jeering and swearing at the police occupation force. Yet in-between the mist of the tear gas and the attack of the Riot Police some of us were isolated from the main demonstration and so, were detained by police.

The demonstration ended up at a specific area of Nikaia (”perivolaki”), as previously agreed. Given the police detentions, a large part of those of us gathered there occupied the Town Hall of Nikaia, to demand the immediate release of our captioned comrades. Some of us who left in their vehicles were also stopped at a nearby junction and detained, too. The exact number of the detained is unknown (even if we do know some names for sure) but is definitely a two-digit one, while some have already been charged. The new state doctrine of “democracy and an iron fist” is here in its full glory – as announced by the new minister of Polic Order himself – against all those who revolt and resist. Same as in the gathering of workers and unemployed of the shipyards of Perama on October 15 outside the Ministry of Employment. Same as in Exarcheia, occupied for days now. Same as in the charges against high school students occupying their schools. Same as in the forthcoming mobilisation of the shipyard workers of Piraeus against the selling-off of the port to the COSCO corporation, or the 1400 workers threatened with firing at the shipyards of Skaramangas, in Attica.

Police barbarity is no more than the repressive version of the state-capitalist barbarity: repression, exploitation, submission, death.

What the new political administration came to largely handle was the social dimension of the crisis of our times: the expanded disobedience and confrontation with the demands of the political and financial elites. No illusions then. There shall be no change coming from the new government. As always, after all. State terrorism continues and along with it, continues the struggle for social and individual emancipation, for a free world, without authority.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF THE DETAINED DEMONSTRATORS

DROP ALL CHARGES

IMMEDIATE RETREAT OF THE POLICE FORCE FROM THE NEIGHBOURHOOD OF NIKAIA

AND AROUND THE OCCUPIED TOWN HALL