Anarchist prisoner Toby Shone was sentenced to 3 years 9 months in prison for 8 drug offences at Bristol Crown Court on October 13, 2021 after Terrorism charges were dropped. He has already served 8 months of this sentence on remand.
The ‘drugs’ were psychedelics and medicinal plants (LSD, DMT, cannabis, THC oil, MDMA and magic mushrooms) found at two of the four properties raided by counter-terror cops in the UK South-West on November 18, 2020 in their hunt for the administrator of anarchist website 325.nostate.net.
Toby was originally charged with providing a service enabling others to access terrorist publications contrary to section 2 of the Terrorism Act 2006, fundraising for terrorist purposes contrary to section 15 of the Terrorism Act 2000, and two counts of possession of information likely to be useful to a terrorist contrary to section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000. He had pleaded not guilty to these charges earlier this year and was due to stand trial at Bristol Crown Court on October 6, 2021. However, with no evidence to put before the court, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) was forced to drop these charges on October 1st. This was a landmark attempt by the British State and the deranged Home Secretary Priti Patel to prosecute an anarchist under modern terrorism legislation.
The investigation into 325 continues and cops continue to harass and attempt to intimidate one of Toby’s comrades at her home.
Toby is in good spirits and remains strong. He hopes to delay being transferred to another prison until he has had his annual MRI scan for cancer which is scheduled for this month with his medical team in Bristol, so please continue to send letters of support and birthday cards (it is his birthday on October 20th) to:
Ryan Roberts’ trial for riot and arson is on the 25-27th October. If convicted he is facing a long sentence. He will be the first defendant to be brought to trial to have plead not guilty for charges relating to the 21st March Kill the Bill demonstration.
Ryan is calling for solidarity and support
We will hold a demonstration on October 25th at 8.30am outside Bristol Crown Court. We’d also like people to sit in court from the 25th-27th, to show that Ryan has support!
On the final day of the trial we will hold a demo at 5pm outside the Crown Court.
Our passion for freedom is stronger than the prison!
Last week people gathered outside HMP Eastwood park women’s prison to show solidarity with prisoners who have recently experienced increased levels of violence from prison guards. They chanted “you are not alone” and made noise so that the people inside could know that they are supported, and that the violence that they experience behind the prison walls will not go on unnoticed.
People also gathered and made noise at HMP Bristol to show solidarity with the prisoners and also let the recently convicted KTB prisoners know that they have support from the wider community, and that people are outraged at the harsh sentencing for those who went to protest against more police powers and tougher sentences.
Ways to support the Kill The Bill Protesters include sending letters, donating to the croudfunders and helping to change the narrative that this was mindless violence. What happened in Spring this year was not mindless violence it was a protest where protesters defended themselves and their comrades against police violence.
A statement by Bristol Anarchist Black Cross and Bristol Defendant Solidarity
On Friday 30th July, five people were sentenced to over 14 years between them. Four people were given sentences of over three years for riot.
These five people are the first to receive custodial sentences for the confrontation with the police outside Bridewell Police Station at the Kill the Bill demonstration on 21st March. However, over 75 people have been arrested, 28 of them have now been charged. Two people are currently on remand in Horfield prison.
The sentences are:
BL 3 years 11 months
KA 3 years 6 months
SQ 3 years 3 months
KS 3 years 6 months
YS 5 months
Click here to donate to our crowdfunder to support those who are 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 with police horses. 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.
We are writing this statement to make clear that we support those who have been sentenced today, and that we are proud of them for fighting back. We need to be ready to defend ourselves against the police, and stand with those facing repression and criminalisation.
Communities across the UK face violence at the hands of the police every day, but they only call it violence when we fight back!
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 in the UK. Those who have been struggling against the Bill across the UK are resisting the expanding imbalance of power between the state and the people, and against the further criminalisation of one of the UK’s most marginalised communities.
The clash with the police on 21 March happened in the context of rising anger and action against the British police’s racist, classist and misogynist violence, and a government response to the coronavirus pandemic which left the UK one of the worst hit countries. The brunt of the Covid-19 crisis has been felt by working people and those seen as disposable by the government.
Bristol was a focal point of the UK’s Black Lives Matter protests last year when over 10,000 people marched through the city and pulled down the statue of slave trader Edward Colston before throwing it in the river – an action that had taken inspiration from anti-racists in the US. Similar actions took place all over the world against other monuments of colonisers in a wave of anti-racist organisation. Yet the police’s racist violence continues unabated. This year two Black men – Mohamud Hassan and Mouayed Bashir – both died after being detained in police custody in Cardiff and Newport. This is nothing new, there have been 1792 deaths in police custody or following contact with the police in the UK since 1990. And in Bristol, if you’re Black you are seven times more likely to be stopped and searched by the police.
Throughout March 2021 – in the weeks leading up to the March 21st Kill the Bill demonstration – weekly vigils had been held for Sarah Everard, who was murdered by an officer from the Met Police.
The Policing Bill aims to further criminalise those who defend themselves against police violence, doubling the maximum prison sentence for assaulting a police officer, while the police are able to use violence and even kill with impunity. Sentences for damaging ‘national monuments’ such as statues of slave traders will be increased to a maximum 10 year prison sentence.
The Bill also aims to massively increase the number of people in prison in the UK. At the moment, most people are released from prison after they have served half their sentence. If the Bill is passed some defendants will have to serve two-thirds, and courts will have more powers to impose long sentences against those under the age of 18. These measures to lock up more people go hand in hand with state plans to employ 20,000 more police, to build six new mega prisons and 18,000 more prison places in the UK.
The Policing Bill is an attempt by the state to increase its repressive powers to attack our communities, and to lock up even more of us. Our movements need to build our own strength, to defend ourselves and to fight back like the Bristol Kill the Bill defendants did on 21st March.
As we have seen, Bristol will not stand by silently. The people of this city know how to resist. We need to organise to support those incarcerated, but we need support from comrades across the UK and internationally to do this, please consider donating to our crowdfunder 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 email@example.com
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.
When: Monday 23rd and Monday 30th November 2020, 18.30-21.30. + future weekend date tbc
Where: online. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.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.
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.
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.