On Monday 2nd of March 2015, there were demonstrations in over 30 towns and cities around the UK (plus Toronto) against Maximus, the US based health insurance corporation that has taken over the contract from the French IT Company Atos to administer the Work Capability Assessment on behalf of the Department Of Work And Pensions. Atos announced its exit from the contract in early 2014 following an intense period of direct action against the company by groups such as Disabled People Against the Cuts.
The day of action was timed to coincide with the first working day of the new contract, with the spotlight turned on Maximus as well as the continued use of Work Capability Assessments and the life-threatening consequences of the ongoing government attacks on the sick and disabled.
In central London, to the chorus of "David Cameron is a W*****" (YouTube) activists from DPAC hit the streets, taking direct action to block traffic and at one stage bringing traffic to a standstill on Victoria Street in the shadow of Big Ben.
The demonstrations across the UK on the streets were complemented with an online Twitter campaign using the hashtags #Maximarse and #ScrapWCA, the latter trending for a number of hours. This gave the opportunity for those unable (including through sickness and disability) to make it to demonstrations to vent their anger and frustation around the Work Capability Assessment and at a government hell-bent on targeting the sick and disabled.Read more >>
***STOP PRESS 13th March: The Metropolitan Police has withdrawn its application to strike out women's case as the legal battle continues. Solidarity picket on Tuesday 18th March will go ahead as planned.***
Five of the eight women taking legal action against the Metropolitan Police, due to undercover police officers deceiving them into long term intimate relationships, will be opposing Scotland Yard's attempt to have their cases struck out on Tuesday 18th March. The women and their Police Spies Out of Lives support group have called for a solidarity picket outside the Royal Court of Justice, The Strand, at 9am on Tuesday 18th, as part of a week of action (17th - 21st March).
On the Newswire: Outrage as High Court permits secrecy over undercover policing | Abuse of women by undercover police must stop now! | Three undercover political Police unmasked | Undercover and over-the-top: The collapse of the Ratcliffe trial | Mark 'Stone/Kennedy' exposed as undercover police officerRead more >>
While the London 2012 Olympic open ceremony was underway on Friday 27th July, there was a massive police and military operation underway, which included the use of CS gas, to contain and eventually arrest 182 London critical mass cyclists. The cyclists were held in a police kettle for two hours, handcuffed in buses for three hours and held in a police cell from six hours to two days. Out of 182 cyclists, only 3 have been charged with any offence. However, all have bail conditions imposed on them until September 18th 2012 restricting their freedom to move, assemble, associate and live their lives. Some groups have issued advice that the bail conditions may breach Articles 10 & 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights. They point out that "breaching bail conditions is not a criminal offence."
A petition for justice for the 182 has been launched with the following demands:
The Hovefields Gypsy/Traveller site in Essex has been evicted this week. At the time of writing, a group of these families are still on the road without anywhere to stop, having been also evicted from two other sites they tried to move on to, all within 24 hours. In fact it is illegal for them to stop anywhere as a group, as they are more than six live-in vehicles.Read more >>
The Crown Court cleared three activists of the charges of "obstructing the police" on Friday.
The Inner London Crown Court ruled that police surveillance of a public political meeting had not been proved to be lawful and that the police had failed to provide any evidence that they were pursuing a "legitimate aim". The three activists were arrested at a meeting called by London NoBorders in June 2008 when they protested against the surveillance of the meeting by "Forward Intelligence Team" - Report.Read more >>
80 days ago the democracy village set up on parliament square. Now it has gone. After losing the court hearing on 16th July (press release), and sending a call out to stand up for democracy, the eviction started just after 1am on Monday night. The public square was fenced in and democracy out (pics | video), and the two people in D-locks couldn't stop this. No one was arrested, but calls were made for a day of non-violent direct action today and a people's assembly this Saturday 1pm.
See the democracy village newswire at
On Sunday 15th of June, as George W. Bush was making his way to Downing Street for his last state visit to the UK, thousands of people were gathering in Parliament Square following a call from the Stop the War Coalition.
Although the turn out to Sunday's protest was much smaller than in 2003 when Bush last visited the UK in the high of the Anti-War protest movement, by mid afternoon a crowd of around 2500 determined people were already making clear what they thought of the legacy of George Bush's wars in the Middle East and the US driven War on Terror [Demo video report] A powerful sound system had been set on the square from where several people, including Brian How, made speeches. Meanwhile the crowd kept demanding the arrest of George Bush for his "terrorist activities and war crimes" in countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan.
The protest had already been banned by the Metropolitan Police from marching through Whitehall, therefore crash barriers and police lines had been set at the southern end of Whitehall to prevent the demonstration from moving forward. At some point, the crowd approached the barriers and police lines to demand their right to demonstrate, but they were faced by a line of baton wielding police that started hitting those at the front. As a result a series of scuffles followed, resulting with some head injuries and bruises to some protesters, and the first wave of arrests.
