This Week |
Previous | SchNEWS 132 |
Next | Index | PDF
UP! WAKE UP! IT'S YER STIR CRAZY...
Published in Brighton by Justice?
- Brighton's Direct Action collective
Issue 132, Friday 29th August 1997
Asylum prisoners show their anger
"Campsfield is not a prison, it's a hostel regime"
- Group 4 spokesman
Last week, 200 asylum seekers at the Campsfield detention centre near
Oxford staged a full scale protest which caused an estimated
£100,000 worth of property damage. Several parts of the building
were completely destroyed.
The 13 hour 'riot' began after one
person was removed to a prison without warning, a move campaigners
believe was designed to punish troublemakers. Over a quarter of
detainees were involved in the protest.
More than 100 riot police
were drafted in to the centre to quell the protest and access roads
were blocked to stop campaigners who turned up to offer support.
spokesman from Group 4, the security group that runs the prison,
denied that removal of the asylum seeker to a prison sparked off the
protest. The company couldn't conclude what had created the
"It is not up to us to speculate why it started... it is down to
the Immigration Service to decide who is moved."
An activist from the Campaign to Close Campsfield believed that the
decision was "more likely made by Group 4, and rubber stamped by
the Home Office" - as a way of making their lives easier.
detainees have since been moved to other places "for their own safety"
as a result of the damage.
Asylum seekers are held at Campsfield while they wait for their
cases to be resolved, which means in most cases until they are
deported back to the hellholes they fled from. It is run like a
prison and surrounded by a razor wire perimeter fence. A spokesman
from Group 4 told SchNEWS that, "the fence is just as much there
to protect the inmates from people outside"!
Since Michael Howard's immigration reforms, asylum seekers are
detained in 'secure institutions', and are not eligible to receive
benefit while they wait for their claim for asylum to be heard. Any
employer found hiring a refugee without a work permit is liable to a
They have been charged with no crime,
but are detained as if they were criminals, often without access to
their families or legal representation. So who are these refugees?
Just people, who come to this country seeking refuge from military
regimes and political persecution. People who have left behind their
lives, and often their families, in Nigeria, Russia, Romania, Algeria,
Somalia - to name a few. They seek refuge in a country completely
alien to them, often in a traumatised and confused state.
The average length of wait at Campsfield for asylum
seekers is 4 to 8 months, and this is steadily increasing. The number
of people waiting is also going up. A recent inter-departmental study
of the asylum problem admitted "the backlog of more than 52,000
people awaiting processing of their applications is unacceptably
- 52,000 people awaiting asylum decision
- 1,295 asylum seekers granted UK entry (1996)
- 750 refugees placed in detention centres each year
"Before the new administration meddles in human rights issues
abroad, it should take a look at what's going on here."
- Letter to the Guardian
But where are the practical plans by our nice new Home Secretary to
deal with the applicants more quickly, and grant more people asylum?
Despite claims by New Labour that they are "putting human
rights at the centre of foreign policy", they aren't making it
any easier for those fleeing persecution to claim asylum.
An asylum activist told SchNEWS, "It takes a riot to get their
attention. There's no sign of anything positive in the new
government; the law hasn't changed, and there's no commitment to stop
This is the third protest at Campsfield this year, and was by far
the biggest. Police are now considering whether to bring criminal
charges against protesters.
- Vigils and demos are held on each Saturday at noon. Meet by the
camp gates, Campsfield, Langford Lane, Kidlington, 6 miles North of
Oxford. Ring 01865 558145 for more details.
- Sans Papiers - The new French movement of asylum
seekers and immigrants without papers - have published "A Woman Draws
The First Lessons", by Madjiguene Cisse £2 available from
Crossroads Books, PO Box 287, NW6 5QU. 0171 482 2496.
Saturday saw the launch of 100 Days of Action against the oil
industry. That's 100 days until the Kyoto climate summit (see SchNEWS 131), follow up to Rio, when
world leaders will get together to decide to do nothing much about the
climate change and environmental destruction caused by fossil
fuels. Over 40 BP garages across the country were targetted on
Saturday and more actions will follow in the coming weeks, including
on 23-24 Sept "The Future of the UK Oil and Gas Industry" Conference
at the Mount Royal Hotel, London W1. All your favourite oil industry
bosses will be in one place at one time. Watch this space for more
info or Corporate Watch: 01865 791391. To get involved in the 100 Days
call Jim on 0171 865 8234, email email@example.com or write:
100 Days c/o Corporate Watch, Box E, 111 Magdalen Rd. Oxford OX4 1RQ
The planned action to close down Ashton Court quarry this week proved
incredibly easy. Around fifty, mainly local, activists arrived at the
site of the quarry near Bristol early Tuesday morning. The entrance
to the quarry had been blockaded by a tripod, the handful of police
and security put up little opposition to those who entered the site.
