20th January – Trans Prisoner day of Action and Solidarity – film showing of Criminal Queers

criminalqueerspostcardJanuary the 22nd is the 2nd International Day of Action and Solidarity with Trans Prisoners. The Friday before, on the 20th, Bristol ABC are hosting a film showing of Criminal Queers. Come along to find out more about the struggles of trans people behind bars, and sign a card or write a letter to people so that they know they’re not alone.

 

 

 

Background Info:

January 22, 2017 will be the second annual Trans Prisoner Day of Action: an international day of action in solidarity with trans prisoners.

This is a call to action against the system which seeks to erase our very existence. The survival of trans and other sex and gender minority people is not a quaint conversation about awareness, but a struggle for us to live in a world so determined to marginalize, dehumanise, and criminalise us – especially trans women, and especially Black, brown, and indigenous trans people.

We are discriminated against in every area of society including housing, healthcare, employment. Our survival is often precarious and many of us survive by work which is also criminalised – making us even more of a target for police harassment and the crime of “Walking While Trans’’.

Once incarcerated, trans people face humiliation, physical and sexual abuse, denial of medical needs, and legal reprisals. Many transgender people are placed in solitary confinement for months or years, simply for being trans. Trans women are usually placed in men’s prisons, where there is a massive increased risk of experiencing sexual violence.

Just as our lives are violently repressed on the outside, trans people experience extreme suffering and death within the walls of jails, prisons, youth facilities, and immigrant detention centers.

Trans Prisoner Day of Action on January 22nd is a day to acknowledge the experiences of trans and other sex and gender-minority prisoners. It’s about collaboration. It is about forging new relationships and dismantling the isolation of prison. It’s about resistance to state violence. It’s about solidarity between those who experience the violence of the system first hand and those for whom the state hasn’t come yet.

Many prisoner support and prison abolition groups around the world do so much excellent work writing letters to prisoners, educating the public with  letters to editors and articles for the media, holding protests and marches, organising queer communities to phone in and demand that trans prisoners be treated with respect and dignity, calling for an end to incarceration. Trans Prisoner Day of Action aims to make this work accessible to all who are in support – we encourage you to hold vigils for those in our communities who have been taken by State violence, to hold an event, host speakers, screen films, invite presentations, and hold workshops to spread the word on the experience of trans prisoners, share knowledge, and build strategies of resistance. Have dance parties and raise funds for people and groups already doing amazing work. Take action. Let’s join together and show our conviction in supporting each other and ending prisons once and for all.

This project was first imagined by Marius Mason, a trans prisoner in Texas, USA. Since then, through his friends and supporters, an international collective of people both inside and outside of prison walls have come together to make Trans Prisoner Day of Action a reality. We are trans and non-trans folks and friends and supporters. We join a long tradition of trans and queer people resisting state violence.

Join with us in the struggle for freedom.

France: Letter from Damien, arrested last month in connection with labour law protests

(reposted from Rabble)

damien

Damien Camélio was arrested on 7th December in Brittany, accused of attacks that took place during a manif sauvage (wild demo) in Paris against the labour law in April last year. He is specifically accused of attacking a job centre, Jaguar dealership, Chamber of Commerce and a Franprix supermarket. Damien is currently being held on remand in Fleury-Mérogis prison on the outskirts of Paris, along with several other prisoners held in connection with the protests, including Kara Wild, Antonin and Nicolas, all of whom are accused of attempted homicide following an arson attack on a car of cops in May.

What follows is Damien’s first letter published since his arrest. The translation comes via new Franco-English translation site, Bordered by Silence. Check it out for English versions of texts coming out of last year’s wave of rebellion against the ‘Loi Travail’ in France and more.

Back in the Slammer: A letter from Damien from the Fleury-Mérogis jail (France)

From Cette Semaine

I’m writing from Fleury, where I’m being held in preventative detention[1]. Since the charges against me are, as usual, totally boring and unimaginative, I wanted to offer a different telling of the lovely spring night of revolt, written by some true lovers of disorder, so that my comrades have an accurate and realistic depiction of what I’m alleged to have done: Reportback on April 14: hold in the rage too long and it bursts out like it should[2]

I don’t want to complain, so I won’t give a detailed account of my arrest, similar as it was to all those that happen each day, here and around the world.

However, it does seem important to mention a few things.
During the search, the cops found some anarchist propaganda, namely some newspapers, brochures, posters, and tracts, as well as a few texts in the process of being translated. I refused to sign the papers dealing with the search as well as those for my being held taken into custody.

After being transferred to the police station in Paris’ 19th district, I couldn’t reach my lawyer. I refused to be represented by a different one and so my hearing was held without the presence of a lawyer. I made this choice because my statement to the pigs fits in one line: “I am neither guilty nor innocent. I am an anarchist. I have nothing more to say to you.”

