#KillTheBill Prisoner Support Fund

Bristol ABC has launched a crowdfunder as a call to support for people sentenced to prison after the Kill The Bill protests in Bristol in March 2021.

Donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/ktb-prisoner-support-fund

Over 78 people have been arrested and 28 people have been charged. Three people are already in prison. Throughout the coming months, more and more people will be imprisoned after resisting police violence.

If you would like to donate in a different way please email bristol_abc@riseup.net

What will the money be used for?

  • £50 will be offered to each prisoner per month for the duration of their sentence. This is for phone credit and essential items in prison.
  • If at least 25 people go to prison for 24 months, the total costs will be £30,000.
  • Bristol ABC is also dedicated to raising funds for books, clothes, distance learning courses and helping people’s friends and families visit them. All of these things make prison survivable and keep people connected to their loved ones. Any additional funds we raise will go towards the above. 

Why support the Kill the Bill Protestors in Prison?

What happened on 21st March was an outpouring of rage against the violence of the police. The crowd fought back after police officers attacked the crowd with batons and riot shields. Pepper spray was used indiscriminately, people were charged at with horses and hit over the head with batons and shields . The protesters fought back, seizing police riot shields, helmets and batons to defend themselves. By the end of the evening several police vehicles had been set on fire.

Those who defended themselves against the police have been branded ‘thugs’ and ‘wild animals’ by both Priti Patel and the police spokesperson. The police have been out for revenge for what happened at Bridewell ever since. That revenge has come in the form of the brutality used against the Kill the Bill protests in Bristol on March 23rd and 26th. And in the use of riot charges – the most serious public order charge available in English law punishable by a maximum of ten years in prison – against those who fought back on March 21st.
The demonstration on 21st March was against the Police, Courts and Sentencing Bill, a bill which aims to give the police even more power to repress political dissent, and which will destroy the ways of life of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Communities. It will also massively expand the prison population  through further criminalisation, longer sentences and more powers to imprison children.

Communities across the UK face violence at the hands of the police every day, but they only call it violence when we fight back!

We need to support those that have fought back and show those in prison that they are never alone and not forgotten.

Support Ryan

He has asked for letters of support. Please write to him at:

Ryan Roberts is currently on remand in Bristol Prison. He was arrested after the confrontation with the police at Bristol’s Bridewell police station. He has been charged with riot and arson.

Ryan Roberts
HMP Horfield
19 Cambridge Road
Bristol
bs7 8ps
Prison number A5155EM

Legal Observer Training

We warmly invite you to take part in …

Legal Observer Training (6 hours, two online sessions), hosted by Bristol Defendant Solidarity in collaboration with Green and Black Cross

When: Monday 23rd and Monday 30th November 2020, 18.30-21.30. + future weekend date tbc

Where: online. RSVP to legaltrainingbristol@gmail.com for joining details by Sat 21st.
+ in person follow up outdoors in Bristol when co-vid restrictions allow

Cost: Free/ or if you can afford to do so please donate to StopWatchHow do I sign up?: RSVP to legaltrainingbristol@gmail.com with1. your name (full or legal name not necessary)2. Where you’re based (eg Bristol, Cardiff, Somerset)3. a couple of sentences about how you’d like to apply this training and any previous experience you’d like to share with us,4. Any accessibility needs that are relevant to how we run the online sessions.

Who is this for?

Anyone who wants to learn how to be a Legal Observer and more generally help keep the police accountable in protest situations and beyond. You’ll gain practical skills, knowledge of the law, and confidence in monitoring police behaviour. We will be focussing on public order situations but will also touch on other contexts, such as street policing issues, evictions etc. All levels of experience are welcome: whether you’re new to protest or have years of experience observing and interacting with police. Please pass this invitation on to people who you think may be keen!

We will follow up this online training with an in person practical training day in Bristol, when co-vid restrictions allow – so we’ll prioritise people likely to be active in the Bristol area. 

What to expect:–An interactive training, with information, practical exercises, scenarios to explore in groups, and BREAKS (you will never have more than 55minutes without a break)
–The first session will introduce you to the role  of Legal Observer and some of the key skills and issues that come up
–The second session will go deeper into particular scenarios and give more time to practice legal observing skills

We’re also planning an in-person practical day in Bristol: a chance to practice some role play scenarios in person, and meet other legal observers who you may work with in future!