Unfortunately (!?) the eager digger-divers were unable to stop work as
some spoilsports had, allegedly, entered the site the previous day and
"tampered" with machinery. The site is expected to be "closed for
repairs" for some time.
3rd Sept 7:45 at Cinematique, 9-12 Middle St., Brighton 01273
384300. £3/2 conc. tickets from the Peace Centre, Gardner
St. Including films on Economic Sabotage, Global Warming, The
Holtsfield Community, CS Spray, Street News and Much Much Much
More. Undercurrents 7 now available £9.95 (student or UB40) or
£12.95 (waged) from 16b Cherwell Street, Oxford, OX4 1BG. 01865
603663. You can also order it from their website: http://www.undercurrents.org
The trial of the editors of Green Anarchist started this week with
over 40 people demonstrating outside Portsmouth Crown Court,
protesting against state oppression and attacks on the free speech of
those reporting animal and earth abuse. There was also a cycle
blockade outside the local Police station, and leaflets advertising
the trial were distributed. During the first day the defence were not
allowed into court, while the judge and prosecution decided what
information to censor with Public Interest Immunity Certificates. The
judge, David Selwood, conceded in the first day that 2 people whom the
defence suspect of having MI5 links (Tim Hepple and Tim Hall) do
indeed have MI5 files, and that the branch of MI5 that dealt with
Green activists folded 2 years ago, and passed its files on to Special
Branch, who deal with the Animal Rights National Index (strangely this
was around the same time that the original operation by Special Branch
against Green Anarchist began!).
A troublesome jury selection was completed on Thursday: The defence
wanted to exclude jurors with connections to roadbuilding, animal
abuse or the military, while the prosecution wanted to exclude anyone
who opposes the above-mentioned evildoers. The result of these
objections is that the original pool of 45 potential jurors has been
reduced to 14, ie 12 jurors and 2 reserves, and more may yet drop out.
Judge Selwood, perhaps not incidentally, has spent almost his entire
career as a judge in military courts, and still holds the rank of
Major-General. Another rather ominous sign is that Det. Supt. Desmond
Thomas, the officer commanding the Special Branch operation against
GA, was spotted giving Masonic signals from the witness box. Nice to
know British courts are as impartial as ever.
For more info contact the GANDALF Defendants Campaign, PO Box 66,
Stevenage SG1 2TR, or Green Anarchist, BM 1715, London WC1N 3XX
To mark the anniversary of the granting of the main contract at
Newbury the Third Battle of Newbury are org anising a "Bicycles and
Bipeds" action. Meet 12 noon on 6th September 1997 at Newbury Railway
station, bring bikes if possible, although this is not essential. For
those who want to go there will be a camping space provided for up to
two days, but bring a tent. Contact Jim: 0468 505 344 or Third Battle
on 01635 45545 http://www.gn.apc.org/newbury
- Help! The Lifespan community - based in the
Pennines for the past 20 years is going down the drain. The place is
vested as a community-in- perpetuity for community living but only one
person is now there! A large number of people needed to go in pronto
and rebuild to secure continuation of this valuable space. Contact
Lifespan, Townhead, Dunford Bridge, Nr. Holmfirth, S30 6TG
- Corporate Watch and the New Internationalist are hosting an
Alternative Media Conference in Oxford 5-7
Sept. 01865 791391
- Join The Great Millennium Peace Ride! 500
cyclists from around the world will be pedalling for peace starting
from Vancouver, Canada in August 1998 and ending in Hiroshima, Japan
on New Years Eve, 2000. For more info or to help or join the ride
contact "Threading the World" c/o Andrea Siegl, Brockmanngasse 50-
111, A-8010 Graz, Austria. Phone/fax (43) 316 833 633. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- As of this week, ephedrine, yehembe and khat, and all herbal
highs containing these substances are to be outlawed. The sellers of
these harmful and damning substances will be arrested
and up to a 2 year sentence could be slapped on their foreheads
- A Boycott of Argos has been launched in
solidarity with the Liverpool Dockers. The firm continues to use the
Merseyside port to ship goods to Ireland. Info: Liverpool Docks Shop
Steward Committee c/o 19 Scortop St. Liverpool L6 4AS
- The Shoreham Five, convicted of Conspiracy to
commit criminal damage have been granted leave to appeal. 01342 811377
- Worried by SchNEWS's paranoia-inducing coverage of genetic
engineering of yer foodstuffs, but still don't know exactly how to
avoid it? Well, there's a big public meeting entitled "How
Safe Is Your Food?" at the Unitarian Church, New Rd.,
Brighton Thurs. 4th Sept. 7.30 pm which will set you straight and make
you weep, courtesy of Brighton Genetic Engineering Network.
