| Issue 53
WAKE UP! WAKE UP! IT'S
RAJA KHAN, DENNIS STEVENS,
BRIAN AUGUSTINE, KENNETH SEVERIN, WAYNE DOUGLAS, ALTON MANNING -
6 BLACK DEATHS IN CUSTODY SINCE OCTOBER
Brixton erupted into
riots on Wednesday night as a demonstration against another black
death in police custody was attacked by police. As we go to press
our correspondent in Brixton describes the atmosphere as "still
very tense and very angry". Heavily tooled-up police - some
with guns - are continuing to maintain a heavy presence on the streets
of Brixton, furious at this outburst of anger at police racism against
black people in custody - and on the streets.
The flame that sparked
the rioting was a demonstration protesting about the death of Wayne
Douglas - found dead in Brixton police station half an hour after
being arrested during a burglary. Police used long batons 'to protect
themselves' against Wayne - not the first time the use of long batons
have led to death. In an incident showing "an uncanny coincidence",
Bryan Douglas was killed by long batons in May of this year. Operation
Eagle-Eye has meant that stop and search is so widespread that one
black man commented "It's like cleaning your teeth, it happens
The amount of black people
dying in custody has risen dramatically over the last three months.
In October Raja Khan was found hanging in Mount Prison, Dennis Stevens
was 'found dead' in a 'special cell' at Dartmoor Prison wearing
a restraining body belt and Brian Augustine was found hanging in
Pentonville Prison. November saw Kenneth Severin dead on the medical
wing at Belmarsh Prison. On 5th December Wayne Douglas was found
dead in a Brixton Police station and on the following day Alton
Manning was found dead in Redditch (privatised) Prison.
Since 1991 a total of
42 black people have died in custody compared with 75 for the previous
21 years. According to Jenny Bourne of the Institute of Race Relations,
"Families are repeatedly complaining about unexplained bruising
on the body of their deceased relatives and the lack of cooperation
when they try to find out how someone died".
from Brixton say the police presence at the demonstration was "Incredibly
heavy-handed". Laura, a resident of Brixton for seven years,
told SchNEWS, "Local people are not only pissed off with the
death of Wayne Douglas but the whole gentrification of Brixton.
Council houses and houses occupied by squatters are being sold off
and local pubs like the Atlantic, traditionally run by black people,
was opened last week by yuppies as 'The Dog Star'. In anger this
was smashed, looted and burnt out. The £33 million City Challenge
development including CCTV is only of benefit to big business not
Joyce, another local
resident told us, "People were putting up barricades. There
were hundreds of people involved, mostly young black and white people
and they were local, they weren't outsiders. This was a combination
of black people dying in police custody and the way Brixton is at
the moment. The place is being yuppified with City Challenge while
unemployed centres, adventure playgrounds and libraries are getting
As usual, Paul Condon,
chief of the Met, blamed a "Small minority of thugs and criminals"
for the rioting - refusing to acknowledge the reality of widespread
disgust at police racism. In fact, the only 'outside agitators'
and 'small minority of thugs and criminals' roaming the streets
of Brixton on Wednesday night were Paul Condon's employees, the
police. As one eye witness told the SchNEWS, "The people involved
were mainly young - black and white - and local. It's hardly surprising.
Youth unemployment in Brixton is enormous and the police just hassle
you all the time, especially if you're black. This was people saying
* Meanwhile in north
London, riot police illegally and violently evicted homeless people
occupying the Greenwood Housing Action Zone next to the Rainbow
Centre on Wednesday morning. The cops initially broke into the wrong
building, a learning difficulties centre next door More info next
week. Support is wanted - phone 0181 444 2581 or 0378 636254.
of the week
A woman with bail
conditions banning her from a quarter of a mile radius of
Dover docks organised a Children in Need sponsored bail break
was nicked. Dressed as a panto horse they arrived at the docks
where police asked them to "disrobe." Taking no
notice she was nicked with her bail ban expanded to three
18, was unlucky enough to be arrested for criminal damage
while he was under arrested for biting the handcuffs he was
wearing because they were hurting him! Michael was fined £56
at Tewkesbury Magistrate Court - that'll teach him to bite
the hand that 'cuffs him.
