COPS: Pitchford Enquiry into undercover policing begins

On Wednesday October 7, the Pitchford Enquiry into undercover policing began at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. The Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance (COPS) has brought together a number of groups and individuals who have been granted “core participant” status in the enquiry, who are all speaking with one voice: they want the truth about undercover policing in Britain and will not accept a whitewash.

It’s probably too much to expect justice from one arm of the state investigating another arm of the state, but at least a lot of the people who have been violated by the disgusting practises of undercover cops might find out the truth.  In the 6 minute video above, a number of activists detail their own experiences of being spied on.

Watch a talk from core participant Dave Smith of the Blacklist Support Group giving more detail:

and from Helen Steele, one of 8 women involved in a case against the police who had relationships with men they subsequently found out were undercover cops:

Reel News will be following the enquiry throughout  – keep checking back here, or like our Facebook page, for the latest developments.

Refugee crisis. A dispatch from Deutschland.

On a recent trip to Hamburg in northern Germany REEL NEWS witnessed first hand the brilliant response from ordinary German people and activists to the unfolding European refugee crisis.

In the main rail station activists have set up a permanent reception area for refugees arriving by train. They are given food, tea and advice on how to claim asylum or travel onto further destinations if they wish. Meanwhile the city’s main conference centre is presently hosting 1,200 refugees with the adjoining exhibition space being used to sort tons and tons of clothes, tents and toys donated by local people and businesses.

It is a considerable task. At weekends a car or van arrives with donations every 30 seconds. Each day 6-700 volunteers come through the building to help process the numerous items. Sanitary packs are made up for women and children. Clothing and toys are safety checked then bagged up for either immediate distribution or to be sent elsewhere in Northern Germany. Such is the scale of generosity in this one city that they are now exporting aid to other areas.

As volunteers leave the building after their shifts, they stick their nametags to the corridor around the exit. In just a few days the area has become literally wallpapered with the names of those taking part in the relief effort. A visual testament to the scale of this one aid operation.

Meanwhile activists are also responding in solidarity with deteriorating situation for Kurdish people both in Turkey where a bombing campaign by the government has recently begun. Also in Europe, where small Kurdish communities are being threatened. By both repressive anti terror laws (the PKK is falsely branded a terror group), and also from local Turkish nationalists.

On Friday September 11th local antifascists staged an impressive show of force against in solidarity with both German Kurds, recently arrived Kurdish refugees and those fighting for autonomy. Particularly in the Rojava rejoin of Northern Syria where Kurdish forces are reclaiming territory taken by the murderous islamist ISIL group.

The protest marched through the city led by Kurdish groups and finished with speeches and music outside the local detention centre. Flares and fireworks were let off on the roof of an occupied social centre on the route of the march. Anti fascists are clearly making the link between the current situation in Turkey and the activities of far right Turkish nationalist groups like the Grey Wolves who had a protest planned for Hamburg the following Sunday.

Then on Saturday September 12th Hamburg became a police state as a modest 2,800 riot cops were drafted in from all over the country along with 10 water cannons and a helicopter. The reason? A threatened march by German neo Nazis. The police had argued that the march should be banned as they did not have the resources to control the backlash from local people. A feeble excuse, given the size of the police operation.

For those residents wishing to oppose the Nazis without actually having to look at them a non-confrontational protest was organised in a square addressed by the mayor and other politicians.

Meanwhile local antifascists, trade unions and leftist groups organised a march starting from the main station where Nazis defying the ban were expected to arrive. The police estimated the total attendance of both protests to be at over 20k.

As the march from the station began Antifa called their activists into the station as a train carrying a small group of boneheads was spotted arriving. Concerned that the Nazis trapped in the carriage might be overheating; the anti fascists took immediate steps to improve the ventilation of the carriage with those conveniently sized rocks that lie around railway lines in abundance. Riot cops were briefly prevented from getting to the platform in question as more anti fascists linked arms to obstruct their passage. The Nazis remained trapped on their train, any plans of marching in Hamburg destroyed by militant action.

