End Political Policing In Scotland

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The following statement from the James Connolly Society (JCS) is very important for all republicans and progressive political activists. There is, at present, no serious campaign against the increase of political policing in many areas of Scottish society (and not only with regard to football). The JCS were themselves the subject of over-zealous policing recently when they were harassed by Police Scotland as they  held a commemorative event in memory of the fallen volunteers of the International Brigades who fought against fascism in the Spanish Civil War.

In the last week we have also heard of the ridiculous case of a republican flute band member being arrested as a result of the type of uniform his band wear on marches and parades. Not only do we have a political police force in Scotland, it now appears that we also have a fashion section at Police Scotland. This is a blatant attempt to criminalise the Irish community in Scotland. There appears to be no limits or aspects of our culture that are off-limits to police scrutiny; from the football teams that we support, to the songs that we sing, the band uniforms that we wear, or the socialist and anti-fascist heroes that we commemorate. This is the same mindset that, not so long ago, came up with the notion that there is such a concept as “blessing yourself aggressively”; it is beyond satire.

The James Connolly Society intend to collate all information relating to state harassment and use it in the interests of our community, in order to bring about changes to policing policy.

The James Connolly Society’s committee tonight agreed to establish a working group to compile a dossier of police harassment of our members and other republican activists in Scotland. This decision was taken in the context of recent acts ofharassment and intimidation at JCS events and directed towards JCS members. Some of these actions by Police Scotland are already in the public domain, while others are not.

The JCS will continue to defend the right of Irish republicans in Scotland to engage in political activity. We will use all resources and avenues available to us to highlight and challenge the political policing of Police Scotland. As part of this process the working group has also been tasked with consulting, among others, our solicitors.

The JCS have campaigned for over 25 years for accountability and transparency in policing. Police Scotland represent the opposite of what is required. Their tactics, whether directed at working class communities, football fans or political activists are unacceptable and they are wrong. They are also counterproductive and only make republicans more determined to succeed.

The James Connolly Society Scotland and the 1916 Societies are going through a period of unprecedented growth. Attempts by the state to divert us from our strategy are doomed to fail. Irish republicans in Scotland need an alternative based on politics and the JCS are committed to working with others to build such an alternative.

If you have information (we are particularly interested in video and photographic evidence) which you would like included in the JCS dossier on police harassment then please contact: jcs1916scotland@gmail.com