On June 1st 1985, a convoy of new travellers, peace protestors, green activists and festival-goers set off from Savernake Forest in Wiltshire to establish the 12th annual free festival at Stonehenge. There were around 450 people in total, and they included a number of women and children. They never reached their destination. Eight miles from the Stones they were ambushed, assaulted and arrested with unprecedented brutality by a quasi-military police force.
This week marks the 40th anniversary of 'bloody sunday', when during a civil rights march in Derry, British soldiers opened fire on demonstrators killing thirteen people. Here is the acclaimed 2002 dramatisation of events, starring James Nesbitt. I have not attempted to discuss the events of the day as I could not possibly do them justice. However, if anyone knows of any good texts, please post them.
A chronological account of the anti-poll tax demonstration on 31st March 1990, one that contrasts disturbingly with the version presented by television news. Eyewitnesses tell their stories against a backdrop of the day's events as they unfold. Demonstrators' testimonies raise some questions about public order policing, the independence and accountability of the media and the right to demonstrate. Evidence clearly shows elements within the police provoking the riot.
The UK prison population has reached yet another record high, and many of the issues that led to the Strangeway's riot of 1990 are back on the rise. The prison system is a thoroughly discredited institution that brutalises people, and makes them career criminals, and social outcasts. If you are under 25, an ethnic minority, and poor, you had better watch out, or you may find yourself in the 'big house'.