Then around 45 minutes later a second group of fascists arrived. This time they managed to leave the station as the march had left. But within about 2 minutes they were running for their lives back inside as reports from spotters reached the demo.

Protected by a ring of many riot cops the Nazis (most of whom looked like a cross between hipsters & metal fans) started doing that usual thing that the far right specialise in. I.E. acting all tough and doing their utmost to provoke the increasing numbers of anti fascists, while enjoying the protection of the state. Before long, it was raining cobblestones on the police lines whom brought in water cannons for protection.

The fascist were then informed by their protectors that they would be searched ID’d and then removed from the city for their own protection. By now hundreds of Antifa and other activists were had them surrounded and more cops were brought in to keep them at bay.

Antifascists jeered at the Nazis as they were searched and corralled. Not exactly shining examples of Aryan perfection that they claim to be the ‘masterace’ whined that they were being victimised while dodging flying bottles and masonry. All in all it was a very bad day for National Socialism as those of them who accepted the ban on their event in Hamburg were also attacked and prevented from marching in Bremen.

Here at REEL NEWS we are very far from naïve about the real reasons for the supposed generosity of Angela Merkal towards refugees. Not least the economic incentives for recruiting grateful workers from desperate situations. However a weekend in Hamburg has done much to boost our faith in the ability of ordinary people and activists to organise in solidarity with refugees and against the moronic racists who are trying to exploit this crisis for their own purposes. Nice one Hamburg!





EDL outnumbered in Slough and looking a bit terminal…

The EDL managed to attract just 150 hate-filled racists to Slough for their “National Demo” on Saturday. Their smallest national turnout ever. One of their coaches had just 8 people on it and their organisers were heard begging their supporters for cash at their rally in the town centre. Splits and internal rows have clearly taken their toll. If calling this protest was an attempt a energizing an organisation that is in rapid decline, it seriously backfired. Many of them were complaining about the low turnout and poor organisation on twitter before the event even started.

Will no pubs open to get tanked up in before the march began. Bored EDL supporters were contained by the police at the station for nearly 3 hours. Nearby anti fascists jeered and heckled as half empty mini buses rolled in with the dregs of what is left of their active base. A group of local Asian men got as close as the police would allow to the racists and unfurled two unions jacks chanting: “St George was an Arab” at them.

When the march eventually started, what should have been a ten minute walk, took over an hour as antifascists blocked the route. A counter protest called by Slough Trades Council & local UAF attracted well over 100 people. The same numbers were mobilised by the Anti Fascist Network and at least a further 100 local youths turned out and joined the antifascists leaving the EDL massively outnumbered and in need of heavy police protection.

The police did disappoint charging into the counter protest on the high street with shields and horses. This to clear the route for the EDL, who threw glass bottles into the midst of the contained anti fascists injuring at least one person. Having pushed the counter protest back towards the shopping centre the police were then met by a mixture of anti fascists and local youth further down the road. The stand off  was eventually broken when the police charged again with batons dogs and horses also scattering terrified locals out shopping with their children. Many local people were furious finding themselves banned from their own high street or imprisoned in shops until the EDL rally had finished.

Despite locking down the entire town centre the police found getting the EDL back to the station just as difficult. Many anti fascists had regrouped and continued to heckle the racists and block their way home. As usual the ‘master race’ challenged everyone to a fight from the safety of their mobile kettle behind their riot cop protectors. The locals laughed and jeered at them telling them to come back without their security guards.  More dogs and horses were deployed to clear anti fascists blocking the road near the station.

Slough can now add its name to the proud role call of places that are no go areas for the shrinking remnants of the EDL. Anyone interested in witnessing the agonising death of this loathsome phenomenon in person should head to Brighton for their next grand humiliation on April 27th.

More on this: (1) (2) (3)

BNP demo at Border Agency an embarrassing flop

The BNPs protest outside the Lunar House UK Border Agency HQ turned out to be small in numbers, pathetic in outlook and actually quite boring. For a party that previously had an elected London Assembly member and 12 councillors, the 27 strong demonstration was pitiful. Considerably less than the shambolic turnout by (EDL splinter group) the EVF a few weeks earlier at the same location.