I am coming to the end
of my sentence and due for release on 27th December. I just want
to thank everybody at SchNEWS for your constant support throughout
this 6 month long bad trip. It was lovely receiving the beautiful
card that you sent me back in July with all the messages of support
- it cheered me up when I was really down.
I've had unbelievable
support thanks to you putting my name out in your excellent newsletter.
It helped me to get through this traumatic experience.
Keep up the good work,
I have so much respect for your hard work and dedication. Thank
you again, love Mark**********
Yeah, we know most of
you will think Christmas is crap but please send some cards to prisoners
to let them know they're not forgotten. It means a lot.**********
PB1864 18 months for alleged damage to a road construction site
Stanford Prison, Church Rd., East Church, Sheerness, Kent, ME12
FH1875 affray at the CJB Hyde Park riot HMP Brixton. Jebb Ave.,
Brixton, London, SW2 5XF.
RN0599, SANJIV KARIA RN0598, RUSSELL WILD RN097, PAUL
GAY RN0593, GARY HAYNES RN0591, MARK GAY RN0594
all residing at HMP Elmley, Church Rd., East Church, Sheerness,
Kent, ME12 4AY.
JOHN MCFEELY (H
Wing, RN0596) HMP Lindholme, Bawtry Road, Hatfield Woodhouse, Doncaster,
STEVEN KEELY (RN0318)
CHARLES RYDER (RN0595) HMP Aldington, Ashford, Kent, TN25
7BQ. All inside after being stitched up for the anti-BNP Welling
demonstration. REMEMBER: Write to a prisoner - not your M.P.
- information for action - photocopy! distribute! contribute!
Labelled as "one
of the most bizarre conferences held in Brighton" last weekend
saw the doors of the old Top Rank Bingo Hall flung open for a Justice?
organised National Direct Action Conference. Nearly 600 people (CCTV
provided police estimates!) schemed, swapped ideas and watched Conscious
Cinema as bemused Christmas shoppers trundled by outside.
Opening the conference,
Colin from Justice? explained that throughout the world millions
of people, mainly poor, were involved in direct action against environmental
destruction and attacks on people's rights. Those involved in direct
action in Britain are part of a worldwide movement for the planet's
future - from Whatley Quarry to Ogoniland, from France to Newbury.
Given that a third of people in Britain live in poverty and are
offered nothing by a corrupt parliamentary system the direct action
movement could grow enormously if it builds more links with those
most under attack - unemployed youth, people living in run-down
estates, refugees - in their struggles against injustice. Then we
could really shake things up for the politicians who are quite happy
to see poverty grow, our rights diminish and the world destroyed
as long as big business keeps making big profits.
The conference organised
workshops on dealing with the media, Non Violent Direct Action,
prisoner support, road protests and loads more. Most important of
all, people got to talk to others from around the country, plot
actions for the coming year and learn how to organise more effectively.
Following on from the day and continuing in the great tradition
of party and protest the former theatre saw 2,000 people partying
until 10 o'clock on Sunday morning.
in Saturday's Conference and party did it for free. There was security,
fire extinguishers, clear fire exits and free water. For a small
donation everyone had a storming party that went on all night".
After people spent all
day Sunday cleaning, leaving the Bingo Hall better than we found
it, it was infuriating to find the Argus printing a picture proclaiming
"The message and the mess: the aftermath of the Justice? Conference".
We replied "The photograph was like going to the Goldstone
ground after a big match, taking a snap of empty terraces and saying
"Look - people have dropped litter" before anyone could
clear up! And graffiti? Well, I'm sure the children who did some
rather nice artwork in the crèche, wouldn't be too happy
with that description."
The fact that a squat
as well-run and enjoyable for thousands as the Justice? conference
was can be attacked by the press doesn't surprise us - the mainstream
media usually lines up with the politicians (CJA) and the police
(evictions) in attacking people who take over empty buildings and
put them to good use. If you want proof of the hypocrisy of it all
just keep an eye out over the next week or so for those very same
papers crying crocodile tears over the plight of the homeless at
Christmas - while quite happily putting the boot into anyone who
actually does anything to sort out homelessness by squatting properties
let to rot by tax-dodging businesses.
