Supporters of 90 anti-war protesters arrested at demonstrations and actions against the Gaza war over 2008/9 are calling for solidarity as the number of people jailed reaches double figures and 62 more face heavy sentences.
The Israeli bombardment of Gaza of December 27th 2008 to January 18th 2009 provoked passionate protests across the UK.
The familiar mass demos of the anti-war movement were supplemented by large spontaneous break-away demos and a wave of university occupations. The police used indiscriminate baton charges, kettles and heavy surveillance in an effort to impose their control on the movement.
In the months that followed, these tactics began to take a less visible form, with police carrying out numerous dawn raids. A total of 93 people have been arrested and 72 charged. Some of these were denied communication with their solicitors and allegedly subjected to physical and psychological abuse.
Most of the arrested were young Asians below the age of 19, with some as young as 12 years old. Almost all have now been charged with “violent disorder” and ten people have already been jailed for between 15 months and three years.
Many of those arrested have not received adequate legal advice and have been approached by police officers outside court with threats to revoke their immigration status under Section 62 of the Immigration Act (loss of benefit for breach of community order).
In this climate of intimidation and isolation 50 people have pleaded guilty and are due to be sentenced, starting from the 12th February at Isleworth Crown Court. Judge Denniss, who has taken on all the cases, has referred to the notoriously heavy sentences given out after the Bradford riots.
Supporters of the detainees said: "These are the actions of a police state. Solidarity is urgently needed."
For more information visit the No More Isolation blog or email: nomoreisolation (at) yahoo.com.