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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

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.

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

Resist Surveillance infonight at BASE

This event has been postponed so as not to clash with the delivery worker’s strike: 6-8pm at McDonald’s, Broadmead.

Watch this space for the new date for this session…

 

We will be covering both online and street surveillance.
Whether you be an anti-fascist, hunt sab, Wobbly, full-time anarcho or just someone who wants to fight for social change this event is for you! We’ll be covering:

SOCMINT (social media intelligence ) and OSINT (Open source intelligence ) what they are, why this matters and how to keep things watertight online – personal profiles and group page modding.

Mobile phone security- dos and don’ts best practices and tips.

Demo and group security and threat modelling, with contributions from BDS.

Food and drinks available.

We’re new around these parts so donations are welcome and will be shared with the awesome BASE!

Content powered by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
We’d prefer if you don’t take photos and will be happy to provide content on request.

 

Frack Free Four

http://frackfreefoursupporters.org/

In July 2017 a convoy of lorries delivering drilling equipment to the Preston New Road fracking site was spontaneous brought to a halt by protestors. Four people took the opportunity to climb up on top of the cabs of the lorries and between them stayed in occupation for 99 and a half hours, supported by supplies from locals. You can hear more about why in the video below.

After a 7 day jury trial in August at Preston Crown Court they were found guilty of Public Nuisance. They were told to expect custodial sentences and were bailed to return.

The sentencing proceedings began on 25 September (covered by The Guardian, and Drill or Drop).

On Thursday 26th September unprecedented sentences handed down.

Roscoe Blevins, 26 and Richard Roberts, 36 received 16 months immediate custodial sentences.
Richard Loizou, 31 received 15 months immediate custodial sentences.

They can expect to serve half of this time in jail, the rest on licence.

Julian Brock, 47 had already served 3 months inside for non appearance at previous hearing. He received 12 months custodial sentence, which unlike the others was suspended due to his guilty plea – meaning he is thankfully now free.

Please write to them! Info about this on the website.

Week Of Solidarity With Anarchist Prisoners 23rd-30th August

To start off the Week Of Solidarity With Anarchist Prisoners (23rd-30th August) we bring you this fun evening of Poetry Music and Information on Prisoner solidarity and how you can join in and prepare actions of support. At Hydra Bookshop 34 Old Market Street, BS2 0EZ Bristol, UK.

This is a good opportunity to meet others and throw ideas around about upcoming actions you could do in solidarity with Anarchist prisoners!

With music from GINS
http://www.georgiebiggin.com/

&

Poetry from T. S Idiot

https://tomstockley.weebly.com/

This event if free, but we hope to also make it a fundraiser for prison abolition projects and the International anarchist defense fund, so donations are very welcome!

website for Afund: https://afund.antirep.net
website for Week Of Solidarity With Anarchist Prisoners: https://solidarity.international/poster evento

 

Link to Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/445522069184739/

ACTION ALERT! Write to IPP Taylor

IPP prisoner Taylor has been moved to segregation unit in HMP Downview.

Segregation units seriously impact the mental health of prisoners, with 23 hours out of every 24 spent in solitary confinement. It is widely known that segregation increases the rates of depression and risk of self-harm for people.

Taylor has a long history of self-harm in prison. IPP sentencing doesn’t give prisoners a release date, this combined with the ongoing neglect, abuse, transphobia and general trauma of the prison system has slowly destroyed Taylor’s mental health.

We are calling out to everyone to offer their solidarity and end the isolation by writing to Taylor now at this address:

Claire Taylor A7974AX
HMP Downview
Sutton Lane
Sutton
Surrey
SM2 5PD
Taylor is a Trans Masculine prisoner in a women’s prison, Taylor loves animals. They used to rescue dogs on the out, and especially loves staffies. They love the ocean and grew up by the sea. They also love tattoos and piercings. WRITE TO TAYLOR.jpg
You can also email them via the email a prisoner service: http://emailaprisoner.com/
For more about their background and case see: http://smashipp.noflag.org.uk/action-alert-support-claire/

Victory On The 44th Day Of Hunger Strike!

Osman Evcan gained the victory from the determined struggle which he put
his life against the state inside the thick walls of prison which he is
enclosed. Osman , got everything he demanded through this hard period
without surrendering to the state.

Evcan has been taken from the one-person cell, where he has been kept
for two years, to another room and has been allowed to use his right to
do sports and engage in conversation. Evcan will also be provided with a
vegan menu.

He fainted yesterday and was taken to the medical room. After Evcan
rejected treatment at the medical room, his requests were accepted by
the prison administration.

Osman Evcan ended his indefinite hunger strike which took 44 days
against intimidation, torture and extermination politics against
prisoners and again he proved us that how he is right about his call to
raise struggle. He continued his resistance resolutely by choosing to
die with honor is the only reason why he’s demands are excepted.
He is grateful to everyone who have held demonstrations, spoken up, and
support for Osman Evcan’s cause. Osman Evcan is now trying to get over
the adverse effects of the hunger strike process, and his present health
condition is fine. We will share the message from Osman Evcan soon.