Because I refused to make a statement, I don’t know at present what evidence they have on file. These lackeys of the powerful only told me that they have 8 DNA samples that match my genetic profile, and I know from having seen it that their folder on me is a brick, six or seven centimetres thick.

To get more information, I’ll have to wait for my lawyer to have access to the folder and to come meet with me in prison. In any case, I’ve already made clear that I want the entire process and all my statements be made available to my comrades so that they can make whatever use of it they see fit. No copyright, no property, and without the censorship of the political bureau of any party, even imaginary ones [3].

After a night spent in the holding cells of the Paris courthouse, a sort of medieval dungeon where the cops satisfy their sadistic urges, I was taken to court for an immediate summary trial [4]. Since my lawyer wasn’t there, I asked for a public defender at the last minute in order to get the date pushed back.

The prosecutor, as usual, started bellowing a bunch of stupidness while making big gestures and sounding quite assured. She stated, for instance, that the residency declaration made by a comrade present in the room was inadmissible, because of grammatical mistakes in the text… And she continued, full of confidence, that of course, all opinions are respectable, even anarchy, but that is no excuse for the actions I’m accused of.

We have to admit, if these clowns in black robes didn’t have power over the lives of others, they’d really be good for a laugh!

But until such a time as the courts are destroyed and the judges are sent to their proper place, in the circus, we can’t let them say whatever idiotic thing that comes to mind. Regardless of the fantastic allegations of the prosecutor, anarchy is not an opinion, anarchy is a set of ideas that fit with a set of practices.

Since what I’m accused of took place during a social movement that wasn’t a single mass, I want to make clear that I refuse the humanitarian solidarity of the unions or of any pacifist or citizens’ group that plays the role of intermediary for the transmission of power. My only desire is for the complicity of individuals in revolt who conspire in the shadows, ai ferri corti [5] with the existent and with power.

My thanks to the comrade present at my arrest for the dignity she demonstrated in the face of the little soldiers of order, and thanks to all my comrades who reacted so quickly. Your support in the courtroom warmed my heart and gave me lots of strength.

Don’t be too worried about me. Having spent several years in prison, I know its social codes very well, and I will doubtless find among the undesireables, of which I am a part, a few complicities rich in possibility.

Because submission is never an option, because each individual act of revolt contains all the violence of social relations, because there remain countless stories to be written, across time and space, across the gray metropoles, inside and outside…

… the fight continues.

December 14 2016

Damien Camélio
n° d’écrou 432888
MAH de Fleury-Mérogis (Bâtiment D5)
7, avenue des Peupliers
91705 – Sainte-Génevieve-des-Bois
The French State, Earth

Endnotes
1] Pre-trial detention for people who don’t get bail
2] The link is in French, but the gist is that during a demo on April 14, as part of the movement against the new labour laws, a whole bunch of stuff got smashed, including hotels, art galeries, grocery stores, car shares, banks, and notably car dealerships. Folks went inside a Jaguar dealership and trashed as many cars as they could.
3] A little jab at the appelists/tiqqunists
4] Often in France, the state will try to run your trial within a couple of days of your arrest
5] “at daggers drawn”

Bristol NYE 2016 prison demo!

On New Years Eve 2016 we made a successful noise demo outside Horfield prison to remember those inside. While most other people are celebrating, for people locked up it’s just another night of the same routine, and we tried to shout our joy and rage from the year that’s passed over the 5m fortress walls to interrupt the monotony for at least one evening. We did manage to make quite a ruckus and heard some shouts from inside! Freedom for all prisoners in 2017 and forever!

‘Swaleside is burning!’ Masked prisoners riot on wing for 6 hours

(reposted from Fire on the Horizon)

Masked rioters amongst the destruction of the wing

Last Thursday (23rd Dec) another riot broke out on prison island, this time it exploded at HMP Swaleside, as 60 masked prisoners took over a wing at the Category B training prison on the Isle of Shippey. The riot lasted for more than 6 hours as fire as extensive damage was done to the wing, fire extinguishers let off and pool balls thrown at screws. Again a riot unit called ‘Tornado Team’ had to be sent into the prison to quell the riot, which did not end till 1am the following day. Pictures and video footage that were sent out on illegally smuggled in phones show the rioters in full control of the wing rearing themselves up to fight the authorities, chanting loudly ‘Swaleside is burning!’

More masked prisoners

Pool balls at the ready!

Major riot at Winson Green prison! Worst disorder since Strangeways!

(reposted from Fire on the Horizon)
'Stormtroopers' prepare to enter as smoke billows from the fires in the prison.