Why we’re doing this now

2020 has seen an uptick in political activism across the world. Despite us being locked in our homes for the majority of the year, more and more people are expressing their dissatisfaction with the current social order and taking to the streets in protest. This rise in protest movements has (perhaps unsurprisingly) coincided with a wave of police violence against protesters, especially those who are newly finding their voice. This violence aims to silence us, and stop the momentum that social justice movements have gained in the last 6-12 months. We must therefore organise ourselves and our comrades to defend against attacks from every part of the criminal justice system from the police to the courts. Having legal observers on the ground at demonstrations is part of this community self-defence and we would like to share some of our knowledge around this topic with you! 

Who’s running this?

We’re a small group of people based in Bristol with previous experience of legal observing and of facilitating legal trainings for activists – between us we work/ have worked with Bristol Defendant Solidarity, CopWatch, StopWatch, Green and Black Cross and Black Protest Legal Support.

During the past six months we’ve been collaborating with Black Protest Legal to provide legal observer support for demonstrations by All Black Lives.  

We recognise that the police are institutionally racist, and that Black people and other people of colour are disproportionately targeted by the police for harassment and violence. We recognise that white people are currently overrepresented among active legal observers in Bristol, and that this work is dominated by white activists on a national level, and are committed to working to address the underlying reasons for this, with input and direction from Black people and other people of colour. We see sharing police monitoring skills as an important part of solidarity and struggle.

Our email address has changed from legaltrainingbristol[at]protonmail.com to legaltrainingbristol@gmail.com due to technical problems – please use legaltrainingbristol@gmail.com to contact us from now on

Advice for avoiding arrest and staying free

So after the wonderful toppling of Colston’s statue the cops say they are investigating. It may be, in the context of all the popular support for the action, that they won’t actually follow through. But we think it’s definitely best to be prepared and take some simple steps to protect ourselves and each other. So here’s some important advice to help keep people safe and free. Please share widely.

For anyone involved, or worried about being targeted by police:

1. Well done; nice work!

2. Don’t panic. The cops have limited resources and don’t know everything! If the worst comes to the worst you will get solid support and solidarity from Bristol Black Lives Matter, Bristol Defendant Solidarity and a lot of good people on your side and on the right side of history. The authorities want us to feel isolated and afraid – our best defence is each other. Everything below is just a precaution – better safe than sorry!

3. Get rid of clothes (and shoes, bags) you were wearing at the scene, and anything incriminating. If it’s something you really can’t part with permanently, at least stash it somewhere safe that isn’t linked to you for as long as you can. If you’ve already used a phone or computer to send an incriminating message, you should think about stashing or getting rid of that too – deleted data could be recovered.

4. Don’t help them gather info or evidence. Be careful about what you say online, by phone, or even around phones. Sharing stories can be powerful, and having someone to talk to can be important – but it’s best to stick to face-to-face conversations with people you trust, away from phones or computers. Resist the urge to gossip, especially about others’ actions. We certainly don’t recommend handing yourself in, as the police would like you to do!

5. Have these numbers ready to call. If arrested, you don’t need HJA’s number; you can just say you want ‘Hodge Jones & Allen solicitors from London’.
HJA solicitors – 020 7874 8300
Bristol Defendant Solidarity (BDS) – 07510 283424

BDS will support anyone arrested through the legal process …but if you HAVEN’T had any hassle from the police, consider that contacting BDS may, in itself, be a risk. If you decide to do so, you could do it via a phone and SIM that are both not linked to you (pay cash), via a trusted friend, or via an anonymous email account (not linked to your phone, computer or internet connection).

6. If you are contacted by the police for any reason, answer ‘NO COMMENT‘ to all questions. Even in informal conversations, and even if you feel that what you are saying will make them realise they have the wrong person. You have a right to silence, and speaking puts you and others at risk. Get support for your ‘no comment’ by using your right to free legal advice at the police station; but via an experienced protest lawyer like HJA of London rather than the duty solicitor. Read up more on your rights if arrested now.

For everyone else:

1. Don’t help the cops gather info or evidence either! Don’t identify anyone you know in photos or footage, and don’t post new footage online without blurring faces and anything identifable. Even then, consider whether adding more footage is worth the risk; you may miss something. As above, resist the urge to gossip, especially about others’ actions, and keep incriminating stories offline and away from phones and other tech. Encourage others to do the same!