This follows on from the previous humiliation of the BNP in London in June. Then their attempt at marching to the cenotaph was stopped by hundreds of anti fascists blocking the road. Despite over 350 anti fascists being bailed away from going anywhere near the BNP following mass arrests in Westminster and more recently in Tower Hamlets, the fascists were still outnumbered by over 3-1 by the UAF.

After their arrival, under heavy Police police protection, the BNP spent the next two hours sitting around looking bored as their Italian mayoral candidate Carlos Cortiglia cured everyone’s insomnia with a succession of rambling speeches and barking mad conspiracy theories. According to Carlos, the UNITE trade union is campaigning to scrap the age of consent at the behest of the Labour Party which is itself a front for an enormous paedophile ring or something. The strange reality occupied by the BNP is even more paranoid and delusional than that of the EDL.

The BNP youth wing (if it still exists) was nowhere to be seen with half the demo made up of mostly male, middle-aged oddballs. The other half looking like a racist remake of Last of the Summer Wine.

The only nazis in attendance who were under 45 seemed to be Polish and supporters of the openly fascist National Revival of Poland party (NOP). Many antifascists were left wondering if the Eastern Europeans were aware of the recent comparisons that the BNP made between Polish immigrant workers and monkeys? Or indeed the Griffin family’s history of Pole-baiting which goes back to the 1940s?

As the protest dragged on the nazis looked increasingly bored and demoralised. Back in the 90s the Croydon BNP branch was one the biggest and most active in the country. On Saturday their presence was laughable with local black and Asian residents wandering past their demo looking neither impressed nor intimidated.

The only incidents that lit up the dullness of the occasion was a banner drop by South London Antifascists and a brief intervention by two extremely drunk EDL supporters who attempted to challenge the entire UAF demo to a fight. They were quickly bundled into a subway by the police before their alcohol-induced desire for martyrdom could be fulfilled.

After what seemed like a tedious eternity of playing megaphone tennis with the UAF, the BNP were eventually escorted back to East Croydon at around 3pm.

Photos by Guy Smallman

Tower Hamlets remains EDL free but police arrest over 280 anti fascists

On Saturday Sept 7th the racist English Defence League (EDL) had promised to bring thousands of its intellectually challenged supporters to the multi-faith East London borough of Tower Hamlets. Their previous attempt to march past the East London Mosque in 2011 had ended in failure with the EDL being kept out of the area, harassed by anti fascists around Liverpool street and one of their coaches being trashed. This time they announced that they would rally in Altab Ali park, a community space named after a Bangladeshi textile worker whom was killed in a racist attack in 1978.

A broad range of organisations including East End United, London Anti Fascists and Unite Against fascism vowed to stop them entering Tower Hamlets supported by the TUC, RMT, CWU, UNITE and various other trade unions and faith groups. By 11am thousands of people were in the park while the EDL (who numbered between 5 & 700) gathered south of London bridge. The racist mobilisation was far smaller than the recent gathering of the EDL in Birmingham despite the murder of Lee Rigby in South East London and the date having no domestic football fixtures, which would have boosted the EDL’s hooligan contingent.

The previous attempt by EDL leaders to enter Tower Hamlets had ended in humiliation with their self-styled leader Tommy Robinson getting arrested while crying to the police after being smacked by an anti fascist. This time the EDL were prevented by the police from entering the borough after seeing the size of the opposition to their presence. Robinson (aka former BNP organiser Stephen Yaxley-Lennon) was arrested again, this time for breaching his bail conditions and incitement.


A determined group of militant anti fascists attempt to confront the EDL as they crossed Tower bridge but were detained by a massive police operation. Meanwhile anti racist groups and local people left Altab Ali park and blocked the main route through Whitechapel to ensure the EDL’s non attendance. They then marched to East London Mosque after the EDL had been escorted back across the river in defeat. By this stage it was clear that anti fascists were outnumbering the EDL by at least 3-1.

