Tag Archives: protester

Corrupted morals: men who allegedly toppled Colston statue to be punished but Priti Patel goes free

Over it goes: the toppling of the Colston statue, back in June. By a curious coincidence, nobod involved in pulling it down could be seen in this image.

People who toppled – and then sank – a statue glorifying slavery during the Black Lives Matter demonstrations in the summer are to be offered a bizarre punishment.

The five, who pulled down the statue of slaver Edward Colston in Bristol, will have to pay a fine that would go to a charity supporting people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities in Bristol – which is more than Colston ever did.

They will also have to complete a questionnaire by Bristol City Council’s history commission, explaining their reasons for attacking an exploiter who considered black and minority ethnic people to be property during a week of protests against their mistreatment.

That’s going to be an uncomfortable read for these history commissioners.

This Writer would be unsurprised if every answer contained harsh criticism of them for even asking such a stupid question.

Worse still is the fact that four more people – three men and a woman – may face criminal charges over the incident:

Avon and Somerset police said its investigation had been completed.

It said: “Following a review of the evidence, detectives will now approach the Crown Prosecution Service for a charging decision against four people – three men, aged 32, 25 and 21, and a 29-year-old woman.”

Meanwhile, the Home Office is reportedly resuming deportation of asylum-seekers after it was prevented from sending a flight to Spain a few weeks ago.

Lawyers for the deportees demonstrated that the government had rushed the flight in order to deny the refugees their right to appeal.

It’s a direct correlation with the attitude of slavers like Colston, who also refused to allow foreign people any rights.

So we have to ask ourselves:

Who should really be explaining their actions – the protesters who tore down a statue of a historic slaver, or Priti Patel, the home secretary who treats people like slaves today?

Source: Men allegedly involved in toppling of Colston statue offered cautions | UK news | The Guardian

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Thug MP who grabbed woman by the throat is to stand down – over Brexit

Remember this guy?

We have video if you don’t:

His name was Mark Field and he was suspended from his job as Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific as a result of the incident in June. When Boris Johnson became prime minister, he was sacked altogether.

Now he has announced he is to stand down as a member of Parliament – not because he attacked a defenceless woman but – we’re told – because of Brexit.

According to The Independent, he said his views “stand at odds with the current administration’s impatient approach to getting Brexit done”.

He said his desire to stop a no-deal Brexit and revoke Article 50 to restart the two-year clock put him “at odds” with Boris Johnson.

“It is increasingly clear that divisions over Brexit and our future relationship with the EU-27 will dominate and define domestic politics for many years to come,” he said in a statement to constituents in the Cities of London and Westminster.

He added: “So the current speculation that a general election may be imminent has forced me to reach the very difficult decision not to offer myself as your candidate for the next election.”

It’s the right decision – for the wrong reason.

Mr Field had to go – but not to make way for a hard-right Johnson-upholding Brextremist to replace him.

He should have resigned after he grabbed Greenpeace protester Janet Barker by the throat – or at least after Boris Johnson showed his own misogyny by dropping the investigation into the incident after he removed Mr Field from his ministerial role (the decision was unrelated).

But that’s the Johnson government for you: thuggish and misogynist.

At least Mr Field has found a form of protest that is acceptable to him: the kind that won’t solve a problem but may actually make matters worse.

Source: Mark Field: MP who grabbed female protester by neck stands down over Brexit | The Independent

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Boris Johnson had no reason to run away from Luxembourg press conference

UK prime minister Boris Johnson was shown to have run away from shadows when he walked out of a press conference with Luxembourg’s prime minister, Xavier Bettel.

We were all told he had backed out because of loud behaviour from anti-Brexit protesters – and then one of that crowd contacted LBC with the facts.

‘Catherine’, of – guess where? – Luxembourg, had this to say:

We heard on Friday he was coming to Luxembourg and we decided we would go and welcome him. As you can see, it hasn’t been taken very kindly by people who back Brexit and the right-wing press in the UK.

There was no ambush. A lot of us are in our 40s and 50s, there were some youngsters, but most people were working or at schools so they couldn’t attend the demonstration. There were about 50 of us, some say 75.

