Category Archives: UK

Bristol police are the thugs, solidarity with protesters who fought back

The police went on the rampage in Bristol yesterday in a display of wanton violence that has been covered up by the media and politicians.

The thuggery on display last night was from the police who attacked peaceful protesters.

Now they are launching a hunt for as many as 500 people as they look to intimidate the youth of an entire city to stop future protests against the Tories’ proposed law to give police even more powers to curtail democratic rights.

Peaceful protesters were injured in their hundreds by police swinging batons indiscriminately, using dogs, pepper spray and cavalry.

People who marched to the police station sat down in the road – and then the police attacked.

Bristol police attack peaceful protesters

Chants rang out “Shame on you” as the police hit out.

One student who does not want to be named says she was punched in the face by a police officer.

The same student said she saw people being cornered and beaten by riot police and women abused with sexist language.

Yet all the media can think to do is parrot the lies of the police press releases.

Disgracefully, Bristol’s Labour mayor Marvin Rees joined in the lies and witch hunt, claiming that the protesters were showing their “privilege” and that the demo had nothing to do with political protest. He even tried to claim that it was all white people protesting and that they were making things worse for Black people!

But the protest was in fact called by Bristol BLM and Extinction Rebellion and other groups.

A warning for the Tories and their Orwellian media

Far from being unpolitical, it was a release of the pent up anger over the alleged murder of a Sarah Everard at the hands of a police officer, the attacked on a vigil of mourning women, the outrageous provisions of the police bill that puts more value on a statue than it does on a woman, the prosecution of movement heroes the Colston Four, who played a part in the righteous toppling of the statue to a slaveholder in the city, and of course it was ultimately a protest against a government whose deliberate and callous negligence has led to the death of 125,000 people, while at the same time enriching its friends in business with £37 billion wasted on an ineffective test and trace system.

Meanwhile young people have no jobs, pay exorbitant rents, hand over money for fees for a university education that is second rate and live on a planet that is dying.

The truth is we live in a corrupt country where the police are out of control.

We also live in a country of hypocrites that is quick to attack undemocratic practices abroad but has a blind spot when it comes to their own actions here at home.

It will take many more protests to reclaim our streets from the thugs in blue and the government that encourages them in their wanton violence.

The tories received a warning last night but they show no sign of heeding it – this is how states lose legitimacy. All power to the people!

Solidarity with Sarah Everard and the women’s movement – kill the bill

Sarah Everard was allegedly kidnapped and murdered by a serving policeman from an elite unit, and now a vigil of solidarity and respect for her has been violently attacked by the same police.

Calls for Met police commissioner Cressida Dick to resign have been met by obfuscation and denial by the Met and politicians as usual have failed to rise to the occasion, preferring to let thuggish police off the hook.

Unfortunately Anna Birley, on of the organisers at Reclaim These Streets, is not calling for Dick’s resignation either in the mistaken belief that because she’s a woman she will be sympathetic to this rebirth of a miltant womens movement.

“We are a movement of women seeking to support and empower other women, and as one of the most senior women in British policing history, we do not want to add to the pile-on,” said Birley.

“We do want her to meet with us. We were hugely disappointed that she put out a statement yesterday without talking to any of the people who were organising the vigil and had such a difficult experience with the Metropolitan police force.”

But the police are our of control. If anyone doubts that, then the scenes at Clapham Common should have removed any such doubts.

Thankfully Sisters Uncut has a much better approach than Birley:

But things are about to get a whole lot worse with new legislation currently before parliament to give the police even more powers, specifically to further encroach on the right to protest.

Sarah Everard must not have died in vain

Put bluntly, the proposed new laws would put greater sanction on defacing statues than on violence against women.

The bill will allow the police to decide which protests will be allowed and which will not, on the spurious basis of whether the protest might be disruptive. But of course the ourpose of many protests is to be disruptive to some degree.

