- Created: Wednesday, 29 April 2009 14:52
- Written by FRFI
Support asylum seekers
In response to the Labour government’s increasingly racist asylum laws, FRFI comrades have stepped up their work with asylum seekers. In the North East, twice-monthly pickets of North Shields Immigration Reporting Centre (IRC) have been taking place for over six months. FRFI activists working in Tyneside Community Action for Refugees (TCAR) helped initiate a national day of action against IRCs on 22 June. At the North Shields centre over 60 protesters, including asylum seekers from Eritrea, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sudan, Zimbabwe, Iraq, Iran, Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire, delivered a list of demands, which manager Derek King refused to come out and accept. The protestors then marched into the centre of North Shields, where they held a rally, which received significant support from local people.
On 24 June people travelled from Manchester, Glasgow, London and Durham to participate in an Anti-Imperialist Tribunal in Newcastle organised by Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! Participants from the DRC, Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Zimbabwe, Sudan and Jamaica came together to discuss the impact of imperialism on their countries, and the immediate tasks facing us in building an anti-imperialist and anti-racist movement in the heartland of imperialism.
In London, FRFI has held pickets of Communications House IRC on the first Monday of the month since June. These have been joined by supporters of Wake up Congo and Africans Getting Involved (AGI) who have used the megaphone to let people know why people flee their country and seek asylum, what it is like to have to sign on and what fate awaits them in Britain.
An extra picket also took place on the day of action on 22 June, supported by the All African Women’s Group from Crossroads Women’s Centre, AGI and other groups and individuals. On 24 June our comrades joined London Against Detention’s demonstration at Tinsley House Detention Centre near Gatwick Airport.
Comrades in Manchester also took action on 22 June at Dallas Court IRC at a picket organised by the North West Asylum Seekers Defence Group (NWASDG). NWASDG was set up by RCG members, asylum seekers and others to support all asylum seekers against Labour’s attempts to deport them and to stand against the racism of immigration controls in Britain. The Defend Kalombo Campaign is one affiliate to NWASDG. Kalombo, a Congolese refugee living in Ashton, is an anti-imperialist with great knowledge and experience of European exploitation of his country’s resources, and about past struggles led by Patrice Lumumba and other revolutionaries. Kalombo’s campaign has been a central focus for our street work. The Defend Eucharia and Timeyi Campaign, also involved in NWASDG, held a successful fund-raising meal on 25 June. Eucharia’s own Nigerian cooking, alongside African drumming, was extremely well received.
In Glasgow, on 27 May over 100 asylum seekers and their supporters gathered at an FRFI protest supported by Unity (the Scottish Union of Asylum Seekers), to highlight the ongoing racist attacks by the Labour government, demanding the right to work and an immediate end to dawn raids. On 29 June, comrades supported the Unity protest outside the Scottish parliament in Edinburgh, which was attended by around 150 asylum seekers from Glasgow. The RCG had a strong contingent, with members and supporters from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Newcastle. Asylum seekers applauded the links made by the RCG speaker between attacks on asylum seekers and working class people in Britain, and the brutality of British imperialism abroad. Colin Fox SSP MSP was seen briefly at the demonstration, as was Rosie Kane SSP MSP, who addressed the crowd before heading back into the parliament for what she termed ‘political work’.
Following the success of the 27 May protest and in response to asylum seekers calling for more protests, FRFI called a further protest on 8 July, again supported by Unity. Three days before the protest, members of the No Borders Network, using the name of Unity, announced a ‘bring a dish’ picnic and party in Pollok Country Park ‘to celebrate friendship and have a good time’, to take place at exactly the same time as the planned protest in the centre of town. Despite the obvious confusion that this caused, 50 people attended the City Centre demonstration, which was even more lively and militant than the previous one, with members of Glasgow’s Congolese community playing a leading role. The protest was able to speak to the thousands of passers-by, drawing support from many people outraged at the Labour government’s treatment of asylum seekers.