We were noisy. We were booing when he arrived and were calling him a liar – which we can back up on the basis of his record.

We asked by the press to not make any noise while Mr Johnson spoke because the press wanted to hear what he had to say. We, being reasonable people who can be reasoned with, decided that was perfectly acceptable.

When he came out, we booed him. And if he took the lectern, we would have piped down. We’re not hoodlums causing violent scuffles in the street.

He never took the stand, which I consider to be an act of cowardice.

And they were right – because that’s what it was.

Source: Brexit: Protestor reveals what actually happened to Boris Johnson at that Luxembourg press conference | indy100

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Concerns grow over police force that shares info on protesters with DWP | Disability News Service

DNS has uncovered more information about information-sharing between Greater Manchester Police and the Department for Work and Pensions, intended to harm protesters with disabilities.

It seems GMP does not provide any guidance to officers on when it is lawful for them to hand information to the DWP on the presence of protesters with disabilities.

As a result, they fear that GMP – and probably other police forces – may have indiscriminately passed information to DWP about disabled activists, after assuming they must be committing benefit fraud if they can take part in protests.

Liberty fears this could have a “chilling effect on disabled people’s protest rights”.

GMP has now told Disability News Service (DNS) – through a response to a freedom of information (Foi) request – that a review of its records “indicates” that the force passed information about the activities of disabled anti-fracking protesters to DWP.

The force has also said that the amount of information it passed to DWP “is unknown at this stage” because of the number of anti-fracking protests that took place within Greater Manchester.

This is likely to refer to protests that took place in Barton Moss, Salford, in 2013 and 2014.

GMP said in the FoI response that this information was passed to DWP so the department could “assess and then investigate and determine if criminal offences had occurred in relation to benefit claims”.

The force said this morning that information had been shared under successive Data Protection Acts, but it has so far refused to say if it has any guidance that explains to officers under what circumstances such information can lawfully be passed to DWP.

If it has no such guidance, its actions are likely to have been unlawful, say human rights experts from Liberty.

This means the police are likely to have broken the law in order to pretend that disabled people were committing criminal acts.

Source: Concerns grow over police force that shares info on protesters with DWP – Disability News Service

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Tory double standards: Abuse them and the police are called – but they can abuse anyone freely

Pointing the finger: A Conservative MP shouts at Commons Speaker John Bercow during discussion of the Grieve Amendment.

Conservative MPs have been at their abusive worst in Parliament – heckling Speaker John Bercow over his decision to allow a vote on the so-called Grieve Amendment, and hurling insults at Jeremy Corbyn, ironically as he called for a “safe space” from such behaviour during Prime Minister’s Questions.

The hypocrisy comes into sharp focus when one recalls that only two days before, Conservative MPs wrote to Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, demanding stronger policing of the area outside the Palace of Westminster to prevent abuse of the kind directed at Conservative MP Anna Soubry by (right-wing pro-Brexit) protesters on Monday.

Note that I put “right wing pro-Brexit” in parentheses because there seems to be a concerted effort to airbrush this fact out of the record, along with the abuse of left-wing journalist Owen Jones by the same people. We’ll come to that shortly.

First, let’s consider yesterday’s Parliamentary antics, starting with the Grieve Amendment. Tory backbencher and former Attorney General Dominic Grieve had proposed an amendment to legislation that gives the government 21 days to say what happens next if its Brexit deal is voted down, and a further seven sitting days (days in which Parliament is in session) in which to hold a vote.

The amendment reduces the time allowed before a statement is made to just three days. It isn’t binding, but it would be extremely damaging to Theresa May if she failed to do so.

MPs objected because they claimed the original legislation was unamendable. Mr Bercow held a different view:

Let’s see if I can dig out some examples of the behaviour he had to endure. Here’s Arj Singh:

That’s mild. Try this:

Mr Clarke’s reference was to the right-wingers who abused Ms Soubry and Mr Jones, and hints as to the attitudes he saw being expressed around him.