Essentially the Tory government hated the Black Lives Matter protests and those by Extinction Rebellion and now they want revenge by outlawing peaceful protests.

The Tories are playing with fire. Police credibility was already rock-bottom among wide swathes of society, not least among Black people.

Recent events have extended that dismay to many millions of women (and men) who watched on TV screens in disgust as women were manhandled, kicked and punched by male police officers.

The Tories want the police to have more powers to harass and jail black people and Muslims, target Gypsies and Travellers and to silence protesters.

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill – just like the Covid legislation – is being rammed through parliament with hardly any debate to stop protests like those for Sarah Everard.

Attack on right to protest

All vestige of democratic control over the police is being removed to be replaced with carte blanche for police to decide which protests are allowed and which are not.

There will be a new trespass law to target Gypsy, Roma and Traveller groups, with clauses citing “unauthorised encampments”for closure without providing alternatives.

Homeless people will also be swept up in the legislation if they are sleeping rough in what could also be defined as unauthorised encampments’

As we reported several weeks ago, the legislation also includes more draconian stop and search provisions that mean anyone previously guilty of knife crime offences can be stopped and searched without reason, but how are the police meant to work out who these people are – unless of course they are going to assume that all Black kids are knife carriers.

This is a recipe for even more racial profiling and oppressive policing of Black youth and others. All this is in addition to the clampdown on protests.

And its not as if the police don’t already have huge powers to restrict protests.

The 1986 Public Order Act already allows the likes of home secretary Priti Patel to curb protests that may involve “serious disruption”. But the new bill goes much further, allowing the home secretary to “make provision about the meaning” of the phrase.

Tories and Met police are sexist and racist

The Tories want to stop protests that they don’t like, while claiming to be in favour of democracy. They are liars and hypocrites.

We have to make sure that Sarah Everard’s murder leads to real change in this country.

Far from the police being a reflection of society, they represent the worst of society in their outsized sexism and racism.

There are protests taking place today to defend the right to protest and to demand an end to violence against women and action from the government. The proposed legislation contains no mention of violence against women.

The issue of who polices the police and who can you turn to for protection as a women or Black person when the police are sexist and racist throws big questions about the type of society we live in and the limits of our so called democracy.

The government’s words of condolence to Sarah Everard’s family mean nothing unless they are forced to make a change. For that to happen we need to stay on the streets – and the fight for women’s rights requires the support of all of us, as does the fight for racial justice.

Leon Briggs police walk free after inquest

The killing of Leon Briggs at the hands of Luton police on 4 November 2013 was brutal and carried out with shocking impunity.

The inquest into his death after interaction with police while experiencing a mental health episode has found that the police restraint “more than minimally” contributed to his death.

Leon was pinned faced down in the street for at least three minutes in scenes reminiscent of the murder of George Floyd in the US.

Although police deny it, witnesses say that Leon was pinned face down in the street. The only video of the incident shows the police taking Leon to a partly concealed position on the pavement, in front of a shop.

Leon Briggs’s mother Margaret Briggs

Police then forcibly transferred Leon to a police station and not to a hospital where he should have been taken.

Laughing as they pinned him down in a cell with the same techniques, the officers involved killed Leon – his heart stopped.

But even after he was dead they left him lifeless in the cell, only later realising that they had killed him.

Outragegously as part of their cover up, the police claimed that Leon had been involved in a “dirty protest”, when he had in fact urinated himself as he was dying, again in echoes of the murder of George Floyd.

It has take the family seven years to get the case to an inquest, but even now all the police officers that were a party to his death are still employed with Luton police. Not a single officer has been disciplined in any way whatsoever.

Video: the killing of Leon Briggs – warning the video below is disturbing:

Courtesy Channel 4 News

Met Police media team disproportionately highlights ‘Black crime’

Everyone – except Cressida Dick – knows that the Metropolitan Police is institutionally racist. But it is still arresting when its full extent is revealed.

The latest such evidence comes from tan exclusive report by Huffington Post, in conjunction with data crunchers and researcher company Statista.

Their research into Met police PR department has discovered that they disproportionately post pictures of Black people who have been involved in violent crime than they do when white people are involved.

Just as with the discredited ‘gang matrix’ (which is nevertheless still in use as a blatant racial-profiling tool), the police betray the fact that they have a view of Black people which sees them as violent and criminal, so the staffers in the Met police PR department think they are just doing their job, when in fact they reveal their own prejudice attitudes and no doubt discriminatory behaviour that informs it.

Met police racism: here’s the most damning part of the findings:

According to data we obtained from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), 13,897 people were sentenced in London between July and December of 2019 – the most recent MoJ data of this type available. Some 3,540 were white and 2,298 Black. 

Ethnicity data was unavailable for almost 6,000 people, and for the purposes of this investigation, HuffPost UK has removed them from the total.

In the same period, the Met Police published news releases on its public website and directly to journalists about 324 people who had been sentenced. Of these, 107 were white, while 141 were Black.

The report also discovered that the 37-page media policy includes no guidance on racial profiling, with not a single mention of ‘race’ or ‘ethnicity’ anywhere within the document.

For more on this, go to the Huffington Post UK.

met police media racism
Courtesy Huffington Post/Statista

Covid racism: Being poor or Black means no vaccine

Covid racism by the authorities means there is a huge disparity in getting the vaccine if you are from a poor, Black or Asian background.

On 20 February the Financial Times published an article entitled Racial Inequality Plagues US Vaccine Rollout.

Change US to UK and the headline would fit for the UK too.

The FT article contains some striking graphic representations of that disparity, with contrasting maps of the major cities showing the incidence of deaths and infections (blue) and the incidence of vaccine administration (green).

Being poor or black means no vaccine for you

The shocking truth that it is black and poor people doing most of the dying but rich white people getting the best vaccine coverage. BAME and frontliners are in the Covid firing line but seemingly at the back of the queue for the vaccine.

To repeat, what is true for the US is also true for the UK, but try as we might we cannot find similar maps of the UK, presumably because our millionaire owned press does not think it worthy of investigation.

And vaccine hesitancy among African Americans does not explain the gross disparity. Although that metric is higher among the demographic because of the history and current practice of racism in the delivery of US healthcare, it is the weakest factor explaining the low take up.

Instead, the way in which the vaccine rollout has been executed is the problem. Although the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended ‘priority groups’ get the vaccine first, this has been ignored by the individual states administering the rollout.

Vaccine hesitancy doesn’t explain rollout disparity

Most states have opted for an online first-come-first-served approach, which skews heavily in favour of the rich and well-heeled populations that have the time to sit in front of a computer refreshing the appointments site all day (or can hire someone to do that for them), or who don’t work all-hours and therefore don’t have the time to allocate for the necessary screen time.

And then there are the people who don’t have good internet access, which will tend to be the poorest communities. Then there is the already existing biases in healthcare delivery that skew to the richest in society.

Also, governments on both sides of the Atlantic are doing little if anything to counter vaccine hesitancy, with targeted outreach campaigns delivered by institutions and individuals trusted by the communities affected.

Short-sighted ruling class policy means a Covid pandemic without end

What is going on inside the rich countries is a reflection of what is going on at a global level, where the rich countries look after themselves but leave the middle income and poorest countries to fend for themselves. If it wasn’t for the Chinese and the Russians there would be no vaccine delivery in Latin America and Africa, for example.

But the short-sightedness of the rich white ruling-class elite means that the pandemic will never end because it will continue to circulate and mutate.

All graphics courtesy Financial Times.

Justice 4 Mohamud and Moyied – Protest Cardiff 20th Feb 1pm

Mohamud Mohammed Hassan
Mohamud Hassan died after contact with 52 police officers in Cardiff. No officers have been disciplined or charged.