Last night a full scale riot escalated at HMP Birmingham, better known locally as Winson Green, continuing for 12 hours as several riot cop units were unable to contain the escalating rebellion. The outbreak of rage began when some inmates broke lights and grabbed fire hoses in the prison’s N Wing. The screws moved in to lock prisoners back in their cells while the fracas was contained, prisoners overpowered a screw, took his keys and started unlocking the cells. Screws were forced to flee after the rioters numbering 600 cut through chains and burned documents in the worst prison disorder for more than 20 years. Internal connecting security gates were left chained to prevent rioters taking control of the whole prison, but it was not enough to stop the rebellion spreading. Prisoners used stolen equipment to cut through the chains. Within a short time four wings – said to be L, M, N and P – fell under the control of the rioters, who also broke into the security store, pharmacy and gym.  Prison owners scumbag G4S had to admit defeat and handed over control of the jail to the Ministry of Justice. Specialist response ‘Tornado’ teams were sent in to try to restore order as fires broke out and inmates chanted ‘war cries’ which could be heard outside.

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Some inmates donned stolen guard uniforms and riot gear to taunt the authorities. There are reports that some snatched control and restraint equipment including batons, shields and helmets. A relative of an inmate said: “Prisoners are running wild, wearing guards’ uniforms and balaclavas. They have knocked down gates and pulled up bars.”

As the stand-off ran into the early evening the authorities were panicking that rioters might break through gates into so-called “sterile” areas between the walls of the prison and the lock-up areas. The prisoners made it as far as the exercise yard and cops started to block the gate. It was reported that the inmates broke in to the Offender Management Unit, where their paper records are stored and started setting fire to the documents. One was said to have hurled a computer out of the window of the office. By 6pm fires could be seen raging in the OMU, laundry and gym inside the prison and an armed unit of cops was also seen entering the prison to quell the riot. Prisoners commenced battle with the riot cops even throwing paint at them, as cops could be seen leaving the prison later covered in it.

A friend of a prisoner described the scene he was told “My mate not long phoned back he said there is people still stuck in their cells from last night and their cells are full of smoke. He was coughing while he was on the phone. Said it’s not just a cell that’s on fire it’s half the wing. Said it looks like Armageddon or a burnt out old warehouse in there.”

The riot started according to prisoners earlier this morning because they couldn’t watch TV or go the gym. “The TV antenna has been broken and we have not been able to watch TV for a couple of days now. I used to be on one of the wings and there has been plenty of occasions where just a couple of guards have been in charge of 160 prisoners. There are all sorts of problems in here. Two people have passed away in the last couple of weeks after taking Black Mamba.*”

Another inmate says “I’ve never seen anything like this before. The biggest issue for most of us is the lack of exercise. They have stopped us from using the gym and from having any exercise. When we were told this morning that we were not getting exercise everyone went mad. They have had enough. They cancel gym all the time, the showers are cold, the food is crap, the heating is never on and we never get our mail on time.”

After 12 hours of chaos the cops were only able to repress the riot in all 4 wings at 23:00. Today 240 prisoners are in the process of being transferred and dispersed as repression against the rioters begins.

*Black Mamba is a synthetic drug that is easily smuggled into drugs.

hmp-birmingham-keys3a

Prisoner breaks into an office using riot gear

Prisoners show off the keys they liberated from the screw

Prisoners show off the keys they liberated from the screw

Aftermath of destruction caused by rioters

Aftermath of destruction caused by rioters

Denmark – arrests at an antifascist demo

At least 10 people were arrested after the incidents that broke out on Saturday the 4th of December when riot police in Copenhagen prevented antifascist demonstrators from reaching an Islamophobic PEDIGA rally. It gathered only sixty demonstrators who had planned to cross popular districts. But the anti-fascist counter-demonstrators, far more numerous, have obliged them to renounce them and to modify their itinerary. Barricades were built and fires burning. Those arrested were for “assaulting a policeman, vandalism and refusal to obey orders”.

Les incidents hier à Copenhague

Acquittal of an anarchist accused of bank robbery in Aachen!

On 8 December, the Aachen court acquitted a Dutch anarchist accused of a bank robbery in Aachen in 2013. Almost 60 people were present in court to show their support. The judge refused to allow the public prosecutor’s claim of the presence of the anarchist in the bank that morning of 3 years ago (read more). However, the prosecutor has already announced that he is appealing the judgment to the Review Tribunal. This now means that another judge will re-examine the whole case to see if there were any procedural errors or inconsistencies in the reasons of the first judges. If this court finds errors, the trial should be redone before the court of Aachen, but with a different judge. If such prosecution fails, these charges and legal proceedings would be terminated.

Remember that two other anarchists are still in pre-trial detention, accused of another bank robbery committed in Aachen, this time in 2014. Their trial will begin at the end of January.

Calicot solidaire à Berlin