Thursday 6th March: Stand up against state repression in Brixton

Heavy police & UKBA activity is expected in Brixton on Thursday 6th March according to information published here. We support the callout for people to go down & monitor events, meeting in Windrush Square from 1pm. The following leaflet is reportedly being circulated by Lambeth Council and Trident Command:

“Lambeth Council, Lambeth Police and Trident Central Gangs Unit, will undertake a significant number of activities in Brixton to tackle gang related violence, street crime and Anti Social Behaviour. This planned partnership day of action will include weapon sweeps in parks and open spaces, trading standards and licensing visits, abandoned car removals, Anti Social Behaviour operations, tenancy enforcement and operations to tackle robbery. Windrush Square Engagement Event 2pm-6pm – COME ALONG!
There will be various stalls offering information designed to encourage young people into education, employment and diversionary activities including Job Centre Plus, Street Doctors and Dance United London Academy. In addition, the London Fire Brigade will be present along with mobile Police station, Battersea Dogs and Cats home and Community Safety. This
day will be supported by the mobile CCTV van and increased police patrols during the evening as well as arrest enquiries on those persons involved in gang related violence. Local police and council officers will be present throughout the day to provide reassurance patrols and assistance. Officers from Police and Council as well as local Safer Neighbourhood staff will be available to answer any questions you may have.”

We are revolted by attempts to give this blatant day of concerted oppression and social cleansing a friendly face by combining it with a fluffy outreach event. Will Dance United London Academy be providing us all with afternoon entertainment while police and other state agents drag people off the streets?!

Immigration Enforcement fishing raids Holloway road/Seven Sisters road, 4th February

Witness statement:

04/02/14 Tuesday 2.15pm (Began at approx. 2pm on Holloway road.)

At 2.15pm I challenged officers who were inside a bag shop on Holloway road. They refused to show a warrant or anything which would indicate they had prior information before entering the premises. The manager said that he had not given them his consent or been warned of the search until they were in the shop. They began harassing and searching two workers, one of whom managed to leave (possibly by exercising his right to simply walk away?)

One man was arrested. The manager said that this man had a visa but not a work visa. He seemed confident he would be back ‘tomorrow’

Upon challenging two of the officers I was told that I would be arrested for ‘obstruction’. They were all quite fired up and very aggressive. At this point I was standing near them and talking calmly with them, and I was certainly not in their way. One officer (a well built white man of around 45 years) said ‘that’s it I’m arresting you’ and attempted to grab me by the arm. He shoved me over into a display stand as I pulled myself free.

Two officers stayed to hand over notice of a £10,000 fine to the manager. The man who was arrested did not seem too upset, and said himself that he ‘would be back’! It seems he had residence papers but with a temporary work restriction – the manager wouldn’t say anything else.

The UKBA/IE officers also raided a hairstylists’ two doors down, and then went to several businesses along Seven Sisters road, including a restaurant. However, the people working in these places said that they had simply warned them of a potential fine if people were found to be without papers, and then left.

I don’t know if more than 1 man was arrested, but it is clear that Immigration Enforcement officers were carrying out illegal fishing raids in the area today.

Immigration checks on Oxford Street

Immigration checks and violent arrest – a testimony, 4th January

On Saturday 4th January 2014, whilst walking along Oxford Street, central London at around 1am, two people spotted a UKBA van parked in front of hoardings for building work. Both witnesses went to see what was happening. On the pavement behind the vans, there appeared to be 3 people sleeping in a shop front. Gathered around them were various ‘official looking’ people. Several uniformed UKBA officers were clearly identifiable, plus several uniformed police, and other ‘officials’ in plain clothes with various utility belts and body armour protruding through their clothing.

A UKBA officer was looming over one of the people sitting on the floor. The witnesses approached this person, and informed him that he did not have to speak to the border agent, answer any questions or show her any identification. The border agent insisted this was not true, and that the witnesses should go away. One of the people getting questioned began to get very agitated as he was wondering why there was so much attention. Witnesses explained that they were solely there to observe the UKBA and the police.

The officers asked the witnesses ‘what are you doing here’ to which the male witness replied ‘we were just walking along the street’. The officer then said ‘why don’t you carry on walking then’? The witness replied ‘well, I’m standing here at the moment’ and then asked the officer ‘what are you doing here’. This seemed to provoke a fit of rage from the officer. The officer – PC CW 3206 from Central Westminster – exclaimed ‘I’ve had enough of you people’ and grabbed the neck of the male witness, violently forcing him back against a wooden pillar that was supporting the building site hoarding. The witness did nothing to retaliate, believing the officer was just trying to briefly scare him, or maybe arrest him. However the officer then proceeded to crush the throat of the witness and making it harder to breathe.

The officer threw the witness to the ground, violently twisting his arms. The witness shouted to passers by to film what was happening. The officer then asserted more force, twisting the handcuffs causing severe and ongoing pain to the witness. As the force on his upper body increased, the wind pipe of the witness began to close up, and he struggled to breathe – this is recognised as a dangerous position of ‘restraint’ by the Metropolitan Police themselves, causing what they describe as ‘positional asphyxiation’. The witness tried to tell the officer he was an asthmatic and couldn’t breathe, but got no response.