South Wales police are refusing to suspend an officer under investigation for their involvement in the death of an innocent young Black man – Mohamud Hassan.

They would prefer to protect one of their own instead of even pretending to try and give justice to a grieving, traumatised family.

Let’s show them true accountability.

Make your voice heard! (while wearing a mask and being socially distanced)

*We are not organisers of this event. South Wales police organised it when they refused to suspend the officer, or the other 51 that were in contact with Mohamud before he died.

Daonate to Mohamud Justice campaign here.

Justice 4 Moyied Bashir

Now South Wales police stand accused of a hand in the death of Moyied Bashir. He died after 24 police smashed into his home. Moyied had mental health issues and his parent had called the police thinking they would help get him to hospital, but instead they are alleged to have killed him. Donate to the campaign here

Tories targeting Black Lives Matter and XR as ‘extremists’ exposes their own weakness

In a disturbing development, the government today announced an investigation into Extinction Rebellion (XR) and Black Lives Matter (BLM) and other “progressive extremists”, as it sought to liken the ecological movement and the fight for racial justice to far-right thuggery and terrorism.

The Tories have hired a clapped-out ex Labour MP to be the witch hunter in chief – a certain Lord Walney, real name John Woodcock.

Woodcock performed his services to the ruling class of Britain by doing his best to destroy the Labour Party, during the time when it was led by socialist and staunch anti-racist Jeremy Corbyn.

We hope they are paying Woodcock well for his McCarthyism.

Woodcock, after citing the far right in passing, then focuses on his real target: “We must be vigilant against a similar blind spot in Britain to the prospect of progressive extremism.

“That is, unacceptable disruption or even violence carried out in the name of progressive causes to which the political establishment and large majority of the population have great sympathy, like climate change and racial injustice.”

In a backhanded way, Woodcock admits that there is no evidence of violence by Extinction Rebellion, in comments to the Tory rag the Daily Telegraph, where he mused: “There have been a number of, at the moment isolated, examples of climate change activist groups, particularly Extinction Rebellion, overstepping the mark into antisocial behaviour.”

Not content with attacking XR, he then went on to indulge in a bit of old-fashioned red-baiting (you know the line – ‘Are you or have you ever been a communist?’).

His target was the left-wing socialist group the Socialist Workers Party: “I want to look at the way antidemocracy, anti-capitalist far left fringe groups in Britain like the Socialist Workers Party tend to have much more success hijacking important causes,”said Woodcock.

Clearly the powers that be hate the idea of people exercising their democratic right to protest and to be anti-capitalist, as well as anti racist, it would appear.

Black Lives Matter Movement responds to anti-democratic witch hunt

BLMM activist Gary McFarlane, responded to the government witch hunt in comments supplied to the media.

“Tarring XR and BLM with the same brush as far-right terrorists is an outrage. Far from the noble Lord being independent, he is the hand-picked servant of a man – the prime minister – who described Black people using vile racist language, extremist language that thankfully most people left behind in the 1950s.

It is Boris Johnson who has made pedalling Islamophobia his trademark, and in so doing providing cover for far-right extremism. So if the Lord wants to fight extremism he should start with his employer. 


“As for supposed left-wing hijackers, the Lord needs to brush up on his Black history. Many leading and influential figures in the fight for Black liberation were Marxists or influenced by Marxism – from Angela Davis to Paul Robeson, not to mention the great Black historians CLR James and WEB Du Bois (the latter being the founder of the NAACP).

“Also, one of the founders of the Notting Hill Carnival was a member of the Communist Party – Claudia Jones. The hugely influential Black Panther Party was a Marxist organisation – are they to be excised from history too by the Tories’ McCarthyite thought police? 


“The truth is that both XR and BLM have wide support and encompass people of divergent political views united in common aims – and our rulers clearly find that a threat. Meanwhile, violent fascists go about their business relatively unmolested by the same authorities.”