Meanwhile the police detained everyone who had left the designated protest area in two ‘kettles’ for several hours. They then systematically arrested all the detainees and put them onto buses that had been clearly prepared for the occasion. They had employed similar tactics back in June when the UAF and South London Antifascists had ruined their plans to facilitate a march by the fascist BNP from parliament to Whitehall.

In the end over 280 antifascists were arrested. Most of them released after a few hours with bail conditions that prevent them from going near racist and fascist organisations.

More worryingly the police also arrested Legal Observers from Legal Defence and Monitoring Group (LDMG) treating them with the same measures as the demonstrators. In the past the police have not exactly be pleased to see the volunteers from LDMG but have allowed them to do their job and recognised their role as observers rather than participants.

The behaviour of the police towards the detained protestors and legal observers raises several questions about civil liberties. If no charges against the detained are pressed or they are found not guilty then legal action against the police is very likely. It is possible that the European Convention on Human Rights was violated in several areas including article 10 (freedom of expression) and article 11 (freedom of assembly). Meanwhile the confiscation (and no doubt copying) the legal observers notes is in contravention to article 6 (right to a fair trial).

The arrest of five clearly identifiable legal observers in the Mansell street kettle has resulted in an angry statement from LDMG with more expected to follow. Tony Martin one of the coordinators said “The arrest of five Legal Observers is outrageous. Although we have had individual Legal Observers arrested before, this is a very rare occurrence. What is different on this occasion is that the decision was taken at a very senior level of the Metropolitan Police.

Photos by Guy Smallman


EVF look ridiculous in Croydon

On Saturday (July 26th) the English Volunteer Force (EVF) and South East Alliance (SEA) promised to bring “thousands” of nationalists (ie racists) onto the streets of South London for a “peoples march against terrorism”. The ‘terrorists’ presumably not including the Loyalist murderers, bombers and gangsters whose banners they like waving on protests? It became clear that a slanging match was happening with the EDL leadership when the organisers were forced to release a cringe-worthy video prior to the event.

In the end the planned 9 mile march from Woolwich to “west minster” did not happen. A group of no more than 40 assorted racists & fascists protested outside Lunar House in Croydon against immigration. The building has been the focus of BNP protests in the past. So it was unsurprising to see plenty of familiar faces there. The EVF were the biggest group who seem to be little more than a front for what is left of the National Front (NF). The NF saw a recent influx of disillusioned BNP activists who jumped ship to their miniscule party after deciding that BNP leader Nick Griffin was too liberal for their liking. Despite this, it is still a tiny organisation with few members and resources.

A massive (and no doubt expensive) police operation was deployed to protect the EVF from over 200 anti fascists who came from a broad range of groups including the PCS (whose members work at Lunar House), Unite Against Fascism and the Anti Fascist network. The racists went through their usual ritual of acting tough while being guarded by hoards of cops. Meanwhile the police demonstrated their well documented impartiality by harassing and detaining the anti fascists wherever possible. Earlier in the day some local hooligans attacked members of the press near the protest. They were grabbed by the cops as they tried to run from the scene but the police then released all but one of them to join the EVF protest. Ignoring complaints from the assembled press whom had been assaulted. Would such leniency be applied to the left?

Despite being assisted considerably by the state, the fascists seemed to have a pretty miserable time of it. It was clear that the organisers were visibly shaken by the low turnout and that many in their midst were uncomfortable in each others presence given decades of splits and acrimony in the far right. One individual with a strong Israeli accent invited pretty much every photographer present to snap his t-shirt of the extreme Zionist ‘Jewish Defence league‘. Seasoned anti fascists were highly amused to see him being photographed standing next to well known holocaust denier (and former BNP deputy leader) Richard Edmonds. We can only assume that they did not get round to chatting about thorny issues like the works of David Irving?