Then we had the hypocrisy of the Leader of the House, Andrea Leadsom:

Here’s the icing on this particularly rotten cake – the moment when Tory MP Adam Holloway accused Mr Bercow of trying to sabotage Brexit, claiming as evidence that the Speaker has a pro-Remain sticker on his car. The slapdown was brilliant:

https://twitter.com/SidUnite/status/1083002551493189637

It seems clear that the behaviour of these Conservatives lowered the tone of debate in the Commons and arguably harmed the reputation of Parliament itself – although some would say that this cannot happen as they have already damaged it irreparably:

The arguments over the Amendment were – sadly – only a sequel to a similar unseemly display during Prime Minister’s Questions.

Both Mrs May and Mr Corbyn mentioned the intimidation of Ms Soubry and Mr Jones on Monday. The prime minister said politicians and the media should be able to go about their work without harassment and intimidation.

Sadly, her backbenchers did not pay any attention to her (perhaps cementing our opinion that she is no leader) and poured abuse at Mr Corbyn while he agreed with her. He said: “We also have to be clear that intimidation is wrong outside this building as it is wrong in any other aspect of life in this country, and we have to create a safe space for political debate.”

By this point, the level of heckling had reached a point beyond which he could not continue, so he pointed it out: “You see what I mean, Mr Speaker; I am calling for a safe space for political debate.”

The Tory perpetrators may have enjoyed themselves but the public drew the appropriate conclusions, as the following comments bear out:

https://twitter.com/Wirral_In_It/status/1082976660322955264

And of course, that is what they have been trying to do.

Possibly worse than the habitually abusive behaviour of Tory MPs is the apparent attempt to pretend that the only person suffering abuse on College Green on Monday was Ms Soubry.

I myself was so surprised to see her mentioned on the BBC’s lunchtime Politics Live show – and not Owen Jones, who is a frequent panellist there – that I actually raised the matter with editor Rob Burley. Here’s the dialogue:

What do you think of that?

More concerning still were the efforts to mitigate the effect of Mr Burley’s choice – which was to play up the effect on Ms Soubry and play down that on Mr Jones – by members of the public. Here’s one such comment:

Owen Jones himself put that comment in its place, in a response to information from Channel 4 News reporter Michael Crick that – as with the BBC – attempted to excise the abuse of Mr Jones from the record:

Left-wing members of the public have made it clear that they are not going to accept this kind of misreporting from the mainstream media:

If you are confused as to the reason television news reporters have tried to play down the targeting of people who represent the Left by people who are for all intents and purposes fascists, I refer you to this perceptive comment by Mr Jones, that makes it clear that the mainstream media have legitimised it:

The attitudes we have seen are sickening: Right-wing MPs have shown they are happy to abuse others before TV cameras in the Palace of Westminster, while decrying the same behaviour against their own by members of the public who were filmed on mobile phones, as their cronies in the mass media do their best to make it seem that they are the victims – when in fact they have stoked the extreme attitudes that lead to such abuse, threatening behaviour and, ultimately, violence.

These are our elected representatives but if this is how they conduct themselves, they do not represent me. We must demand better.

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Lefty journo and Tory MP confronted by wall of gammon. Guess who gets Establishment support

For the record: Owen Jones, pursued by James Goddard – both recording the encounter on their mobile phones, while a policeman watches. The behaviour of these right-wingers is like that of cartoon villains, so I’ve cartoonised this scene.

Some of what follows is very ugly indeed.

The left-wing journalist Owen Jones, together with Conservative MP Anna Soubry and who knows how many others were targeted by right-wing pro-Brexit protesters outside Parliament yesterday (Monday, January 7).

They were wearing yellow vests because they have styled themselves after France’s gilets jaunes, protesters against rising fuel prices and taxes who blocked roads wearing yellow high-vis jackets on November 18 last year, sparking a pan-European movement.

Think about that for a moment. These anti-EU protesters were aping people who are citizens of the very bloc they hate. That should give you an inkling as to their twisted thinking. But it gets worse.

Here’s Mr Jones’s tweeted video clip of his treatment at their hands:

I’ll be honest – sometimes I disagree with Mr Jones’s opinions, but always in the most cordial way and always with reason. Calling him a “tampon”, a “traitor”, and a writer of “fake news” is neither cordial nor reasonable. And take note of the way the chief bully in the crowd called Mr Jones a bully; it’s a classic tactic, accusing a victim of one’s own behaviour.

