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(en) Nederlands, G8 summit/Utrecht(NL): last bicycle caravanist* finally released after over 48 hours of arrest

Date Wed, 09 May 2007 10:06:24 +0300


After a surprising and completely unwarrented arrest of around 100 bicycle activists and members of the "Gr8chaoskaravaan" western european anti G8 bike caravan on Saturday the last arrestee was finally release last night. Arrestees report of police violence and ill arrest conditions. Legal consequences for both activists and police. --- Last night the last of the 100 anti G8 bicycle activists who were arrested in Utrecht (Netherlands) on Saturday was finally released after 48 hours in jail. In what was obviously a prepared police operation, participants of the bicycle caravan and supporters were arrested on Saturday while trying to leave the city. The cylists where surprised when without prior warning a special unit and horseback (beritten) police suddenly charged the bicycle ride with battons drawn, one police van even driving right into the riders and hitting one bicycle. The police then proceeded to arrest all members on the pretext of not using the bicycle path. Bicycles were confiscated and removed with many being damaged and locks broken. Demonstrators later reported that police used disproportional violence during the arrests.

Ill treatment continued during the arrest. For several hours the
demonstrators were detained in overcrowded cells - 25 people in a 4x4 m
cell - where they suffered from anoxia caused by lacking ventilation and
were deprived of food. While the first demonstrators were released
during the night, a growing number of reports about police intimidation
came in. "They told us that what they had done today was tolerant
compared to what they would do if we continued to carry out the actions
we had planned" says Antje, a caravan participant.

The arrests were as surprising for the international member sof the
caravan as they were for the dutch activists. "It was a very unusual
police action for dutch circumstances" said Antje, dutch activist and
caravan member. "I have been doing bicycle actions for years and can't
remember something like this happening." Andree Narres from the info
office of the bicycle caravans is outraged: "I can't find any other
plausible explanation than politics and police doing what they can to
prevent, harass and criminalise all protests even ahead of the G8
summit." According to him the action may have been planned to make the
bicycle caravans entry into Germany harder. "The police didn't charge
the cyclists with the mere regulatory offence of not using the bicycle
path but of not obeying police orders, an offense that leads to a court
hearing."

"We won't let them intimidate us", said Antje. Indeed several released
members of the caravan participated in the actions that had been planned
together with local activists for Sunday despite of the night-long and
cumbersome arrests. In nearby Zeist, around 60 people participated in an
antiracist inspection of a deportation camp and in Utrecht 50 people
gathered infront of the police headquarters for a loud protest
demonstration. However, the caravan was unable to maintain its original
schedule and thus, the political groups in Nijmwegen, who had planned to
start their Anti-G8 action days together with the caravan had to do so
alone. On monday, a part of the caravan arrived in Nijmwegen and joined
local activists for a number of bicycle actions. After the release of
the last arrestee, the remaining caravan members who had stayed in
Utrecht to support the prisoners drove to Nijmwegen from where the
caravan will leave today.

Not only the arrestees will face legal consequences because of Saturdays
events in Utrecht. The legal team Utrecht together with many victims of
the police action wants to hold the police responsible for
indiscriminate use of violence and illegal arrest conditions. Also, the
police faces charges of damaging property for damaging bicycles and
breaking locks.

Further material:
Video of Saturdays events in Utrecht:
http://www.indymedia.nl/nl/2007/05/44359.shtml

Reports about Monday 7th bicycle action in Nijmwegen:
http://dissentnetzwerk.org/wiki/Bicycle-Caravan_%22West%22:reports:2007-05-07

Gr8chaoskaravaan reports and infos:
http://dissentnetzwerk.org/wiki/Bicycle-Caravan_%22West%22

caravan-info-office
G8-Protestzentrum
Ehm-Welk-Schule
Knut Rassmussenstr. 108
18106 Rostock
Tel. 0049-176-28879588
================================
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