2. Be ready to support. Let’s stick together and be clear that ditching Colston was the best thing that’s happened in ages, and pressure the authorities to drop the investigation. Thanks for having each others backs.

Fundraiser dub night

Some friends of Bristol Defendant Solidarity are putting on a benefit night for us at the Plough next Thursday!

Get down there to support your local anti repression group. There will be  revolutionary reggae and dissident dub!

Check out Co-operators and Waggle Dance Records page here!

Callout for involvement

Looking for something to get stuck into in the new year? We may have just the thing!

Bristol Defendant Solidarity has been working since 2011 to support defendants facing charges from demonstrations and actions in Bristol and beyond. We provide active solidarity and unconditional support to anyone going through the courts as a result of involvement in social movements and struggle.

This support includes help with case and court preparation, finding witnesses, help with travel costs and fines and organising solidarity demos. We organise know your rights sessions and skillshares to prepare for demos and actions as well as providing police station support for arrestees.

We understand that if people feel supported they are more likely to stay involved despite the hassle from the authorities and their punitive processes designed to keep us off the streets. BDS maintains a radical perspective and is opposed to the state “justice” system and its enforcers.

We need more people to be involved and share the vital work of standing together in the face of repression. Antirepression and solidarity work is everyone’s responsibility. There are lots of tasks and roles. Anyone interested can contact us; we’ll arrange to meet and chat about our work in more detail. Get in touch and get involved! bristoldefendantsolidarity at riseup dot net

Support local antifascists

From crowdfunder page sent to us:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/support-antifascists-from-bristol

“Please support antifascists from Bristol who have been repeatedly targeted by the police for being active antifascists. A particularly heavy fine of £1500 was imposed on one antifascist, a person of colour, who has also been experiencing significant intimidation and harassment from local officers.

Three antifascists are currently facing bogus charges from a “total policing”, Draconian operation to prevent opposition to a far-right demonstration in Dewsbury on 12th October.

This repression is intended to wear us down and intimidate us. It is also designed to waste our time and effort with fundraising to pay for numerous journeys to court and to pay the fines imposed.

We need to show the authorities that it will not work. Please show your solidarity and support by making a donation towards our target of £1000. “

Still fighting!

This is a statement from a comrade we have been supporting through the courts and persistent police harassment. We admire their determination to carry on resisting despite being targetted and their willingness to speak up and expose the cops for what they are. Their words are a good example of the courage and integrity necessary for fighting to win:

Still fighting!