The principle antagonist in the clip appears to be one James Goddard. You can witness more of his behaviour here:

It seems astonishing that this man retained his liberty after the behaviour in the clip tweeted by Another Angry Voice. If you’ve seen any of the many reality documentaries showing the police on duty, you’ll know that they usually issue a stern warning to members of the public who start exhibiting loud and threatening behaviour to desist, and arrest them if they don’t comply. The racist claim that the officer in the clip isn’t even British would be a chargeable offence, I believe.

There may be a reason he hasn’t been arrested, but it isn’t a very good one. We’ll come to it shortly.

(If I may interject a note of personal pride here, I seem to recall coining the term “Brextremist” on This Site. I am delighted to see that it has fallen into general usage.)

In a further tweet, Mr Jones added: “By the way, the things they’re yelling at me – traitor, terrorism supporter – are all legitimised by the right wing press and politicians. If anything happens to one of us on the left at the hands of these fascists, they will share the blame. Hope that’s clear.”

There’s just one issue with that comment, as Hazel Nolan makes clear:

Have we become so normalised to right-wing rhetoric that this loathsome language, and the behaviour it encourages, is now deemed normal?

The experience of Anna Soubry would suggest otherwise.

The Remain-supporting Tory ventured outside the Palace of Westminster to give an interview on College Green, only to be interrupted by chants of “Soubry is a Nazi”:

Afterwards, Twitter commentator Femi found her surrounded by the same people who had accosted Mr Jones:

Note the way they mistook him for Labour MP David Lammy. Was it because they are both of Afro-Caribbean descent?

Mr Goddard, it seems, followed up these incidents by crowing about them on the social media:

The displays against Ms Soubry and Mr Jones, attracted widespread denunciation from both members of the public and the political classes.

Aislinn M-D, a doctor, tweeted: “Now im no fan of Soubry but the accusation of being a ‘Nazi’ seems to be one of the most flippantly overused and totally disconnected insult from reality. It disgracefully undermines what the Nazis actually did and makes those using it demonstrate total ignorance of history.”

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon stated, “This is appalling – as is footage today of Owen Jones facing a similar experience. We all have a duty to stand against this kind of behaviour. Robust debate is the hallmark of any democracy – but so too is decency, civility and respect for those holding different opinions.”

So why weren’t the perpetrators arrested?

“Citizen of Everywhere”, responding to a similar question from the Mail opinion hack Dan Hodges (with whom, for once, I found myself in agreement), suggested: “They’re trying to provoke an overreaction from the police so they can paint themselves as victims fighting the good fight against an oppressive regime. It’s usually better to mock them than arrest them, but I agree that changes when they cross the line into individual harassment.”

Nick Church also suggested: “The MPs who have legitimized this level of racism and xenophobia and allowed it to become mainstream should be utterly ashamed.”

Sadly, it seems Parliamentarians were only interested in protecting their own when the issue was raised as a point of order in the House of Commons.

Tory Nick Boles asked Speaker John Bercow, “Will you consult the Serjeant at Arms to see whether the Metropolitan police are doing everything they can to protect the public’s right to protest but also to ensure that Members are able to go about their business in total safety?”

Here’s the answer: “The House authorities are not technically responsible for the safety of Members off the estate—that is and remains a matter for the Metropolitan police—but naturally, I take this issue very seriously and so, I am sure, do the police, who have been made well aware of our concerns.

“Reflecting and reinforcing what the hon. Gentleman said about peaceful protest, let me say this. Peaceful protest is a vital democratic freedom, but so is the right of elected Members to go about their business without being threatened or abused, and that includes access to and from the media stands in Abingdon Green. I say no more than that I am concerned at this stage about what seems to be a pattern of protests targeted in particular—I do not say exclusively—at women. Female Members and, I am advised, in a number of cases, female journalists, have been subjected to aggressive protest and what many would regard as harassment.”

It took a further intervention from Labour MP Pat McFadden, asking Mr Bercow “to do everything possible to ensure that journalists and broadcasters can do their job and that Members of this House are free to speak their minds” before the Speaker included all members of the press, including Mr Jones, in his considerations.