In response to the vicious Zionist attacks against the Palestinian and Lebanese people, FRFI comrades and supporters have been active across the streets of Britain. Comrades in London continue to be in Oxford Street, the capital’s main shopping street, every Thursday on the Victory to the Intifada picket of Marks & Spencer, demonstrating against Britain’s collaboration with the Zionist state of Israel and in solidarity with the Palestinian people. In the North East FRFI activists have been out on the streets of Durham and Newcastle in solidarity with those fighting occupation in Iraq and Palestine. Following Israel’s land invasion of Gaza at the end of June, pickets were held of M&S in Newcastle on 1 July and Durham on 5 July, and we intend to intensify this area of our work in the coming weeks. On 1 July FRFI called a protest in Glasgow in response to the Israeli attacks on the Palestinian people. We were joined by activists from the Glasgow Palestinian Human Rights Campaign. We will continue to work alongside this campaign throughout the summer.
FRFI and Rock around the Blockade (RATB) continue to campaign in support of socialist Cuba and against the criminal US blockade. Solidarity work in Manchester has taken the form of stalls in Market Street, aimed at building Rock around the Blockade and raising both consciousness and funds for Cuban youth. Some of our stalls have taken place alongside supporters of Babar Ahmed, a British man facing extradition to the US on trumped-up ‘terrorism’ charges. On these occasions, we have been able to draw clear links between this oppression, and the brutality faced by prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, occupied by the US against Cuba’s will. Our work is set to intensify with a month of action, called by Cuba, in solidarity with the five Cuban prisoners in the US.
In the North East activists have been steadily building support for Cuba and Venezuela, on the streets and at events such as Newcastle Green Festival on 3 and 4 June and Durham Miners Gala on 8 July. Despite being barred entry by SWP member Simon Hall to a public film showing on 31 May which was supported by Hands Off Venezuela, FRFI activists in Newcastle have since made contact with Hands Off Venezuela’s less sectarian members, and a public meeting was held at Durham Miners Gala at which a member of RATB spoke. On 15 July a Rebel Music gig was held in Durham, raising money towards the FRFI fund drive and the sound system to be donated by the spring 2007 brigade to Cuba. In Nottingham a street action in defence of Cuba on 3 June was followed by a successful Bacardi Bar Bust on 16 June. Activists dressed as the vampire bats of Bacardi visited the bars of Nottingham to spread the word about Cuba, and to ask drinkers to boycott Bacardi, a key link in the chain of terror emanating from the US against Cuba.
Stand up for your rights!
London FRFI joined the march and rally in east London to show outrage at the ‘anti-terrorist’ arrests of two innocent young men in Forest Gate in June. The shooting of one of the men, the immediate attempt of the police to cover up the shooting, the vastly excessive number of police involved, the violent mistreatment of the family and the neighbours are all part of the terror and divide and rule tactic that Labour are using against working class, black and Asian families in Britain today. The rally was marked by the unity of the brothers with the family of Jean Charles de Menezes, the innocent Brazilian man murdered a year earlier by the police, none of whom are to be charged. Near unanimous booing greeted the local Labour MP as he got on to the podium to speak.
At the same time as using ‘anti-terrorism’ powers to terrorise communities and shoot innocent people, the government is clamping down on protest and dissent. Clauses in the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (SOCPA) are being repeatedly used to limit demonstrations and megaphone use. Our comrade Barnaby will be in court on 29 September, charged with ‘using a loudhailer for the purpose of encouraging the crowd to chant pro-Palestinian and anti-government remarks’ on an authorised Palestine solidarity march, We will be organising a demonstration outside the court and will continue to defend our right to protest!
Mondays 7 August and 4 September
1-2pm Defend asylum seekers!