Radio is our bomb
"You keep banging
on about dirty squatters - what about obscene landlords who leave
buildings to rot?"
In Brighton squatters have started feeling the full force of the
new laws. After recent reports of the Nunnery squat and a Grade
One listed Church being trashed by a party, the local paper has
been printing inaccurate and bigoted attacks on squatters. Squatting
is really about - people tatting unused buildings and turning them
into useful places where people can organise constructively in the
face of a society that doesn't give a toss about homelessness or
the lives of most people.
saw fit to evict eight of us from Richmond Parade, a row of shops
that have been empty for nearly three years. The court summons came,
an affidavit was sworn and despite the occupiers showing that Brighton
Council could not even prove they owned the place the council got
their way. The occupiers were granted a "mercy" period
of three weeks whilst they looked for somewhere else to go and whilst
no one likes to be evicted it was felt that some small victory had
been achieved. This was not to be. One week later a 24 hour eviction
The list of properties
occupied by squatters, evicted then left empty is long. Justice?'s
first community action centre, the Courthouse, a Grade II listed
building with water pouring thru the roof, is still home to one
security guard and a dog. Empty for over a year now it will soon
be in such a mess it will have to be knocked down and a tidy packet
made by greedy developers. Brighton Councils' old Housing Advice
Centre stands empty seven months on since eviction. Even the Bingo
hall, which according to Group 4 is costing £5,000 a week
to be kept empty, has water leaking thru the roof.
According to figures
released from the Empty Homes Agency last month there are around
700,000 empty properties in the country. Since April there have
been a thousand repossessions a week! The worst landlord is HM Government
with 17,000 empty properties, mainly Ministry of Defence. "Filling
the MoD 300 empty homes in Plymouth could solve homelessness in
the town at a stroke."
Meanwhile the Living
Over the Shop housing consultancy in York estimates that half a
million new homes could be created on the empty floors above shops
- 250,000 in London alone.
Paul, a squatter told
SchNEWS: "Shelter estimate there are a staggering 1.9 million
people homeless. With so many empty properties lying empty today
the quick and easy DiY solution is to squat."
The new anti-squatting
laws in the Criminal Justice Act are making things a lot harder.
If you walked into a court today you might come across a little
leaflet "Squatters - A Quick and Easy Solution" But despite
the hassles, squatting is still legal. If you are faced with eviction
DON'T PANIC and DON'T admit defeat. The new laws can create as much
hassle for the landlords as they try and make it for you. Here are
some organisations that can help:
SchLETS , a non-comprehensive list of empty properties in Brighton
Project (HIP) lots of good info on the new law as well as organising
regular events 0171 277 7639
Advisory Service for
Squatters excellent people on the case giving advice about legal
and practical aspects of squatting. They have a new Squatters
Handbook out soon. 0171 359 8814
PLEASE NOTE NEW WEB ADDRESS:
Web site: http://www.cbuzz.co.uk
This is a blagging plea:
We know people are skint which is why everything we do is free or
as cheap as possible. But people with attitudes thinking we owe
them something piss us right off. Three banners went walking on
Saturday night, banners people have spent a lot of time and money
making so the parties look the part. Look, we're all in the same
boat - wise up and stop nicking off yer own. What with the huge
Bob banner that was nicked from outside the Courthouse and the SchNEWS
one gone missing at the Concorde we're offering a banner amnesty
- drop 'em off at the New Ken, no questions. And please think a
bit more next time.
Because of donations
raised on Saturday Justice? can now buy a vehicle. Hurray!
warns all readers not to attend any illegal gatherings or take part
in any criminal activities. Always stay within the law. In fact
please just sit in, watch tv and go on endless Xmas shopping sprees
filling your house and lives with endless consumer crap... you will
then feel content. Honest.
Keep SchNEWS free! Just send 1st class stamps (eg 20 for next 20
issues) or donations (payable to Justice?). Mark 'Original' if you
plan to copy: SchNEWS c/o on-the-fiddle PO Box 2600 Brighton East
Sussex BN2 2DX. Tel: (01273) 685913.
NEXT SchMEETING for SchNEWS
@ Subcafe @ 6pm every Tuesday
SchNEWS Is Free to Prisoners
- Just send us your address
Milli-tant striking out
for Magpies - finishing early