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(en) Britain, Anarchist Federation - Anarchists Detained by Counter-Terrorist Police on Return from Swiss Conference (de, fr, ca)*
Sat, 18 Aug 2012 13:25:13 +0300
For the past week, thousands of anarchists from across Europe have been converging in
St.Imier, Switzerland to celebrate the 140th anniversary of the founding of the Anarchist
international. The gathering took the form of a festival and educational, with music,
films and entertainment as well as workshops and discussions. ---- On returning from the
St Imier gathering, two anarchists, one a member of the UK Anarchist Federation, were
detained for nearly two hours at Heathrow by SO15 (counter-terrorist) police. During the
detention, the anarchists were told that their normal rights did not apply, and had their
names, addresses, email addresses, DNA and fingerprints taken. The detained anarchists
were also forced to sign forms – which may or may not be legal – waiving their rights to
silence and a solicitor. Police also conducted a thorough search of personal possessions,
photocopied literature and passports and took information from phones and cameras.
During the detention, the police constantly accused the anarchists of lying about
involvement in criminal activity and alleged that they would be conducting follow-up
police action against one of the detained anarchists. In addition to this, SO15 officers
asked a number of inflammatory, irrelevant and offensive questions, including ‘what would
you do if someone raped your mother?’ evidently in an attempt to cause emotional upset and
illicit angry or violent responses. One member (28) who did not want to be named for fear
of reprisals from the police, said "We were treated like criminals. I told them I went to
the congress as I am an amateur journalist and I write articles about activism. They saw
my note book, camera and Dictaphone but they said I was lying. One officer said 'You said
you are an anarchist, I've seen anarchists on the news, they are violent, throw molotov
cocktails and disrupt people’s lives not write articles'".
The counter terrorist officers either didn't know or chose to ignore that, during the
first day of the gathering, the International of Anarchist Federations (Of which the UK
Anarchist Federation is a member) had issued a statement rejecting all terrorist tactics
as a means of achieving an anarchist society.
In contrast to the actions of the UK security forces, the local press and residents in St.
Imier reported very positively on the anarchist gathering.
With this incident, we are seeing a further slide towards political policing and the
criminalisation of political ideologies. The two detained anarchists have not had any
involvement in any illegal or violent activity, or any activity that would concern the
counter-terrorist police. As in the past, when Metropolitan police called on people to
give information about local anarchists ( Anarchists should be reported, advises
Westminster anti-terror police | UK news | The Guardian ), anarchists suffered harassment
for their political viewpoint.
As class-struggle anarchists, we believe that the state does little except serve the
interests of the rich and powerful at the expense of ordinary people. This is seen clearly
when people who hold views critical of the state are treated as criminals and terrorists.
We seek to create a classless society, based on freedom, equality and co-operation. We
believe in the capacity of ordinary people to run society themselves, without the
interference of bosses or politicians. This incident was not in response to any crime and
constitutes repression and criminalisation of a political ideology.
Anarchism is a political philosophy that seeks to build an egalitarian society in which
mutual aid, co-operation and direct democracy replace capitalism and the state.
The St Imier Congress was a gathering of anarchists from all over the world to celebrate
the 140th anniversary of the first international anarchist gathering in the Swiss town of
St Imier in 1872.
The Anarchist Federation is a federation of class struggle anarchist-communists in the UK
who seek to build an egalitarian society.
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