FRFI round up / FRFI 200 Dec 2007 / Jan 2008

FRFI 200 December 2007 / January 2008

The British ruling class is aiming to normalise genocide and make its ongoing brutality against the people of Iraq and Afghanistan an acceptable part of life for the British public. Likewise it continues to portray its attacks on the working class here and its unceasing erosion of democratic rights as inevitable and incontestable. Our task as communists in an imperialist country is to expose and confront this and to build the movement of those who do not accept imperialism’s version of ‘normality’. FRFI activists continue to be active on the streets across Britain.

Defend asylum seekers – fight racism!
In the last FRFI we reported that Sabah Abdul Rahman Kasim, a refugee from Iraq, had been arrested by Border and Immigration Agency officers on a bus in Manchester. North West Asylum Seekers Defence Group (NWASDG) has since learned that on 8 November Sabah was deported to Yemen. Just weeks after Sabah’s arrest his friend Faraydun Abdullazzada, an Iranian refugee and active NWASDG member was arrested in an almost identical way, this time with ticket inspectors collaborating with the police. Faraydun was with a Turkish refugee, also in NWASDG, who quickly phoned round comrades from the group, who organised a militant picket in front of the police station, with members of the RCG, the International Organisation of Iranian Refugees (IOIR) and No Borders. Within a few hours Faraydun was released and, as he has since said, ‘without this protest I would have been in the same situation as Sabah.’ As a communist, Faraydun would face imprisonment and even death if deported to Iran.

On 3 November up to 50 people marched through south Manchester in opposition to the racist Labour government’s anti-asylum policies. The demands were: For the right to work! Stop starving asylum seekers! No to destitution! Stop deportations! End all immigration controls! There were banners from NWASDG, FRFI and the British Libya Solidarity Campaign, and the march was supported by members of IOIR and the Anarchist Federation.

On the Monday after the demo NWASDG learnt that the campaign that first led to its formation had been victorious with Eucharia and Timeyi Jakpa winning their fight against the attempt to deport them to Nigeria (see page 16).

In Newcastle FRFI supporters have continued to work to strengthen Tyneside Community Action for Refugees (TCAR) and the Pledge of Resistance against dawn raids. When immigration police carried out two dawn raids in the West End of Newcastle on 24 October, TCAR activists and local people came out to monitor and oppose the raids. Four people were arrested for obstruction and are due in court in January, but no asylum seekers were taken. From 26 to 28 October TCAR representatives participated in a lively march from Sheffield to Lindholme Detention Centre organised by South Yorkshire Migrant and Asylum Action Group. On 2 November TCAR held a demonstration outside Government Offices North East against deportations and in solidarity with a TCAR member from DRCongo who is currently under threat of deportation.

London FRFI supporters continue to organise monthly demonstrations outside Communications House Immigration Reporting Centre and are working with other groups to begin a campaign in support of the Harmondsworth 4, who are due to stand trial following the uprising at the Removal Centre in December 2006 (see page 16 and FRFI 195).

Democratic rights
In Newcastle police harassment had abated for two months following the Rally for Democratic Rights on 1 September. However, on 2 November four comrades were issued with summonses for collecting donations without a licence at a street event on 5 May against the deportation of the Akdogan family to Turkey. When they appeared in court on 13 November, a demonstration outside was held by Guler Akdogan, FRFI supporters, and members of Tyneside Solidarity Campaign and Tyneside Socialist Forum. The case was adjourned to 4 December. FRFI will continue to fight in the courts and through our continued activity on the streets for the democratic right to collect donations,

Victory to the Intifada

For seven years FRFI activists in London have maintained the weekly pickets of Marks & Spencer, Britain’s largest corporate sponsor of Israel. On 11 November FRFI comrades held a successful day of action with a mobile picket down Oxford Street stopping outside Marks & Spencer, Selfridges and John Lewis as part of the international week of solidarity against the apartheid wall. John Lewis is Britain’s biggest stocker of Caterpillar clothing. Caterpillar makes the bulldozers used by the Israeli army to demolish Palestinian homes.

Stop the War

Demonstrations calling for the immediate withdrawal of imperialist troops are also continuing on a weekly basis in Newcastle. When Tony Blair spoke in South Shields on 14 November, at a public lecture hosted by Foreign Secretary David Miliband, FRFI activists joined a protest called by South Tyneside Stop the War and used lively street theatre to denounce Labour imperialism and demand the release of the prisoners held at occupied Guantanamo Bay.

In October, FRFI comrades in Glasgow supported demonstrations outside Celtic Park against the appointment of former Labour Home Secretary John Reid as chairman of Celtic FC. Banners reading ‘No War Criminals at Celtic’ and ‘Rebel against Reid! No to Doctor Death!’ were prominently displayed and seen by the thousands of fans going to the game. The protests involved over a hundred people, as Celtic fans, supporters’ clubs, republicans and FRFI comrades stood against ‘Doctor Death’, chanting and demonstrating against this notorious racist, unionist politician.

FRFI will continue to be active over the coming months – see our events column above for information on how to join the struggle.


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