Calls for solidarity with Gaza protestors facing imprisonment

UPDATE: a demo outside the next court hearing will take place on FRIDAY 26th March at 9am. See this page for more details.

A new support group has been set up for the protestors facing a legal crackdown for their part in last year’s London demonstrations against the Israeli massacres in Gaza. Below is an extract from their website: There is more coverage on SchNEWS and Indymedia, and Seamus Milne wrote a column about this on the Guardian’s Comment is Free website.


On Friday 19th February, Judge Denniss delivered a further 6 custodial sentences at Isleworth Crown Court, bringing total convictions for Gaza protesters up to 16. All of these sentences are for “violent disorder”, and mostly for relatively minor acts, such as throwing placards at fully armoured riot police. One defendent received a suspended sentence, due to a long history of mental illness, Sentencing starts at 2 years for all adult guilty pleas, and ranged from 12 months to 2 years, after mitigation. Defendants under 18 at time of offence have received between 8 and 12 month long Detention and Training Orders, (DTO), a sentence of imprisonment and community supervision.

On Friday 12th February, the 7 people convicted were between 17 and 25 years old and will serve between 15 months and 2 1/2 years. In January, 3 people received sentences for violent disorder, ranging from 15 to 20 months.

A prominent human rights group have denounced the Metropolitan police for using heavy-handed tactics during the Gaza demonstrations and for failing to investigate up to 30 complaints made against them through the Independent Police Complaints Commission. Surveillance has played a large role in police efforts to contain protesters and the anti-war movement, working hand in hand with with brutal policing on the demos and the intimidatory abuse subsequently directed towards defendants. In court, relatively uncontextualised short clips of CCTV have been used against defendants, whilst CCTV evidence of police actions has remained largely unexamined. See some of our links for footage of police actions.