Gaza Demonstrators Support Campaign
Following those protests, 119, predominantly muslim, young people were arrested.The youngest was 12. 83 have been charged with offences, the vast majority with public order offences which hold a maximum of 5 years imprisonment. 24 have already been sent to prison. Their sentences have ranged from 8 months to 2 years. The majority of them aged between 16-19 years of age.
It is clearly stated both by the judge’s own rhetoric and general analysis that the judge was passing a deterrence sentence….and that he will continue to do so….This is a political sentence, one criminalising the right to protest and using the muslim community as its example….
In addition to this, 33 complaints about police violence during the demonstrations have been registered, but NONE followed through. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) have made clear that they will NOT be pursuing any allegations of police brutality or misconduct.
Examples of the completely unjust sentencing:
24 yr old man, 12 months for throwing a light weight stick at the police line after seeing an elderly woman assaulted by the police 19 year old man sentenced for 12 months for throwing a water bottle in the direction of the israeli embassy
These are just a few of the many examples…In addition to the sentencing, the nature of the arrest is in itself shocking. Most of the arrested were taken from their homes in the early hours of the morning after their houses had been raided and their entire family handcuffed and thrown into one room.
All of their electronic equipment was confiscated. The nature of the arrest is definitely more like those associated with terrorism cases then with public order offences. In addition they had to surrender their passports because of the “international dimension” of the case.
These arrests and these sentences which can only be interpreted as going down the path of criminalising the right to protest go against all the democratic principles with which people throughout history have fought to uphold. The arrests are also part of a long and ongoing process which has aimed to ostercise and alienate the muslim community which hit its peak with the anti terror laws post 9/11.
What should be made clear is that we will never forfeit our right to peaceful demonstration. And however provoked we are with kettling, intimidation by photography, abuse by certain members of the police force, we shall never stop excercising our right to protest.
It is also important to fully understand these arrests within the context of criminalising the right to speak up against the human rights violations and war crimes committed against the Palestinians by the Israeli state…..
In addition, it is also completely relevant to highlight that certain members of the British government (Gordon Brown has stated that he wishes to ammend the laws regarding universal jurisdiction) are trying to stop Israeli members of state, directly responsible for the war crimes and human rights violations in Gaza, from being arrested in Britain. So we have a situation where the British state protects war criminals from facing an international tribunal while members of the British public are criminalised for opposing those very crimes.
The reality is the muslim community and the general resisting British community is being smeared, as part of a wider campaign, into apathy….
This can NOT and will NOT succeed….this group is the voice of just that!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *