11th June: International Actions in Solidarity with Long-Term Anarchist Prisoners

Submitted by R Totale on June 23, 2021

Each year Anarchist Prisoners are remembered on 11th June as part of an international day of solidarity with Long-Term Anarchist Prisoners. Each year, events take place in different countries, such at online talks, workshops on letter writing to public banner drops.

These events are used to help highlight the continuing incarceration of anarchist activists. From the beginning, a number of different anarchist and prison abolitionist groups have taken part. Solidarity actions have taken place to mark 11th June in Ireland, in both Derry and Belfast, that included members of Incarcerated Workers Organising Committee (IWOC), Derry Anarchists, Industrial Workers of the World, Migrant and Ethnic-minorities for Reproductive Justice, Anarchist Black Cross, Organise and Belfast Anarchists.

At this actions, a statement from miscarriage of justice prisoner and anarchist, John Paul Wootton was read out. John Paul, who is a member of the Craigavon Two, was wrongfully imprisoned with Brendan McConville on the 30th March 2012 in a Diplock Court following the killing of Constable Steven Carroll, back in March 2009. Carroll was fatally shot in Craigavon.

Both innocent men, Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton, were wrongfully convicted of the shooting and sentenced to spend the rest of their lives in prison for a crime they did not commit. In Belfast and Derry, a number of banner-drops took place this evening to mark the occasion highlighting the continuing incarceration of anarchist prisoners as well as the ongoing campaign for the immediate release of the Craigavon Two by their family and friends.

A spokesperson for the Incarcerated Workers Organising Committee, who helped organise todays events, commented following today’s actions that “it is vital that we actively participate in international actions such as today’s events in Derry and Belfast. It is vital that each of us to help draw attention to the treatment of incarcerated workers currently held within the prison system, North and South. It is important that we make sure that they are not forgotten, they are supported and encouraged to organise against ill-treatment.

“The issue of the continuing incarceration of Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton by the state must never be far from our lips when we talk of injustice here in Ireland or elsewhere. This miscarriage of justice has to be called out for what it is by everyone. Every community or political group, every trade union and human rights organisation, all those who genuinely seek human rights and social justice for all. We demand they too raise the concerns of the Wootton and McConville families and help demand an immediate end to this wrongful imprisonment.”

A spokesperson for the Anarchist Black Cross said “We are here to help echo the international call on 11th June as today in many countries throughout the world, anarchist and class struggle prisoners are joining with us in solidarity. Likewise we must never allow anarchist prisoners to be forgotten or isolated by the state, which is why our work is one of solidarity and mutual aid with those on the inside.

“We feel it’s important to help raise awareness of those held the prison system, to also educate and involve community collaboration. Even small acts of solidarity, such as letter-writing, which everyone can do to help reduce prisoner isolation and improve or draw attention to their conditions. Solidarity acts like today’s events are another way to highlight the ongoing imprisonment of comrades or of raising awareness about campaigns such as the Craigavon Two.”