We highlighted the
upcoming national demo for this Sunday a couple of weeks back- 12 noon
outside the farm in Child Okeford near Blandford, Dorset- but if you
want to hear the speaker from Respect For Animals then meet outside
Tesco's in Blandford 11.15-11.45 am for a pre-demo warm-up.
Due to the ever
increasing subscribers (683 to date) and a lack of regular help in
Brighton to help post it out every week, we, the massively overworked
and incredibly pissed off mailout 'few' are sorry to make this
announcement: AS FROM THIS ISSUE SCHNEWS CAN ONLY BE SENT OUT TWO
AT A TIME, FORTNIGHTLY (weekly if you reproduce). If you have
access to email and currently subscribe please
switch. If you can photocopy and distribute let us know and by all
means do it! Brighton People: Are
you able to dedicate an afternoon (Fri or Mon) on a regular-ish basis
RING THE OFFICE. It's a laugh if there's many participants, a
nightmare if there's one or two... Make new friends - make the effort!
That's the bottom line!
Barry Horne, veteran animal rights campaigner,
has now been on hunger strike for 19 days, following a Labour U
turn. Last Dec, Elliot Morley, the GovÆt spokesperson for animal
welfare promised a Royal Commission to look into the necessity of
animal experimentation. The Gov't has done nothing since the election
and Barry is on his 2nd hunger strike in protest. Details: London
Animal Action: 0171 278 3068 or letters of support to: Barry Horne VC
2141, HMP Bristol, Cambridge Road, Hornfield, Bristol BS7 8PS
Mark Gillan was involved in the Risley prison
riot in '89 and more recently the Full Sutton prison disturbance at
the end of Jan. As a consequence he was beaten up at Swaleside last
week, then moved to Lewes prison. Write letters of support to: Mark
Gillan, HMP Lewes, Brighton Rd. Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 1EA
The Prisoners Families and Friends Service, and the Federation of
Prisoners: Family Support Group both exist to provide a support
service. Write to them at: Prisoners Families and Friends Service, 20
Trinity St, London SE1 1DB; Federation of Prisoners: Family Support
Group, c/o Save The Children Fund, Cambridge House, Cambridge Grove,
London W6 0LE
Hey, did any SchNEWS readers spot irritating Tory chief git William
Hague at the Notting Hill Carnival? I hope he wasn't near any of those
soundsystems playing "music characterised by a series of loud and
repetitive beats" - you know the music his government made illegal
under the CJA? And I hope he was wasn't standing next to groups of
black people - 'cos as former Tory MP Terry Dicks once said when they
all get together it leads to "street crime and all kinds of
vice-related crime." And what about his government's Immigration and
Asylum Act clamping down on those fraudsters who pretend they've been
tortured so they can live here and sponge off our welfare state? (cue
The foul mouthed fuzz of Fulham and Brompton are raising money... by
swearing! The West London boys in blue turned the air blue by raising
£1,500 in two weeks (!) by putting a quid a cuss in the station
swear box. The shining example of the plods filthy stream of gutter
language has inspired 'effin and blindin' SchNEWS scribes to
completely fund the SchNEWS from a swear box in the office... anything
you can do, we can do better!
The SchNEWS warns all readers not to seek refuge in Britain from oppressive
uniformed thugs. We have far too many of them here. Never stay at holiday camps
with inordinately high fences, or else you may get a hi-de-hiding. Always stay within
the walls. Then you will be happy campers. Honest.
The bottom line this week is: it takes 4-6 people 4 hours to do the mailout. 'nuff said.
Subscribe to SchNEWS:
Just send 1st class stamps or donations (cheques payable to
"Justice?"). Or £15 for a year's
subscription, or the SchNEWS supporter's rate, £1 a week. Ask for
"original" if you can make copies. SchNEWS is post-free to
prisoners. You can also pick SchNEWS up at the Brighton Peace and
Environment Centre at 43 Gardner Street, Brighton, or
subscribe to SchNEWS by email.
SchNEWS, PO Box 2600, Brighton, BN2 2DX, England
Phone/Fax (call before faxing): 01273 685913
Last updated 29 August 1997
@nti copyright - information for action - copy and distribute!
SchNEWS Web Team