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Oxford Repression

05-03-2015 23:42 | 2 comment(s)

Maximus: Same Circus, Different Clowns

On Monday 2nd of March 2015, there were demonstrations in over 30 towns and cities around the UK (plus Toronto) against Maximus, the US based health insurance corporation that has taken over the contract from the French IT Company Atos to administer the Work Capability Assessment on behalf of the Department Of Work And Pensions. Atos announced its exit from the contract in early 2014 following an intense period of direct action against the company by groups such as Disabled People Against the Cuts.

The day of action was timed to coincide with the first working day of the new contract, with the spotlight turned on Maximus as well as the continued use of Work Capability Assessments and the life-threatening consequences of the ongoing government attacks on the sick and disabled.

In central London, to the chorus of "David Cameron is a W*****" (YouTube) activists from DPAC hit the streets, taking direct action to block traffic and at one stage bringing traffic to a standstill on Victoria Street in the shadow of Big Ben.

The demonstrations across the UK on the streets were complemented with an online Twitter campaign using the hashtags #Maximarse and #ScrapWCA, the latter trending for a number of hours. This gave the opportunity for those unable (including through sickness and disability) to make it to demonstrations to vent their anger and frustation around the Work Capability Assessment and at a government hell-bent on targeting the sick and disabled.

On the Newswire: Maximarse is more than a farce | Mental Health Resistance Network Statement | Wrexham joins National Day of Protest Against WCA & Maximus

Other links: Johnny Void | Video: Maximarse the Movie (YouTube)


09-11-2011 13:50 | 2 comment(s)

Glimpses of a possible future

Two possible futures?

Several empty buildings in Oxford have recently been opened as squatted social centres. In August an empty industrial workshop on Randolph Street was squatted. After several "Free Uni" events (sharing skills and ideas), community meals, film and info-nights the court process provided only a short delay and then eviction. The building now remains unused.

Undeterred, the social centre, known as "Plebs' College" due to the focus on free education, has re-opened on Union Street, with a multitude of weekly events. Again they are under threat of eviction from a landlord keen to demolish the place and build student flats. This space where people can gather, meet, organise and learn, as equals, free of the usual commercial or bureaucratic pressures, may be a glimpse of another society.

Meanwhile, the public occupations spreading in many countries are starting to challenge the economic system and may also evoke a freer and more equal society (though with much work still to do!).

For hints of a more brutal future, we can look at the recent eviction of Dale Farm: an entire community made homeless, while those who resist are kicked, tasered, batoned, pressured-pointed, or beaten, and the media continue their lies.

Which path we take could depend on the actions we all take in the next few years.


17-03-2007 15:09 | 0 comment(s)

Resistance and Riot in Campsfield

banners on the razorwire fence

Early in the morning of 14 March, an Algerian detainee held in Campsfield immigration prison in Oxfordshire forcefully resisted an attempted 'removal' by the immigration authorities. Fellow detainees then tried to intervene in solidarity and a riot soon spread in the detention centre, with facilities smashed and set on fire. 2 detainees and 7 staff were taken into hospital, all suffering smoke inhalation [see reports and updates]. In addition to emergency services, Tornado units (riot squads) from the Prison Service were deployed to deal with the 'disturbances'. According to a written ministerial statement by Immigration minister Liam Byrne, 60 of the detainees at Campsfield House have been transferred to other parts of the Home Office detention estate, but other detainees have remained at the centre, which holds up to 200 detainees and was operating at near full capacity at the time of the riot.

Links: Campaign to Close Campsfield | National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns | UK NoBorders groups


04-10-2006 12:53 | 0 comment(s)

PigBrother show comes to Oxford

a cop
Internationally, police officers who mutilate or kill people on duty usually get off scot-free, often without the cases even making the news. The Swiss internet site PigBrother.info exposes such cases and the police weapons involved. Though often labelled "less lethal" and portrayed as "harmless", many have proved to be fatal; others have been banned for use in war by e.g. the Geneva Convention yet still frequently used by policeforces worldwide.

In a multimedia live show, Soulless and Anger (the makers of PigBrother.info) present typical cases including weapons, injuries and favourite police excuses from the UK, Ireland, Italy, France, Germany, USA and Switzerland. The show takes place on 9th October, 8pm at East Oxford Community Centre.

Despite the heavy going topic and its technical aspects, the show is presented in an easy to understand and concise way, and Soulless & Anger also focus on the funnier aspects of several Police Operations making the Officers involved look only too human. They demonstrate how persistent work in this area can make a difference, forcing the police and the official media to at least sometimes act more by the book or even abolish some weapons or tactics.



18-02-2006 13:21 | 1 comment(s)

Swiss Police Acquitted in Aubonne Bridge Trial

Martin and Gesine outside Nyon's court with a clear message.

On the 13th, 14th, 15th of February 2006 a court case against two Swiss police officers took place in Nyon, Switzerland. Michael Deiss and Claude Poget were charged with causing bodily harm through negligence. They were in court after nearly killing climbers Martin Shaw and Gesine Wenzel during the protests against the G8 in Evian. On Friday 17 February the verdict of this private prosecution came through with an acquittal of the two policemen [Read verdict press release by Martin and Gesine]. Following this verdict, the activists announced that they will appeal against this whitewash of police violence.

