Support Kill The Bill demonstrators and legal defence

Defend resistance to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.

The people arrested following recent demonstrations in Bristol against the much opposed Police Bill need our support.

We know the state will want to make examples of them.

As a grassroots voluntary group that has been supporting arrestees for over a decade, we have seen up close the damage a trial can do, regardless of the outcome. Particularly to people who have less privilege than those judging them.

We know that when the police are violent to protesters, they are determined to justify and excuse their actions through prosecuting those that witnessed and resisted their violence. This week in Bristol has shown the violence the police are capable of on the ground once they are emboldened by political support, after dark on Tuesday and again on Friday. The full scale of injuries sustained by protesters will continue to emerge, while the police have retracted their widely publicised claim that two officers sustained broken bones on Sunday.

Aspects of the protest on Sunday 21st March received immediate local, national, and international media coverage and political responses. The Mayor of Bristol has proclaimed everyone was “intent” on confrontation from the start. The police have branded demonstrators “a mob of animals”. Meanwhile some people have rushed to express “complete confidence in the approach taken by Avon & Somerset Police” – while the work of groups such as Bristol Copwatch shows that the approach taken by Avon & Somerset Police is racist and disproportionate year-round.

The heavy bias of reporting, depicting protesters as the initiators of violence, rather than the victims of violence, makes it unlikely that anyone accused of attending the protest on Sunday 21st March will get a fair trial. While even the most blatant sex-offenders are named “allegedly” until proven guilty, those arrested have had no such treatment. It is unrealistic to expect a jury will have missed these very public comments. It will influence the judgement in any trial.

History shows us that fundamental social change requires a diversity of tactics. We believe that no one taking part in moments of resistance should face the system alone. If you do too, please donate.

With cuts to legal aid, those in full time work will need support with lawyers’ fees. For those without that security, the trial risks limiting their capacity to find work.

We are aiming to raise £15,000 for people arrested following Bristol demonstrations against the government’s new legislation.
Depending on need, and in this priority order, we will use this fund to support those arrested in connection with the Kill the Bill protests by:

Supplying money for legal fees not covered by legal aid.
Paying any travel costs to court.
Covering loss of earnings sustained as a result of attending court.
Supporting legal cases made against the police.
Helping pay rent to ensure defendants can return to their homes after any custodial sentences.

Our crowdfunder is now live:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/killthebill-bristol-legal-support-in-the-streets?utm_campaign=p_cf+share-flow-1&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_source=customer

In the unlikely event of there being any money left over from this, it will be held by Bristol Defendant Solidarity to support people in a similar way in the future. Solidarity is our best defence.

In solidarity, BDS

SISTERS UNCUT STATEMENT ON BRISTOL – WE WILL NOT BE DIVIDED

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

It feels like every day a new story about police violence comes to light. Over the past week, we’ve seen a police officer walk free after being caught on camera assaulting a woman, using tactics that he had learned on the job to force her to the ground, screaming that she was a ‘fucking slag’ when she managed to escape. In the 6 years between 2012 and 2018 there were 594 complaints of sexual violence against Met police employees, of which only 119 were upheld. We know that only a fraction of incidents of sexual violence are ever reported to the police, so it’s safe to assume that the true number is far, far higher. With the passing of the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Act earlier this month, the state authorised police officers to deceive women into sexual relationships, and even into pregnancy. The police are the perpetrators.

The police already have a monopoly on violence and the Police Crackdown Bill will only entrench this further. Protests in Bristol over the weekend were described in national newspapers as having ‘turned violent’, yet we know that it was protesters, not police, who bore the brunt of that violence. Police tactics, including kettling, the use of batons, and dispersal techniques such as horse charges, are violent in both intent and effect. Whether they are manhandling protesters at Saturday’s vigil in memory of Sarah Everard, aggressively pursuing young Black women for their details, or forcefully arresting protestors for shaking their heads at officers, as we saw last weekend at Bristol, it is clear that it is the police who turn protest into violence.

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will enable the police to decide where, when and how citizens are allowed to travel, congregate, protest, and work. Sentences of up to 10 years are laid down for anything from a protest to a house party or even just a lone individual causing ‘serious annoyance’. This bill attacks all communities, and it is all of us that must resist.

31 years ago, a mass movement formed in opposition to Thatcher’s poll tax, a flat tax that would have punished the poorest in society, and took to the streets to defeat a bill that could not be defeated in parliament. During the protests, mounted police and police vans charged through crowds of people, who were beaten with batons, but politicians and the media drew a contrast between a moral majority and a small number of violent protesters. The stigmatisation of protesters is a tactic of division that we won’t stand for. It is a fearful response by a state that thrives on division and scarcity. While the police can use violence against people with impunity, protesters are condemned for ‘violent’ damage to property. 

We applaud all those who went out this weekend, and took to the streets to defend the right to a life free of state violence. The police use violence to divide us, but we will not be divided. The conservative media attempts to paint a moral hierarchy, but we will not be forced apart. We know that this bill can be defeated, and we are coming together in a coalition of solidarity to do just that. We will not be silenced. We will kill the bill!

Signed By

8M Feminista Latinx
Abolitionist Futures
Black Lives Matter UK
Community Action on Prison Expansion (CAPE)
Cradle Community
Disabled People Against Cuts
Docs Not Cops
Jewish Solidarity Action
Kurdistan Solidarity Network
Migrant Media
Migrants Organise
No More Exclusions
Remember & Resist
Sisters of Frida
SOAS Detainee Support
United Families and Friends Campaign
Women Defend Rojava
Women’s Strike

Kill the Bill! (Again!)

It’s time for everyone to come together to demand the Police Bill is stopped.

We will not tolerate a police state.

We will defend our right to protest.

Please wear PPE and physically distance from cops. Wear a mask This protest has NO organiser.

For information about, and resistance to, the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill:

Anna is with us. we fight on!

March 15th, 2018 is the day we lost a truly awesome and amazing friend and comrade, Anna Campbell. Today we send love and strength to all who knew Anna and all comrades everywhere fighting for the better world that Anna worked so hard towards. We will always remember her and will carry on the struggle she and so many others have lived. For total liberation!

Our friend and comrade Anna was killed during the defense of the city of Afrin from the Turkish invasion. She was killed alongside two other members of the YPJ; Sara Merdin and Serhildan. We remember them too for their bravery.
Anna was known to many for her compassion and dedication to making change. Her time at BASE was spent being involved in many different collectives. Prison abolition was her main passion while in Bristol but she was also an anarchist, feminist, anti-speciesist and anti-fascist. She recognised that all oppressions are interlinked and the importance of fighting all of them. Anna also recognised the importance of caring for ourselves and the people we love and she often found time to feed herself and her friends banana bread! She brought creativity and energy to all the events and actions she was involved in and was positive and full of hope. The positive effect of her actions are spread across the world and the list of people that she empowered into action seemingly limitless.

Anna will be missed so much but we will be inspired by her courage, strength and kindness. Her dedication to fighting what she called ‘the forces of evil’ will never be forgotten and we should allow her death to encourage us all to continue in the struggles she fought for and strengthen our movements.