Protest at Communications House IRC
210 Old Street, London, EC1V 9BR
(nearest tube Old Street)
Wednesday 2 and 23 August, 7pm
LSE FRFI society public meeting
London School of Economics (LSE)
Houghton Street, WC2
(nearest tube Holborn)
Wednesday 6 September, 7pm
Public meeting – Seeking asylum is not a crime: stop detention and deportations
UKC, 250 Kennington Lane, SE11
(nearest tube: Vauxhall)
Wednesday 27 September, 7pm
LSE FRFI society public meeting –
The sixth anniversary of the Intifada
Friday 29 September 9.30am
Picket of Marylebone Magistrates Court in support of FRFI comrade arrested under SOCPA – To demonstrate is not a crime
Every Thursday, 6-8pm
Victory to the Intifada!
Demonstration outside M&S,
(nearest tube Marble Arch)
Saturday 29 July, 12-3pm
Victory to the Intifada!
Demonstration outside M&S, Market Street, Manchester
Tuesday 1 August, 7pm
NWASDG Public meeting
Speakers from FRFI, Defend Kalombo and Defend Eucharia campaigns, Friends Meeting House, Mount Street, Manchester
Friday 18 August, 12-2pm
NWASDG protest outside Dallas
Salford, near Broadway tram station
Saturday 19 August, 12-3pm,
Street stall Hands Off the Middle East!
Town Hall Square, Bolton
Sunday 27 August
Sponsored walk for Cuba, commemorating the 1932 mass trespass by communists, of Kinder Scout in the Peak District.
Saturday 7 September, 12 noon
Demonstration Hands Off Cuba!
Free the Cuban 5!
Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester
Saturday 16 September, 12-3pm
Street stall: Hands Off Cuba!
Market Street, Manchester
Saturday 16 September, 12-3pm
Street stall: Hands Off Cuba!
Town Hall Square, Bolton
Wednesdays 20 and 27 September, and 4 October, 7pm
Revolutionary film series – including Commandante by Oliver Stone, Venezuela: The Revolution will Not be Televised
The Basement Café, Lever Street, Manchester
Wednesday 27 September, 1pm
Stop the warmongers! Demo against the Labour Party conference
St Peter’s Square, Manchester
For further details phone 07816 547 066
Saturday 5 August, 2-5pm
Victory to the Intifada public meeting on the current situation in Palestine
Venue to be announced
Wednesdays 9 and 23 August, 10.30am-1pm Defend asylum seekers!
TCAR Picket of North Shields Immigration Reporting Centre
Norfolk Street, North Shields
(next to the library)
Saturday 19 August, 12 noon
TCAR demonstration: Defend asylum rights! No to deportations!
Grey’s Monument, Newcastle city centre
Tuesday 12 September, 12noon
TCAR demonstration: No to asylum apartheid! Get rid of NASS!
Assemble at Grey’s Monument, Newcastle, to march to NASS offices
Every Saturday 12-2pm street activities in either Newcastle or Durham,
For further details call 07813 073 846
Saturday 29 July, 11am
Rock around the Blockade vs Glasgow City Council: Battle against Censorship
Janefield St, Celtic Park
Challenge the council’s new bylaws
banning the display of political material outside the stadium. Bring tricolours, Palestinian flags and Che Guevara T-shirts!
Saturdays 5 August, 9 September, 7 October, 1-3pm
End dawn raids, no to deportation! End all immigration controls!
FRFI protest rally supported by Unity
Donald Dewar Statue, Buchanan Street (Outside the Royal Concert Hall)
Thursday 17 August 7pm
FRFI activist and readers group meeting
Friends Meeting House, Elmbank Crescent, Glasgow G2
Sunday 27 August
Scotland Cycle for Cuba
Glasgow to Edinburgh cycle ride to raise funds for Rock around the Blockade campaign
Thursday 31 August, 6pm
Public meeting – The fight against racism in Glasgow
Speakers from Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!, Tyneside Community Action for Refugees and Pollokshaws Unity branch
Pollokshaws Burgh Hall
Saturday 16 September, 1-3pm
Protest Free the Cuban Five! Hands off Cuba! US out of Guantanamo!
Donald Dewar Statue
Tuesday 19 September, 7pm
Public meeting: Revolutionary Cuba and the fight against imperialism
Friends Meeting House,
FRFI 192 August / September 2006