Palestine Solidarity Action – Manchester Saturday 12 July

Take to the streets…Intensify the Boycott!

Manchester RCG called an emergency rally for Palestine in Piccadilly, in the centre of the city, on Saturday 12 July. Over 300 people joined in the event reflecting the growing anger against the brutal actions of Israel and the continuing support for and excusing of their actions by the British government and mainstream media.

We organised an open mic for people to speak and express their outrage and opposition to Israel’s actions and the refusal of governments in Europe and the Middle East to openly condemn their actions. The speakers included young British Muslim women, Palestinians living in Britain, activists involved in Palestinian solidarity actions and representatives of political groups. The event had support from the Socialist Party and individuals from the PSC and Stop the War.

There was a collective agreement that boycott activity on the streets of the city had to be organised to build real solidarity with the Palestinian struggle, an organising meeting has been arranged and activity will take place next Saturday in the city centre. Contact us for details.

As the rally finished a group of around 30 motorcycles with Palestinian flags waving roared into Piccadilly on their way to the BBC as part of the ‘Drive for Justice’.

This was the next port of call for many people on the rally and we made our way to the new BBC centre in Media City to join the event called by the ‘Drive for Justice’ which was an initiative set in motion by a group of young Muslims in Blackburn, Youth on a Mission, to condemn the bias reporting of the BBC on Palestine. The original idea was to organise a convoy of vehicles to travel from Blackburn to the BBC in Manchester but this was quickly picked up by other groups from towns in Lancashire and parts of west Yorkshire and within a week it had snowballed to a number of convoys converging on the BBC. The RCG/FRFI in Manchester also helped to publicise the event and encouraged people from our rally to support the event. On the day there was around 4,000 people rallying outside the BBC with hundreds of cars and motorbikes having taken part. There were a number of speakers at the event including us and we relayed the call of the PFLP to ‘take to the streets and intensify the boycott’.

The success of the event, which had been organised within a week, showed the depth of anger at the actions of Israel and the complicity of the BBC and mainstream media in excusing and whitewashing Israel’s brutal bombing campaign and continuing occupation of Palestine. The numbers of people outside the BBC and the anger felt at the role they are playing shows the possibilities of building a strong anti imperialist campaign in solidarity with Palestine.

The only campaigning stall at the event though was ours with queues of people lining up to sign petitions calling for the release of Palestinian political prisoners and to get leaflets and literature.

Greater Manchester Police fail in their attempt to seize the Farooqi Family home!

Save the Family Home

On Friday 23 May Greater Manchester Police (GMP) failed in their vindictive attempt to seize the family home of the Farooqi Family. On the second day of the court hearing Deputy High Court Judge Henriques accepted that the family members who lived in the house were innocent of any crime and should not suffer for the actions of Munir Farooqi who had been convicted of terrorism charges in 2011 (FRFI 224). Both days of the court hearing saw large numbers of people present in support of the family holding placards and banners and leafleting passers by about the events in the court. The Save The Family Home Campaign made links between its fight for justice and those of other campaigns in Manchester, Justice 4 Grainger and Justice 4 Barton Moss that have suffered at the hands of GMP.

The court decision was a political blow to the GMP and the North West Counter Terrorism Unit who had been attempting to set a precedent in using the Terrorism legislation to seize the house in which Munir and seven family members, including two young children, lived. The decision to push for the seizure of the Farooqi family home had in fact been announced only weeks after the Labour council in Manchester had declared it would evict families of people convicted of offences during the uprisings/riots in August 2011. If the GMP had been successful in seizing the Farooqi family home it would have potentially opened the door to the state seizing the property of anyone convicted for opposing the policies of the government of the day.

When Munir lost his appeal against his conviction in September 2013 the GMP added two other houses that the family own and rent out to the property they wished to seize. They claimed that Munir owned all the properties and that his claim for legal aid for his appeal was fraudulent. Judge Henriques denied the seizure order for the two houses but ordered Munir Farooqi to pay £500,000 court costs, £400,000 for his legal aid and £100,000 for prosecution costs. This draconian decision means the Farooqi family is still under immense pressure from the British state. However after the case they declared, ‘We shall continue to fight against the injustice with the help of the community and prove that there has been a miscarriage of justice in order to free our father Munir Farooqi’.

Bob Shepherd

Manchester: Farooqi family faces collective punishment / FRFI 224 December 2011/January 2012

Justice for Kevan Thakrar! - protest report

On Sunday 3 November around 20 people demonstrated in support of Kevan Thakrar outside Manchester prison (Strangeways).The action was in protest at the continued ill-treatment of Kevan by the Prison Service and calling for an end to his years of solitary confinement. The protest was organised by Manchester FRFI/RCG and Kevan's parents Jean and Al. Supporters included JENGbA (Joint Enterprise – Guilty by Association) and the Justice4Grainger Campaign. At the end of the demonstration the protesters moved to the side of the prison to shout their support over the wall to Kevan, and later on got news that he had heard their calls of support!

In June this year, Kevan was moved from the Close Supervision Centre at Woodhill prison where he had been held since being acquitted, in November 2011, of wounding three prison officers. Kevan's defence was that he acted in self-defence, following years of abuse by prison staff. His case was supported by a psychologist, originally retained by the prosecution, but who ‘switched sides’ after examining Kevan and determining that he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his treatment in prison.

More than 20 prison staff gave evidence for the prosecution. Kevan's witnesses were all prisoners, all of proven bad character. The jury clearly chose to believe them.

Kevan was told his transfer from Woodhill was a ‘progressive move’ and that he would be receiving psychological treatment at Manchester. In fact, he has received no psychological help and has been subjected to a daily regime of intimidation and abuse by staff. His visits have been curtailed, some held in closed conditions, despite neither Kevan or his visitors ever being suspected of smuggling contraband - the usual stated reason for closed visits. His mail has been stopped and he is subjected to numerous daily strip searches. For weeks now, he has been held in a special isolation cell, with no contact with other prisoners.

The Prison Service is a key arm of the criminal justice system. Its staff do not question the convictions of those the courts send to prison. So, though Kevan's acquittal must still rankle with his keepers, they should respect the decision of the court which cleared him. They are there to serve the law, not to break, or be above, it.

Eric Allison


Please support Kevan’s struggle by sending messages of solidarity to Kevan Thakrar A4907AE, HMP MANCHESTER (SIU), Southall Street, Strangeways, MANCHESTER M60 9AH

And letters of complaint about his treatment to the head of the Close Supervision Centres Claire Hodson at : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For background to Kevan’s case, imprisonment and transfer to Manchester see:

 

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Report of Manchester protest: UEFA out of Israel! Israel out of Palestine!

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Around 50 people took part in a day of protest in Manchester on 18 May organised by Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle and against UEFA's decision to hold the 2013 Under-21 Euro football tournament in Israel. Members and supporters of the Revolutionary Communist Group (RCG) were joined by Manchester Palestine Solidarity Campaign, CPGB-ML and members of the public for a rolling picket of shops that are sponsoring the Euros and therefore giving a green light to Israeli apartheid, occupation and colonisation. The protests were provocative and received the support of hundreds of passers by.

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North West Events coming up..

Every Saturday unless otherwise specified - Information/campaign stalls, Manchester City Centre and environs

For details call 07519 427 093 or e-mail: frfi.manchester@gmail.com

 

Regular actions in Liverpool, for details contact FRFI.Liverpool@gmail.com

Contact North West FRFI

075 1942 7093
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FRFI Statement on Justice for Grainger protest

Who shot and killed Anthony Grainger?