Eventually, a large number of police with riot gear took positions to protect the entrance to Whitehall, whilst at the same time groups of TSG and FIT police forces started to carry a series of snatch arrests around the Parliament Square area [Video of arrests]. By the end of the evening 25 people had been arrested, some of which are now facing charges.Read more >>
On April 6 the Olympic torch was to be paraded through the streets of London in what Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell described as a celebration of the "Olympic spirit." Protesters angered by recent Chinese repression in Tibet sought to undermine this Chinese propaganda exercise. As it made its way through London, the flame was greeted by a wave of protest.
Demonstrators disrupted the torch's journey along the thirty one mile route. There were attempts to seize the torch, extinguish the flame and to prevent it making its way through the city with 37 people being arrested. Although Tibet was the main focus of protests, attention was also drawn to Chinese support for Sudanese atrocities in Darfur and Burma's brutal military dictatorship.
Photos: Olympic Relay Free Tibet Rally | Olympic torch protests in London - pics | Tibetan Freedom Torch Relay, London April 6, 2008 | Olympic Torch Relay: Heated Arguments in Trafalgar Square | Chinese Torture Torch Relay Shames Olympic Ideals | Police compete in olympic farce | Olympic Torch Chased off the Streets, pics from Fleet Street | Torch Protest hits Whitechapel
Also on the Newswire: Torch Went Out in London Too! | Olympic torch relay protest timeline | Tibet Protest Great, But.... | "Freedom wins" says the Sun | Tibetan Freedom Torch Rally | 36 people arrested so far during the Olympic torch relay in London | Police Manhandle Press at Tibet Demonstration | Brilliant pro Tibet protest ongoing in London todayRead more >>
The weekly vegan open picnic has recently faced growing repression from Police and consistent support in the community.
People taking part in Brixton's Reclaim Your Food weekly action faced arrest last Sunday 2nd March 2008 as they challenged the legitimacy of a Dispersal Order issued by the Lambeth branch of the Metropolitan Police.
Police (consisting of a mix of PCs, CSOs and higher-ranking officers) were waiting for the collective before they even arrived. They came equipped with a mobile surveillance van, 2 regular Police vans and 2 Police cars.
The first arrest came as a result of a refusal to comply with the Dispersal Order placed upon the group, the second for attempting to establish the legal basis for such an arrest. The Dispersal Order, made possible by the controversial Anti-Social Behaviour Act, was issued in response to an alleged Section 5 Public Order offence - defined as causing harassment, distress or alarm. However, when questioned, the Police failed to provide adequate evidence to suggest that such an offence was taking place.
Thankfully, the long arm of the law did not stretch to the Bicycle Repair Workshop or those making Puncture Repair Kits and Wallets from recycled and sustainable materials. These were welcome additions to the Town Square, which was reclaimed as a fully-functional public space for all...with room for a bit of a dance to the chilled reggae/dub soundsystem!
Despite all the Police intimidation and generally not fantastic weather, a good time was had by most people who turned up or happened to be passing by! - Same as today 9th of March when there were no arrests.
The collectives involved in Sunday's action are keen to welcome anyone who is interested in any aspect of the project to come along - Bring food to share. Instruments. Sound Systems. Practical Social Activities. Or just yourself!! All welcome.
The project will continure to meet at Brixton Town Square (by Coldharbour Lane, opposite the Ritzy Cinema) from around 2/3pm every Sunday. The town square is well on it's way to being a free public space, for anyone to use. This does not figure in the plans of the Police and Local Government, who are intent on seeing through gentrification of the area. Every Sunday at approx 3pm in BRIXTON TOWN SQUARE, opposite BRIXTON LIBRARY
Video: 3 march (1)Read more >>
The four migrants accused of "conspiracy to commit violent disorder" during the Harmondsworth uprising in 2006 were today found not guilty. Relying on a clearly insufficiently indoctrinated jury, the attempt to single out and punish few individuals with violent criminal convictions and long sentences has been thwarted. Of course, all four have already served one year and three months in prison, on top of varying times in immigration detention. Now they will have to resume their struggle against the immigration system, which imprisoned them for seeking refuge in the first place, and will most probably be dispersed around Britain's detention estate until their cases are 'resolved'.Today the Support the Harmondsworth Four Campaign held a protest outside Sodexho's London headquarters. There had been a solidarity protest outside the court every Monday [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5].
Background: letter from two of the Harmondsworth 4 to Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! | 'Report of the Investigation into the disturbances at Harmondsworth and Campsfield House Immigration Removal Centres', Robert Whalley | Chief Inspectors of Prison Report on Harmondsworth Immigration Removal CentreRead more >>
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