With anarchist solidarity

ABC İstanbul

Show solidarity with Osman, and the struggle inside, write to him at:

Osman Evcan

Kocaeli 1 Nolu F Tipi Cezaevi
A-7-21
Kandıra Kocaeli

Turkey

vegan-sb

https://abcistanbul.org/2018/05/08/victory-on-the-44-day-of-hunger-strike/

In the Wars, With the Prison System

Since 2012 I have been seriously harassed and stalked by the (ministry of justice) it all started when I was accepted into the (CSC) system (close supervision centres) within the high security prison estate for an alleged allegation of assault witch I was later exonerated of.

I was not in prison for a violent crime defined by law, I was in prison for (blackmail x 2) and revived 9 years reduced to a six years on appeal

I spent over 19 months within this system and believe me now I have never experienced so much abuse, corruption, sick and evil treatment of people in my whole life.

I suffered abuse at the hands of these so called professionals I can assure you now that system is another way for the prison service to extort the British tax payers and the government of money. They breed violence and encourage it they target prisoners and inflict psychological abuse upon them in some circumstances leading to self-mutilation, also warehousing mentally ill patients to increase the budgets from the government as well as physical and sexual abuse they are predators trust me.

In May 2011 a prison officer named Mark Gilbert attacked me it was unprovoked on camera with 3 other officers and they subjected me to a brutal, violent and sexual assault Gilbert only being the sexual predator. This complaint was investigated by the prisons and probation ombudsman and upheld Mark Gilbert is referenced in this report which is a legal document please remember this is the victims account for legal reasons.

The prison failed to involve the police however I did write to the (IPCC) and complained about Thames valley police not investigating a crime I complained about who then did a turnaround & recorded my complaint as of date nobody has still been to take a statement or investigate the crime which was on camera clearly protecting this animal who needs to be locked away he also resigned before the disciplinary hearing could take place evading capture from both the prison service and the police.

This is criminal and was condoned and supported by the prison service. The reports witch evidence what I am stating can be obtained from either (MOJUK) or (FRFI) I believe they will be uploaded on line for all to read.

I suffered a number of attacks by these officers and witnessed a significant amount of assaults on others within that system which needs shutting down it does absolutely nothing but breed more violence how many successes it has had!

Since all of this I have had nothing but stalking, harassment, targeting and abuse by the (prison service), (probation service) (NHS) as well as the police trying to abuse processes in order to try and put me in prison.

I’ve found myself in a position where I’m suffering significant & severe levels of corruption and I don’t seem to be getting any help I have been suffering with a very bad injury to my left foot and ankle now since (2013) I am being constantly denied medical care and treatment I am genuinely suffering in pain and discomfort in a bad way I cannot walk on my foot it’s that bad.

But this is taking place in my opinion because my solicitor has lodged a personal Injury claim against the (MOJ) for creating the injury it’s my belief that the (NHS) who’s in big business with the (high security prison estate) who controls the (high secure mental hospitals) is being influenced by the (MOJ) into covering up the true extent of my injury so the (MOJ) doesn’t have to pay for the damages it’s very sick evil and depraved staff have created (March 2017) (HMP Doncaster) I was attacked again unprovoked on (CCTV) by a prison officer Dan Greggory who is referenced in the internal report completely by the prison who was subsequently dismissed from the prison service it’s needs to be recognised the management were professional in this respect.

I was then sent to (HMP Lindholme) where after 8 days of my arrival I was assaulted by another prison officer on camera again unprovoked the (police prisons investigations team for South Yorkshire) investigated and failed to submit the evidence to the (CPS) for a charging decision they basically covered up a crime to protect the officer.

Whilst the investigation was on going I was transferred to (HMP Wealstun) were six officer greeted me upon my arrival it needs to be noted I arrived in a wheelchair due to my foot being so bad I was then told by (six prison officers including to senior managers) to get out of the wheelchair

I was going to the segregation I explained I could only walk a short distance aided with a crutch long term I had to use a wheelchair for mobilizing I was told no you can walk you’re going to the segregation I said could I please speak to health care as I could point them in the direction of the information which would outline my injures I was told no you can’t I said I need to speak to healthcare before I could say another word literally six officers attacked me dragged me out of the wheelchair smashing my head off the floor then kneeing me and punching me at no point was I resisting I was the picked up in midair above the heads and carried to the segregation and put in a cell around ten minutes later four different officers came into the cell not small guys they surrounded me and said we want your trainers.

I explained I needed to see healthcare I had just been assaulted also that my trainers were prescribed medically I was told give us your trainers before I could even finish asking for healthcare again they assaulted me again punching and kneeing one officer tried to break my back with some (UFC) body slam I was then stripped naked and they left the cell.

I was in a cell with no toilet, sink or bed just four walls and a floor it I went to the corner of the cell to empty my bowels. Whilst in the corner naked knelt down the officers tried to come back into the cell again. So I threatened them so they would leave the cell in fear for my life genuinely.

