Glasgow: no to political policing! - 16 April 2011

The Glasgow Defence Campaign and the Free Hetherington Occupation held a joint protest between 12 and 2pm on Saturday 16 April on Gordon Street against Strathclyde police’s campaign of intimidation and harassment against anti-cuts activists. If the cops thought their hands-off approach on the day of the protest would undermine our defiance and quieten things down they must have spluttered over their station tea as the issue got front page coverage in the widely read Glasgow Evening Times. Now tens of thousands of people know about Strathclyde's police’s recent behaviour.

According to the cops, to oppose the massive tax dodging scams of the super rich is a crime that justifies tailing and detaining teenagers. In the week before the protest, anti-cuts activists aged 14 and 17 had their homes visited by plain clothes officers; they were detained and charged with breach of the peace in connection  with a peaceful sit-in protest staged at a Vodafone store in December of last year. Outrageous bail conditions prevent those charged from entering Glasgow city centre and ban them from joining a public assembly of two or more people. They could not listen to messages of solidarity from journalist John Pilger, comedian Mark Thomas and former Black Panther Emory Douglas. Speakers from Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!, the Bryan Simpson Defence Campaign and UK Uncut used the open mic to expose and condemn the tactics of the cops against the emerging anti-cuts movement. Comrades and Scottish parliamentary candidates from the Scottish Socialist Party and Solidarity were amongst more than 60 of us calling for opposition to police repression.

We expressed solidarity with those who had occupied a nearby branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland. We were joined by campaigners against the closure of the Accord Adult Day Centre who had recently made headlines by chasing Scottish Labour leader Ian Gray out of nearby Central Station as he tried to avoid supporting their fight.

Our message was clear: we are not going to be intimidated let alone silenced by the police. The fight against the cuts is only just beginning and many battles lie ahead. But we warned the police that their behaviour would only make us more organised and more determined! The Glasgow Defence Campaign salutes the unity that is being built in defence of democratic rights and against police repression.

Let the last words on the protest go to the Scottish revolutionary John MacLean, who in his day led similar struggles against political policing. Thundering against the slaughter of the first imperialist world war in 1914, only yards from where we stood on Saturday, he was to declare at his trial:

No human being on the face of this earth, no government is going to take away my right to speak, my right to protest against wrong, my right to do everything that is for the benefit of mankind. I am not here, then, as the accused; I am here as the accuser of Capitalism dripping with blood from head to foot.’

No Cuts - Full Stop!

No to Political Policing!


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