Author Archives: BristolABC

Statement on the guilty verdicts against Ryan Roberts

A joint statement by Bristol Anarchist Black Cross and Bristol Defendant Solidarity

On Friday 29 October, Ryan Roberts was found guilty of riot and four charges of arson.

We continue to stand in solidarity with Ryan and all other defendants charged following the Kill the Bill demos in Bristol. We will give them all the support we can, whatever the sentences they receive.

Our hearts are heavy. We are full of rage. Ryan’s conviction only adds fuel to the fire of our hatred of the carceral system and our desire to dismantle it.

Ryan’s trial was the first time the events of that night were put before the courts. The court heard from a legal observer that “it was the actions of the police who pushed the crowd that caused the escalation.”

The court heard that police officers punched and kicked protesters. It heard that officers used their shields as weapons. The jury saw footage of a line of police officers in riot gear knocking two people to the ground, repeatedly hitting them with riot shields, and kicking them.

Under cross examination one officer stated:

“you can call it violence or you can call it lawful force.”

Because as we’re said before – they only call it violence when we fight back.

But it is not a crime to fight back against police violence and state repression. We cannot stand to one side when people are beaten. And every one of us has a duty to stand in solidarity with those persecuted for fighting back.

The police, prison and courts system are trying hard to place barriers in the way of our solidarity. For example, on the first day of Ryan’s case Bristol Crown Court prevented Ryan’s friends and supporters from entering the courtroom. The choice to close the public gallery was a direct violation of the legal system’s own concepts of ‘democracy’ and ‘justice’. It was also an ideological attack on our solidarity with Ryan, and with all prisoners and defendants within the court system.

The repression people are currently facing in Bristol is just the start. This repression is set to get worse. The Police, Crime, Courts and Sentencing Bill, currently going through the House of Lords, will make it easier for the police to criminalise and imprison protesters. But the bill is not just about protest. We stand in solidarity with Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities whose way of life is being outlawed by this bill. We stand in solidarity with Black people, already bearing the brunt of a racist police force, who will be disproportionately targeted by the stop and search powers in the bill. In Bristol, Black men are nearly ten times more likely to be stopped and searched than white men.

In Bristol and across England & Wales women continue to experience sexist & misogynistic behaviour, and – all too often – assault, at the hands of police officers.

We are under no illusions that the situation is stacked against us. The mainstream media and state narratives have served to demonise those that took part in the protest on 21 March. They have labelled people thugs for daring to fight back when they’ve been battered and pepper sprayed; when they’ve been bitten by dogs and seen their friends injured. The trial judge has already stated in the cases where people have pleaded guilty that the actions that night “dehumanised the police”. But it is the police who dehumanise us on a daily basis. Every stop and search, every baton strike, every arrest is another act of dehumanisation. It is the police who are the problem. Not those who resist.

But we will change that narrative. We will expose the violence the police showed not just that night, but in our communities, on our protests and on our streets on a daily basis. We will continue taking pride in each and every time people stand up and say enough is enough to state violence.

The state is pursuing ridiculously serious charges against the Bristol protesters because they are scared. They are scared of our anger. They are scared of our passion. They are scared at our willingness to fight back. They are scared that more and more people are finally seeing the police force as the violent, racist, classist and sexist institution that it is; something that those from marginalised communities are already so acutely aware of.

So while our hearts are heavy and our thoughts are with Ryan and their family and friends, our determination to fight and support those facing repression is undiminished. We refuse to be scared. We refuse to be intimidated.

The fight continues.

Statement in support of Ryan Roberts

On 25th October, Ryan Roberts is on trial in Bristol on charges of riot and arson relating to the Kill the Bill demo on 21st March 2021. Ryan has been held on remand since April and is the first defendant to face trial following the events of that night.

We stand in solidarity with Ryan and all KTB defendants. The police acted with impunity at the KTB demos. Protesters sitting in the road were violently attacked. People were pepper-sprayed, and hit with batons and shields. 62 people were injured in the KTB protests that took place in Bristol in March.

But they only call it violence when we fight back.

It is not a crime to fight back against police violence and state repression. We cannot stand to one side when people are beaten. And every one of us has a duty to stand in solidarity with those persecuted for fighting back.

This repression is set to get worse. The Police, Crime, Courts and Sentencing Bill, currently going through the House of Lords, will make it easier for the police to criminalise and imprison protesters. But the bill is not just about protest. We stand in solidarity with Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities whose way of life is being outlawed by this bill. We stand in solidarity with Black people, already bearing the brunt of a racist police force, who will be disproportionately targeted by the stop and search powers in the bill. In Bristol, Black men are nearly ten times more likely to be stopped and searched than white men.

We stand in solidarity with the people who will be criminalised, and locked up in prison for even longer as a result of the Bill.

The trial judge has already stated in the cases where people have pleaded guilty that the actions that night “dehumanised the police”. But it is the police who dehumanise us on a daily basis. Every stop and search, every baton strike, every arrest is another act of dehumanisation. It is the police who are the problem. Not protesters.

Solidarity protests will be held outside the court at 8:30am on 25th October and at 5:30pm on 27th October.

Anarchist Prisoner Toby Shone Sentenced

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:

Toby Shone A7645EP
HMP Bristol
19 Cambridge Road
Bishopston
Bristol
BS7 8PS
UK

Or email him via emailaprisoner.com

Solidarity with Toby!
Some Anarchists

Support Ryan Roberts

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.

if you’re coming from elsewhere and need accommodation email bristoldefendantsolidarity@riseup.net

We are also calling for you to do a solidarity banner drop or other action in your local area during October to show your support for Ryan

Ryan is currently on remand in Bristol Prison. He’d welcome letters of support. Click here to find out how.

Solidarity is strength!

Image

Write to the Kill the Bill Prisoners

Solidarity Noise Demonstrations outside HMP Eastwood Park & HMP Bristol

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.

People gathered outside HMP Eastwood park with banners reading: “End police violence at Eastwood Park” and “Solidarity with Prisoners”
People gathered outside HMP Bristol with banners

We are proud of those who fought back against the police

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

#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

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