After ten minutes or so five officers came running through the cell door without warning with a (shield and helmets) into an empty cell with no moveable objects and just a naked man they rammed me into the corner and beat me severely, fractured my ribs and smashed my head off the floor I was dragged around into another cell and then had some six foot eighteen stone meat head kneel down on my back and try his hardest to try and snap my shoulder blade off my body by prizing it out and pushing my shoulder in he then started to push his fingers into the back of my ear with real force trying to stop me breathing they then ran out of the cell and left me naked with no food or medical assistance or pain relief that’s (“3” assaults in one hour) a human body is not designed to take that much trauma.

5 days later when all the bruising and spelling went down I was taken to (Harrogate and district hospital) were I was told my (ribs were fractured) and my (rotator cuff in my shoulder was broken) as well as further trauma to my (back), (foot and ankle) leaving me unable to walk and in a lot of pain all the prison staff did was provoke and abuse me.

A few weeks later I was transferred to HMP Moorland early December with six outstanding hospital appointments which I had in print black and white. I was kept at HMP Moorland until April the 20th, on my release I was not allowed to attend one hospital appointment. TI’m told it’s been assessed and I no longer fit the criteria for those appointments, they just disappeared. Basically it’s just more criminality and corruption to cover over my injures and protect the animals, bullies and predators the created them.

I am wheelchair bound cannot stand and suffer in agony with my shoulder as well as a lump on my spine it makes me sick. How is it that this treatment of a human being is allowed to happen in a country that values humanity and human rights.

The week before my release the prison told me a special van would pick me up to take me to the hostel probation have put me in due to me being wheelchair bound, I said fine they told me this 3 times. On the day of my release I get pushed to reception, whilst being processed I was asked how I would be getting to the hostel. I said the prison had sorted it as far as I was aware of. They told me nobody had arranged this and I had to make my own way back. I said how is that possible I cannot walk I am awaiting a social care assessment. They said it’s not our problem once you go out of those gates we don’t care. I said can you ring me a taxi, they told me no, you can go round the corner to the shop it’s five minutes down the road. I said what is this you know I can’t walk you’ve just provided a carer for the last 3 months it’s not our problem if been told by the governor to push you out and leave you.

That’s exactly what they did how evil. I had to with one leg and one arm push myself up a little hill and then down the road suffering in pain they had the cheek to laugh at me struggling until a maintenance man working on the road helped me I then got in a wheelchair friendly taxi and took to the train station where the (virgin train staff) really helped me very nice and decent people witch needs to be recognised.

I then got a taxi at the other end to the probation hostel once I got to the hostel I had the same reception as the leaving from prison no help and told we are not here to push you around you will have to get residents to help you I’m basically being isolated and left to suffer with no help it’s just corruption and abuse of somebody who’s vulnerable and disabled.

Everything I’m stating can be checked factually against evidence (paperwork) witch I have copies of all my complaints to (NHS England) & other (healthcare providers) I can prove corruption and criminality by legal and supposedly professional government bodies. The assault is currently being investigated by the (prisons and probation ombudsman) and again as of yet no police have been to see me.

The corruption is clearly going to quiet a senior level because I have all my complaints (prison) (NHS) (probation) & (police) what you are reading is real and does not contain any lies. I am suffering serious levels of abuse (real abuse) my health is really bad I cannot walk. Please spread this story and article to spread awareness and expose these corrupt and criminal animals so they cannot carry on targeting and abusing people such as myself.

You probably read articles from people such a Kevan Thakrar, Ross McPherson and George Black let me tell you now if spent time with all 3 of these people and they are receiving the same levels of abuse as me just in different ways I can promise you that I witnessed it first-hand but all they are doing is picking certain individuals it’s very weird and strange.

Thank you for taking your time to read this it’s very much appreciated #spreadthestory.

Letter from Sven from Prison

Dear friends,

First of all, I want to thank everyone for all the support I’ve received so far since I got sentenced in January. It is a great feeling to finally get on with my life after having to wait 6 years, although I’m in prison I try to make the best of it.

All the post I receive really makes my day and keeps me connected to the outside. I’ve still got a big pile of letters to reply to, so be patient if you haven’t heard back yet. I’m keeping my days organised and busy. I do art classes four days a week. And I’m really enjoying learning to draw and paint. The rest of my time I spend reading, replying to letters, doing in-cell workouts, yoga and meditation. They run a weekly yoga class in prison which is great. Last week, I finally received all my course material for my permaculture distance learning course. So I’m excited to start studying as well. I feel so incredibly grateful for the people who joined the fundraiser for my course. A huge thank you to everyone

I’ve just applied to volunteer for the Shannon Trust and help other prisoners with reading and writing difficulties. I hope I can make some difference for other people in here. Before going to prison, I decided to make my time as productive as possible. I feel like I am slowly getting used to the prison life and learn how I can make the best of it.

What I’ve written so far sounds all positive and great, but it is important to realise that prison is a horrible and grim place to be. People fight or stab each other and there is lots of self-harm going on. Drugs are normal in prison and I don’t believe prison is doing any good for most people on the in and outside.

I can feel vulnerable and scared in prison at times. But my amazing support network keeps me strong and positive, especially at times when things aren’t easy. I love you all so much, whether it’s my amazing and caring partner, or all my other family, friends and other people supporting me (despite not knowing me personally). You really are the best!

Take care everyone and keep smiling!

Sven