It was only a “No”. The sentence resonates inside of me. It was only a “No” and they tried to make me pay for telling them where to get off. For fighting them in court. For having the “wrong politics”. For not being white. It was only a “No”, yet for over a year and a half since that day and since my fight to clear my name began, it has felt like forever.At the time, on that cold December evening in 2017 I made it clear that I don’t talk to police. In fact I made it so crystal clear the christmas shoppers bustling past stopped to stare at the two CID officers. One stopped mid sentence and both went red in the face; utterly humiliated in front of the public. You would’ve thought they would’ve taken the hint. You would of thought they would of understood what “Fuck off” meant.
At the time, I was on bail for something I hadn’t done; an alleged “assault” on a cop when I was on an anti fascist counter demonstration against the far right in Bristol. A charge which is a clear case of malicious prosecution by the state.
You see, right now they’re waging a war on us. I’ve always hated to think in terms of “us” and “them” but right now it’s never been so clear. The thin blue line is a burning fuse and that fuse for many of us is getting shorter by the day. Being a political activist of any kind these days makes you a threat to both the state and the status quo. And the status quo is what the police in particular are there to uphold.
Their organization is founded on white supremacy, institutional racism and protection of the rich and ruling classes. If you look back far enough you’ll find that these “civil servants” stem from slave patrols. Back then they were used to suppress the working class and they continue this work today.
I can cast my mind back over the past year and a half plus of harassment and intimidation tactics. I can cast my mind back to that cold night in December and realize that no matter what tactics they use, no matter which cop loving lackeys they enlist to help them with their fascism, the police have always been responsible for everything.
Intent on protecting themselves, holding a grudge and getting revenge, they have targetted me in an unaccountable “operation” with the tacit support and involvement of middle class racists, cheerleaders for the cops and background fascists. They’d call it “surveillance”. I call it bullying and cowardice.
Last year I wrote about what can be best described as police stalking tactics. At the time, Netpol told me that concerningly they had seen instances over the years of activists being targeted by cops with a grudge to bear. In 2019 we hear almost daily of so many instances of police corruption, brutality and targetting of activists, trade unionists, people of colour and disabled protesters to name a few.
I’ve learnt what the true nature of the beast is over the last year and a half of my life. I’ve put up with the area car tails, the harassment from plain clothes officers, the email hacking, the attempted computer cracking and complete invasion of my privacy and personal spaces. I’ve never stood alone but they’ve done their best to isolate me and convince me I’m out of time and options. They’ve targeted me for fighting them but now they know that I won’t give up until they’re beaten. It’s a long road but with comrades beside me I will win.
Reflecting on events of the past year and a half plus of my life is at points difficult. I feel my eyes fill with tears and a lump rise in my throat, but I swallow what hurts so it can’t hurt me anymore. You see they’ve done their best to position me as a trouble maker through antagonistic tactics occasionally led by “concerned citizens” in my community designed to create paranoia and anxiety and to bring out the very worst in me.
They have tried to wear me down through endless police tails, deliberate use of flashing lights and siren bursts as they cruise past me. Plain clothes officers regularly play head games, more so when they think no one is watching.
I know that my enemies aren’t everywhere and aren’t everyone but they have always tried to create that impression. The all seeing eye of authority and the outcast. They want me to think it’s 1984. All of this has been done because of my politics and what appears to be a very deep level of racism the likes of which I would only normally associate with fascism.
Recently, I’ve witnessed and heard accounts locally of how aggressive the police have been towards left wing activists, be they antifascists or Kurdish solidarity protestors. It’s not just here but seemingly everywhere and what’s most troubling is the cosy relationship the police seem to be developing with the far-right.
Fascists have always loved the police and military as infiltrating these professions gives the chance to abuse their authority and target their enemies. Having read how police in the US have assisted fascists in targeting us it comes as no surprise that the far right seem so keen to show support for our local authoritarians. “We’ll give your details to the police”, “Don’t think we won’t find out who you are!” have been threats thrown at us by fascists of late and it seems that the police have been only too happy to help.
Repression and harassment affects us in different ways. My experience of police abuse may not be yours but it doesn’t make it any less real. It doesn’t make my anger and my frustration go away and it doesn’t take away the points where I’ve drunk too much to cope with my feelings wishing I’d say more to my friends when I only ever say too little.
It’s important that we build a culture of support and understanding for those on the sharp end of state abuse. It’s crucial now more than ever because it seems that all of our struggles are intensified under a nationalist government that wages a never ending and vicious class war against us. no one is coming to save us so we have to show the state that our solidarity, strength and determination is unbreakable.
When it comes to myself, I don’t know what the rest of the year holds for me but what I do know is that despite police harassment I continue to keep fighting all my fights and remain as unshakeable now as I was two years ago. I feel quietly confident I’ll put things right and I want to be able to help others who may have been targeted for their political views. I always feel stronger remembering that I’ll never be alone.
My comrades have been there for me throughout. I never betray my friends. There may be more to me than just the next action I’m on but it’s a big part of who I am and it’s where my heart lives. No cowardly bully will ever stop me from doing the right thing. You know it’s funny that after all this time I can still see the cracks in them, but there are no cracks in me.

Legal info for demos

Sunday November 25th. 11am-4pm.

Want to learn to legal observe at demos and / or skill up on relevant legal knowledge for when you are out protesting? Sign up to a training with Activist Court Aid Brigade (ACAB) and Bristol Defendant Solidarity (BDS). Email courtsupport@protonmail.com to get your place. Please pass on to people you trust and bring something vegan to share for lunch.

URGENT APPEAL: SUPPORT TAYLOR!

Taylor has just been moved to a medical wing of HMP Peterborough. He has been struggling with his health, and messages of support will help his mental health.

Taylor desperately needs support to simply stay alive and not persistently try to take their own life. They need connection, friendship, and solidarity.

Taylor is a trans IPP prisoner, for more info about his background and case, see this link: http://smashipp.noflag.org.uk/action-alert-support-claire/

 

 

hmp peters tylr