The torture or ‘pain compliance’ that the officer was carrying out continued for at least a minute or more. Eventually, the officer then dragged the witness up using the handcuffs, further cutting into the witness wrists, whilst still twisting them, and slammed him against another pillar. The witness was arrested, held for 4 hours in the police station and later bailed for a public order offence of ‘using threatening words / behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress’.

The UKBA inspectors managed to get the bankcard of one of the people being checked. They asked him to stand up to be photographed against a pillar, and then two officers went into the van. One of them came back about 20 or 30 minutes later, and served some documents to the man and explained to him in English that he had to present himself on three occasions to the UKBA and then would be deported to Poland sometime in February because he failed to show willingness to remain in the UK, because he had failed to sign on at the Job Centre on a number of occasions. The man had been in the UK for 9 years and was extremely shocked, so was his friend who was awake.

People living and sleeping around Oxford Street and Marble Arch told the Anti Raids Network that they are harassed by Police and UKBA on a daily basis. Some people report being repeatedly arrested and having documents/money taken away from them at the police station.

Stop card: download & distribute

Side 2 of the stop cardShare & download our simple ‘stop card’ for people to present to immigration officers and police if they do not wish to engage in conversation. The stop card is a reminder of our rights for those being questioned, and a reminder for immigration and police officers of the limitations of their powers.

Southall Black Sisters Protest against Racist Immigration Laws and Tactics This Thursday 24th October.

Demo against UKBA and its recent ‘Go Home’ campaign

Southall Black Sisters Protest against Racist Immigration Laws and Tactics

JOIN US ON 24TH OCTOBER 2013 FOR A MASS DEMONSTRATION AGAINST THE UKBA AND ITS ‘GO HOME’ POSTERS

EATON HOUSE, 581 Staines Road, Hounslow, Middx, TW4 5DL
From 10.30am to 12.30pm

www.southallblacksisters.org.uk

Chinatown community announce strike following recent immigration raids

Tuesday 22nd October 2pm.
Tuesday 22nd October 2pm.

On Tuesday 22nd October, a day of action has been called in Chinatown in response to the systematic immigration raids and harassment from UKBA….

‘Say no to UKBA fishing raids. Tuesday 22nd October, 2pm sharp. Meet at The Two Lions Statue, Gerrard Street, Chinatown, SOHO, London. The day of action will include: a strike and closure of restaurants and businesses; press conference; lantern and balloon ceremony’

AntiRaids will be there to support.

We encourage people to come and show solidarity with those being targeted by UKBA.

UKBA raids in East London, Thursday 10th October

**ARN raid report, 10th October Ridley Road Market**

A witness told anti raids:

‘I went to Ridley Road after I saw a photo posted on Twitter around 1:30PM. There were 3 UKBA vans and another black van with a small ‘Home Office’ sticker in the window. While I was there 7 UKBA officers and two men without any uniforms went to a butchers shop, the market and a residential property next to it.

Someone, likely the landlord, let them in to the house. They didn’t take anyone while I was there. I spoke to one of the people at the butchers. They told me UKBA took 4 people from the shop shortly before. A shop worker said that he asked them for a warrant before he let them in to the premises and they had a warrant. It was for a single named person but they took four people. They said they needed to take them to the Home Office for checks and ‘may be’ released later. They were also accompanied by plain clothes police officers.”

Man in brown jacket reportedly an undercover police officer
Man in brown jacket was reportedly an undercover police officer
Officers no longer wearing ID or lapel numbers
Officers no longer wearing ID or lapel numbers
2nd undercover officer
2nd reportedly undercover officer

**ARN raid report, 10th October: Bethnal Green, midday**

Friends of the Anti Raids Network, based in Bethnal Green tweeted a raid at midday.

UKBA were reported to be raiding a property around midday. People from the community filmed the UKBA officers and told them they ‘are not welcome in Bethnal Green’.

There were 8 officers; 5 men, 3 women, in UKBA uniforms. They were targeting a shop on Bethnal Green Road. Witnesses tried to enter the shop but it was being barred by two officers. A few customers tried to get in, including one person who, when they were told it was the Border Agency, said ‘They’re doing that here now? That’s the first time I’ve ever seen them here’.

Witnesses saw through the window that officers were questioning a guy at the back (he looked of a different ethnicity to the two shopkeepers). They were also taking details from the main shopkeeper, who was quietly complying. At one point their hold on the door slipped, and witnesses got inside. Officers were asked what they were doing, they said “step outside, we’re just making some enquiries”. When witnesses didn’t comply, officers threatened them with arrest for obstruction.

Witnesses waited outside and tried speaking to a couple of the officers when they came out. They told them they weren’t wanted here and they were just spreading fear. They threatened people filming with arrest. Fortunately, they left the building empty handed; no one was arrested.

From the Anti Raids Network…

Raids are happening daily across London; people are being swept up in these racist checks. We should continue to resist and challenge the raids. Remember it is not an offence to film UKBA officers or the police; tell your friends and neighbours. They will always try to tell you it is obstruction, but this is just a scare tactic.
You are allowed to film! We should film! Solidarity with all people being targeted by UKBA.