Undercover Police Target November 9th Student Protesters

Wednesday 9th November saw another large student and anti-cuts protesttake place in London, with thousands marching. Electricians and taxi drivers were also protesting on the day.

The police hailed the day as a major success, with no serious disorder and only a few dozen arrests made. However, their tactics have been called into question, especially the use of undercover and plain clothes police officers sent to infiltrate the march. A number of violent arrests were made on the day,  with police officers hiding their identities, provoking violence and acting as agent provocateurs. Below you can see a video of one such violent arrest first video, and a second looking at the movements of some of the other officers.

 

FITWatch have produced pictures of the plain clothes police officers for reference at future demonstrations, you can see them here. The ‘N9 Anarchist Bloc’ website has more information, videos and pictures regarding the tactics of the police on the day.

Villagers to run their own school

Long before posh toff David Cameron was going on about his ‘big society’, anarchists were making the argument that you don’t need the government and state to run society, ordinary people can do it for themselves.

And so it is that, after a long battle with Herefordshire Council, Dilwyn residents have decided to run their village school themselves.

Last year council bosses decided that Dilwyn Primary School was ‘unsustainable’ and would have to close despite various rescue plans including linking with St Mary’s High School in Lugwardine. The local community are now working on plans for a free school run by volunteers.

As we’ve said previously, schools are an important hub of village life and even more so for a small village like Dilwyn. At a time when rural communities are being decimated by the dwindling agricultural industry and multinational companies sucking trade in to the towns and cities, it is vital that we do whatever it takes to preserve these communities.

Herefordshire Council, whilst paying its top boss more than the prime minister, look only at the balance sheet and see a school as unprofitable, taking in no account of its social value.

We support the efforts of Dilwyn’s people in keeping their school open, but it is also vital that we continue to resist every closure.

Herefordshire Council are currently reviewing the future of other schools and will no doubt be attempting to shut down whatever they can. A strong and united anti-closure movement is a must.

Herefordshire Schools Under Threat Again!

A financial package going for final approval in March may seal the fate of a number of Herefordshire’s small schools.

The package shows that funding allocations that help to keep small schools and nurseries open could be heavily slashed as the schools budget could be cut by over £1.5 million.

The schools budget loses some £500,000 through falling rolls while facing an increase in overall spending commitments of at least £1million.

This is not the first time Herefordshire’s schools have come under serious threat. Back in January 2008 Herefordshire Council made proposals to either close or merge 37 schools in the county.

Meetings and rallies were quickly called to oppose the plans and to kick-start a protest campaign. In February there was a mass rally and march in Hereford, which attracted hundreds of parents, teachers, school kids and concerned members of the public.

As a result of this huge public opposition the plans were put on hold, for ‘further consideration’ in 2011.

It would now seem that the Government’s planned public spending cuts have given the council an excuse to revisit and implement these proposals.

Our rural schools provide vital and easily reachable education for many young Herefordians. Many are also the focal points of the community, providing a space for other out-of-school-hours activities. Closing them would be a cowardly and damaging move by the Council, putting their own interests and the interests of profits before the education of our children.

The Hereford Heckler repeat’s the call it made in 2008: NO SCHOOL CLOSURES!

Religious fundamentalists target Hereford youth

There is growing concern amongst parents and youth workers in Hereford about the increasing influence of Christian fundamentalists on young people. In particular the growing influence of Freedom Church who, through the work carried out by their youth group 2XL, are being openly promoted and funded by Herefordshire Council, as seen with the free two-page advert in this month’s ‘Herefordshire Matters.’

Christian fanatics like Freedom Church hide behind the veneer of forward thinking, welcoming, new-age acceptability. But look beyond the shiny PR and you’ll find a group that disregards science in favour of ‘creationism’, thinks of contraception and homosexuality as unholy and believe that women should be subservient to dominant males. In all a narrow minded and unethical, fundamentalist cult.

Of course like all religious groups Freedom Church promote the work they do here and abroad as the positive work of god, and any youth work that 2XL is involved in is heavily regulated. But what many people are asking is how a church with such extreme views can get paid to deliver sexual health work in schools. How do they approach subjects like abortion, homosexuality and gender issues?

Freedom Church is not the only organisation causing concern. Questions are being asked about the work done by the Closed House in Hereford. What is the real agenda of these people? Are they simply trying to recruit more members? We have religious freedom in this country but we also have a duty to protect young people from the damaging influence of religious groups. We can only imagine the uproar if these groups were part of the Muslim faith.

We at Hereford Solidarity League believe there is no place for religion in education, but it should be up to every student, parent and teacher to decide who is involved in schools and youth groups.  Choices can only be made if groups like Freedom Church and Close House are forced to make it clear who they are and what they stand for.

REPORT: Hereford Student Walkout and Demonstrations

500 students joined a walkout and demonstration in Hereford today.

Hundreds gathered at the Folly Lane colleges and marched down Aylestone Hill into high town, to chants of  ‘No Ifs, No Buts, No Education Cuts!’ Many people honked horns or clapped in support of the demonstrating students. The walkout and protest was part of a national day of action against the rise in University fees and harsh cuts to education.

About 20-30 people also joined a march from the Job Centre, against benefit cuts. This went through High Town and joined students at the Town Hall, who had headed there from High Town to hand over a petition.

There was a heavy police presence, which was rather humourless; an obvious prank ‘two man invasion of the Town Hall’ (which was doomed to fail) was soon put to an end – with a banner being grabbed and confiscated, and the two people being threatened with arrest!

Unfortunately the march didn’t go beyond an uncreative ‘A to B’ march and petition. The truth is that a petition that is supposedly going to be handed to central government will achieve very little – it will be thrown straight in the recycling bin and not seen again. After the march came to a standstill many students were also walking around asking, ‘Well what are we doing next?’ and ‘Why don’t we march somewhere else?’

sit-down protest, or an occupation of a building such as the Town Hall, instead of just a speech from the bench outside, may have offered a more effective and lasting method of protest. At this stage we cannot rule out any tactic, and we need to be prepared to use whatever works to stop the ConDem’s attacks on the working class.

There is a growing mood of resistance sweeping the country, and today was just one manifestation of this. Over a hundred thousand people took part in demonstrations across the country; the largest in London, but also in places such as Bristol, Cambridge, Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester, Brighton and dozens of other towns and cities.University occupations are currently happening in many places, from Essex to Leeds and Oxford to Warwick.

This needs to be continued and extended, as it is a struggle that concerns us all, and not just the students.Workers, the disabled, the elderly and benefit claimants, as well as the students, need to be brought into the fight and need to step up resistance – mass demonstrations, pickets, occupations and strikes – whatever it takes to get our message across and to stop the cuts!

It’s going to be a long winter, but it’s already heating up.