- Created: Thursday, 23 July 2015 10:30
- Written by London Branches
On Sunday 12 July supporters of the Focus E15 campaign for decent housing, including RCG comrades, were subject to intimidation and harrassment by members of the Labour council, by private security firm APS and the police, when they attended the ‘Mayor’s Newham Show’ at East Ham’s Central Park (supposedly a family fun day) to distribute materials exposing the social cleansing being conducted by Newham’s Labour council.
At last year’s show the Labour Mayor, Robin Wales, physically attacked and swore at campaigners (see FRFI 243) and was eventually found guilty of breaching Newham council’s own code of conduct.
This year, upon arrival at the park, campaigners were searched, resulting in a banner, some leaflets and Robin Wales masks confiscated. They were followed around by both plainclothes and uniformed security guards and volunteers for the event, including Labour councillors.
At the appearance of the Mayor, who is on upwards of £80,000 basic pay for his role in the social cleansing of Newham, campaigners began chanting ‘Robin Wales, get out, we know what you’re all about…’ and displayed placards highlighting the homelessness in the borough and Robin Wales’s role in the sell-off of social housing in the interests of private capital.
In response, APS security guards were set on the campaigners. Several FE15 supporters were violently ejected from the event by a large group of private security guards who taunted and swore at them; one male comrade was dropped on his neck and a female comrade was manhandled and left with two damaged fingers. Several campaigners were left covered in deep marks and bruises, including fingernail marks, as the police looking on passively.
Among the police officers present was one who had been involved in the unlawful arrest of campaigner Jasmin Stone at Focus E15’s ‘Jane Come Home action’. That incident was clearly politically targeted and the collusion of the council is indisputable.
Having been evicted from the Mayor’s Show, campaigners, some still dressed in ‘Mayoral’ costumes, put up banners and placards and continued to distribute leaflets to people in the streets and talk with them about how to solve their housing problems and what the council has been doing to cause them. Robin Wales mask ‘selfie sticks’ were handed out, encouraging people to photograph themselves and post online with the hashtag #ImRobinNewham. However, people who took the leaflets and then entered the park for what was supposed to be a family fun day, were intimidated by security guards who, without any justification, confiscated the leaflets and other materials from them.
The campaign continues to fight on against this opportunist Labour council’s social cleansing. We will not be intimidated by their violence and harassment as we continue to build resistance to austerity, evictions and home losses.
Agitate! Educate! Organise!
Decent housing for all!
Join the Focus E15 campaign on our stall outside Wilkinson’s on the Broadway in Stratford every Saturday, 12-2pm.
Facebook: Focus E15 Mothers
ALSO SEE: A report of South London RCG’s visit to the Labour Mayor at Lewisham People’s Day, holding him to account for his council’s social cleansing policies: http://southlondonrcg.tumblr.com/post/123889330675/so-we-went-to-visit-the-mayor