In June 2003, an affinity group blockaded the Aubonne Bridge with a climbing action in order to stop a G8 delegation from reaching the summit in Evian. The police cut the climbing rope. As a result both activists were seriously injured, specially Martin Shaw who spent one month in hospital and sustained irreversible injuries. See video and a Photo strory of the event.

Other recent newswire reports: Report of day 3 of the trial | Statement by the Aubonne Support Group on the court proceedings | Activists walk out of court after verdict | Activists appeal against whitewash of police violence.

More information: Aubonne Bridge Campaign | IMC-UK Evian G8 page | PigBrother Live Show


18-12-2003 03:04 | 0 comment(s)

Pink Castle Now Guilty!

On 15th December 2003 a District Judge in Weymouth, Dorset found four anti-GM activists guilty of aggravated trespass for attaching themselves to tractors. The activists were attempting to prevent the sowing of a trial of GM maize near Weymouth in May 2002.

This marks the end of a drawn-out and contradictory legal process which saw all four activists cleared of aggravated trespass by the same District Judge in March 2003. The Crown Prosectution Service (CPS) appealed and had the verdict overturned by two High Court Judges who ordered a retrial, with instructions that the defendants should be found guilty. The four now face prison for refusal to pay the punitive costs.

Full Report | video | audio | earlier verdict one two | background history | Pink Castle website


11-11-2003 13:13 | 1 comment(s)

Bemused Oxford shoppers meet with walls and checkpoints

On the 9th of November, as part of the international day of protest and action against Israel's 'security wall', protesters in Oxford (wearing huge white cardboard boxes on their heads) attempted to give the local weekend shoppers a glimpse of life in occupied Palestine.

People gave leaflets, talked to people and shouted slogans. The 'wall' was seen making its way through the Westgate and Clarendon shopping centres - to the annoyance of security guards, culminating by a walk down Cornmarket and a visit to Marks and Spencer's. Finally, a 'checkpoint' was built on a nearby (pedestrianised) street, until the 'soldier' announced he was taking the 'prisoners' into custody and the wall was taken apart and dumped in a nearby bin. If only the real thing was as easily dealt with...

[Report | Photos]

[Stop the Wall] | [Palestine Campaign] | [Wall that breaks Rafah's heart]


19-08-2003 23:00 | 3 comment(s)

Judicial Review Granted in RAF Fairford Coach Case

fairford coach case pic
Peace campaigners have won the right to challenge police decisions to detain and prevent them from demonstrating against the war on Iraq at Fairford air base in March this year. Over 120 people from two coaches were searched, detained, and forcibly returned to London with a huge police escort. Granting permission for their judicial review case to proceed Mr Justice Richards commented that the issues it raised were "substantial" and "of importance" to merit a full High Court hearing.


17-07-2003 13:41 | 1 comment(s)

LIBERTY Slams Use of Anti Terrorism Act to Suppress Peace Protests - Did the Home Secretary Lie to Parliament?

LIBERTY, the human rights group, has released a 13 page report focusing on the policing of anti-war demonstrators around USAF Fairford, Gloucestershire, during the concentrated bombing of Iraq earlier this year. The damning report details fundamental breaches of the European Convention on Human Rights in the extensive use of anti-terrorism laws to prevent citizens taking part in legitimate protest and to harrass them (by mid-april the campaign group Gloucestershire Weapons Inspectors alone had recorded 89 stop and searches under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 carried out against just 26 people!), as well as the excessive use of various other public order legislation. At its most extreme an anti-terrorist order was served on an 11-year-old girl (her father is now seeking legal redress) and 3 coach loads of demonstrators were "kidnapped" by police (see indymedia feature), also the subject of a legal action (also see Fairford Coach Action).

Download full Liberty report: (pdf)
Corporate Media Coverage of Liberty report
War on Freedom and Democracy (10 page Statewatch pdf, Sept 02)


25-06-2003 13:25 | 0 comment(s)

Oxford peace activists seem to be winning the legal battle

Coming out free...
Update: Charges of obstruction of the highway against Anna and David have been dropped. However, the case of another Oxford activist accused of causing 8,333 pounds worth of damage to the main gates of USAF Fairford has been transferred to Cirencester Magistrates Court.

Toby and Phil, the 'B-52 Two', were granted bail Friday the 20th and finally have their freedom! Charged with conspiracy to cause criminal damage when they tried to disarm a B52 warplane at RAF Fairford in March 2003, they pleaded not guilty as they acted lawfully to uphold international law. The Gloucester Crown Court will make a judgement on the legality of the war on 19 September.

Several other people with Fairford related cases had good news also. Two Oxford activists were offered bindovers in place of charges of aggravated trespass, a citizen from Oxford pleaded not guilty to charges of criminal damage and aggravated trespass - the case was adjourned, and two others had their charges of criminal damage to the main gate of Fairford completely dropped. Mysteriously the gate -related charge of another Oxford activist is still being pursued and was adjourned for the time being.

* The "B-52 Two" WEBSITE
* pictures of Phil and Tobi getting out of jail
* video of a vigil held by supporters of Phil and Tobi outside Gloucester Prison
* Prisoners for Peace website

Oxford Repression Feature Archive >>

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