From Warsaw ABC…
On the night of May 23rd, the police in Warsaw arrested three anarchists on charges of an alleged arson attempt of a police vehicle. The three were transferred to a remand prison where they are to be held in custody for three months, awaiting trial. They face up to 8 years in prison. Media frenzy broke out over the arrest in the past few days, with high-ranking politicians and experts on terrorism discussing the matter on TV. Photos and video reruns of the arrested walking with chains around their feet and hands are broadcast on public transportation. The text below is a translation of the statement that was sent out by various groups from the anarchist and wider social justice community in Poland, in response to these arrests.
There are increasingly more absurd, one sided reports being released through the mass-media about the arrest of three anarchists on Monday May 23rd. We interpret this as an attempt to intimidate and criminalize social protest in Poland.
It is no coincidence that the closer the time comes for the so called ‘Counter-terrorism Act’ to come into force that the media and politicians increasingly construct a reality so that this law seems to be necessary. The heated reports and analysis about police actions preventing the alleged arson attempt on a police car stand in stark contrast to the silence around events which challenge the image of ‘police heros’. At almost the same time police in Wrocław murdered Igor. It is hard to find a reaction or indignation from the multitude of politicians, media, police officers and experts on terror to this. There are hardly any journalists which are critical when police kill a person. But police killings are only the tip of the iceberg. Extortion, beatings and unlawful protection of the interests of the influential – every year from 16000 complaints filed against the police only 5 percent of them are deemed appropriate. Due to media selectivity and omissions, the police have no fear of legal consequences. One can assume that people are discouraged from filing official complaints with expensive legal costs. The truth is that only loud protests and riots stop police repression being forgotten. The media meanwhile de facto do not lose any opportunity to pave the way towards permanent expansion of police jurisdiction and to further reduce public control over the activities of these bodies of repression.
Today the panic over an alleged, failed attempt to burn a police car forces consent to a draconian law allowing uncontrolled surveillance, ungrounded detention and unlimited police violence against the whole of society. Today, irresponsible journalists use sensationalism about ‘terror’ and fabricate consent to systemic repression in an attempt to persuade those not yet convinced: even official political trends in Poland express doubts in relation to this ‘anti-terrorist’ law.
The anarchist movement is active within groups of workers, tenants, environmental and anti-racism struggles and the fight against land-grabbing. It works uncompromisingly towards social justice, fighting against repression by business and political elites. The lack of public control over the police force for years condones the uncontrolled violence it uses against people opposed to systemic violence in various fields. More broadly, the witch-hunt atmosphere after the wider anarchist movement is building consent for repression and surveillance on communities challenging the most influential interest groups in this country.
Today, the sheer volume of media reconstructions about the alleged attempt to set fire to a police car, included the psychology of would-be arsonists and the subsequent press conferences with police and the prosecutor’s office. With undisguised anger we recall the public reaction to the repression against people fighting our causes. When the activist Jolanta Brzeska – living 50 meters from a police station – was repeatedly harassed and eventually brutally murdered, we could not count on similar indignation from the political elite and on the media immediately releasing press conferences and expert opinions. In fact, whenever attacks are made on workers’ rights or tenants, public opinion does not pay them any attention.
In contrast however, a media storm explodes around an arson, which de facto did not take place. Arrested anarchists are called terrorists. This forces social acceptance of using physical and psychological violence against them. Labeling them as such leads to the prisoners being tortured with no repercussions, as evidenced by their current state of health.
We will not be intimidated, nor stop our struggle for the maintenance of and expansion of social gain – even against the wishes of an increasingly police state. We appeal to the media: until you have the courage to loudly condemn many years of police violence, with the weight of its privileges and the complete state apparatus, you have no right to condemn the imprisoned anarchists and create a campaign against the whole anarchist movement. This movement never stands still for any authority, business or church. It has however a history of thousands of social struggles, many of which you are afraid to even speak of. This story will survive any repression.
Solidarity with the arrested and a call for it from all!
Enough of a state founded on fear and police violence!
Warszawskie Stowarzyszenie Lokatorów
Ruch Sprawiedliwości Społecznej
Kancelaria Sprawiedliwości Społecznej
Warszawska Federacja Anarchistyczna
Jedzenie Zamiast Bomb sekcja Warszawa
Anarchistyczny Czarny Krzyż Warszawa
No Borders Warszawa