Following on from this exchange, more than 50 MPs wrote to Metropolitan police commissioner Cressida Dick, demanding stronger action to protect people who work in Westminster from aggressive far-right protesters.

The letter stated: “After months of peaceful and calm protests by groups representing a range of political views on Brexit, an ugly element of individuals with strong far right and extreme right connections – which your officers are well aware of – have increasingly engaged in intimidatory and potentially criminal acts targeting Members of Parliament, journalists, activists and members of the public.

“We understand there are ongoing investigations but there appears to be an ongoing lack of coordination in the response from the police and appropriate authorities including with Westminster borough policing – and despite clear assurances this would be dealt with following incidents before Christmas – there have been a number of further serious and well publicised incidents today.

“It is… utterly unacceptable for members of parliament, journalists, activists and members of the public to be subject to abuse, intimidation and threatening behaviour and indeed potentially serious offences while they go about their work.”

Would they have taken this step if only Mr Jones had been targeted? I have doubts about that.

He is a divisive figure, and often cannot count on other members of the media for support in matters such as this. Consider his clash with BBC Radio 5 Live presenter Tony Livesay. Mr Jones tweeted: “I went on earlier and the presenter said that by describing these fascists as “knuckle-dragging Tommy Robinson supporters” I was comparable to them. This is what we are dealing with in the British media.”

Mr Livesay responded: “Did I equate it @OwenJones84 ? Or did I say some people might say you’re not elevating the debate.”

In return, Mr Jones stated: “There is no debate to be elevated with fascists screaming abuse. This is beyond a joke.”

It is. I had intended to present an example of the abuse tweeted to Mr Jones by someone using the handle “MidNightLion1”, threatening extreme violence. It has been deleted, but it read: “You will get smashed one day Owen. Someone will beat the life out of you and it will be brilliant to see.”

Mr Jones responded: “Whatever happens to me, we crushed fascism before and we’ll crush fascism all over again.”

“Whatever happens to me”? Nobody should have to contemplate the possibility of serious harm coming to them, simply for expressing opinions – which, in contrast with those of the so-called yellow vest protesters, do not threaten harm to anybody.

As Grace Petrie tweeted: “It is gravely strange that not three years ago an MP was murdered in an act of far-right terrorism and it had no meaningful effect on this country’s discourse.”

That MP was Jo Cox. Her widower Brendan added: “The problem isn’t (just) extremists like this but mainstream commentators who spur them on with talk of traitors, enemies & betrayal. We should be able to debate difficult issues without making out the other side is evil.”

I hope I am not overstepping the mark if I include politicians among the “mainstream commentators who spur them on”, because, as “Red ’til I’m Dead” points out…

Yet when they start threatening people, the Establishment ranks rally around the Tory MP, while the lefty journalist is left to contemplate the possibility of serious physical harm.

Does that seem acceptable to you?

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Gun law in US? Trump protester shot after confrontation on Portland bridge

A protester gestures at police at Portland's Pioneer Square - but it was a member of the public who shot a protester down on Morrison Bridge, Portland.

A protester gestures at police at Portland’s Pioneer Square – but it was a member of the public who shot a protester down on Morrison Bridge, Portland.

Americans who support Donald Trump have started taking the law into their own hands, then.

The shooting of an anti-Trump protester by a member of the public certainly suggests that gun law – rule by those who carry firearms – is back, and the West is once again wild.

Violence in the States is getting worse. The police need to get a grip because there’s no evidence that they’ll get it under control any time soon. What if they can’t?

An anti-Trump protester has been shot after a confrontation with another man as another night of demonstrations against the President-elect took place in US cities.

Police in Portland, Oregon, said [a] man got out of his vehicle on the city’s Morrison Bridge where he confronted and shot the protester.

Dozens of people were crossing the bridge when the shooting happened at 12.45am.

The victim does not have life-threatening injuries but the suspect is still at large, said police.

There has so far been no comment on the reasons behind the shooting.

Source: Trump protester shot after confrontation on Portland bridge

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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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Health Warning: Government! is now available
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The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
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