Protest at Lunar house in Croydon by the facsist English Volunteer Force agianst Islam and immigration. Counter protest by Unite Against Fascism the PCS and South London Anti Fascists. 27-7-13 There were scuffles with police as the two sides neared each o

After less than an hour of being shouted down by anti fascists from all sides. The EVF & SEA left under heavy police protection and were escorted to Woolwich where they promptly cancelled their march and took the train to Westminster for a tedious rally outside Parliament. There they were again harangued by anti fascists while being heavily protected by the police. Not a good day for the master race…


Photos by Guy Smallman

Schnews report here



It’s the EDL march, so you might get stuck

EDL march in London on Monday, 27.6.2013. Ostensibly there in memory of Lee Rigby, they had a ball, got wasted, peed all over the place (toilets were available a short walk up the road in fact), and were clearly looking to pick a fight.

Kevin Carroll was addressing antifascists, but his comments seemed much more relevant to the behaviour of his own comrades.

On a side note, I wonder if they realise that Allah and the Christian god are one and the same and they are insulting their own god (assuming most of them are Christians). At any rate, they meant to insult Mohammed. Islam doesn’t make the mind contortions of inflating their prophet and god to one entity. The concept of the holy trinity is Christian. Not that logic will have any impact on that kinda mindset.

Into the Fire: The Hidden Victims of Austerity in Greece

For more information check out the Into the Fire website.

Today Into the Fire is simultaneously released on websites, blogs and other platforms around the internet.

Do you have a website or blog? Embed this film!

Use this link to embed the film to make sure subtitles are turned on:

When you’ve published the film, don’t forget to add your link to the listing. It only takes a minute.

The film is available with subtitles in Albanian, Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Italian and Spanish with more coming soon!

In times of severe austerity things look bleak for Greek people, but they’re far worse for those who have recently arrived. Without housing, legal papers or support, migrants in Greece are faced with increasing and often violent racism at the hands of the growing Nazi party Golden Dawn and the police in Athens. Many are trapped by EU laws and legislation of other EU countries meaning they’d be returned to Greece if they managed to get to another member state, they are desperate to leave the country.

You can download the international version and subtitles in .srt format from

More versions will be added throughout the day, follow us on Facebook or Twitter to get updates or check our embedding guide for new uploads.

A version of the film with burned in English subtitles is available on Vimeo. You can also download it there. Other language versions will be added as we make them, follow or check the Into the Fire Channel for updates.

The premiere of Into the Fire on 29th April, 6:30pm will be hosted by the School of Oriental and African Studies. Habib Rahman of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants will join us for the screening and discussion afterwards, the event will be chaired by Sham Qayyum. Join the Facebook event.

Into the Fire Trailer

On 21 April, Into the Fire will be simultaneously released on websites and blogs worldwide, including this one of course. The film will be available in various languages, including Albanian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian and Spanish. There are a number of public screenings planned in several countries in Europe and Northern America. To participate in the release or organise a screening see

The premier of Into the Fire on 29th April, 6:30pm will be hosted by the School of Oriental and African Studies. The filmmakers will be joined for discussion by Habib Rahman of the Join Council for the Welfare of Immigrants.

In times of severe austerity things look bleak for Greek people, but they’re far worse for those who have recently arrived. Without housing, legal papers or support, migrants in Greece are faced with increasing and often violent racism at the hands of the growing Nazi party Golden Dawn and the police in Athens. Many are trapped by EU laws and legislation of other EU countries meaning they’d be returned to Greece if they managed to get to another member state, they are desperate to leave the country.

3 weeks to go! Are you participating in the distribution?

Into the Fire

Into the Fire will be an experiment in distribution. You have probably heard of crowd funding. Projects get funded by a lot of people who give a little money to make it happen. We are crowd sourcing our distribution: A lot of people will be releasing Into the Fire together with us. On 21st April 2013 they will embed the film on their blogs and websites. With every participant the size of the audience will grow exponentially. If you would like to be listed as one of the distributors, get in touch with the link of your website and a logo or image!

Are you participating?

Three years ago, the UNHCR called the situation in Greece a humanitarian crisis. Since then, things have gotten worse. Anyone perceived as foreigner is at risk to become a target of racist violence. Voices demanding the protection of human rights are not listened to. Even doctors who help migrants and refugees are threatened by racist groups. But refugees have no choice: European regulation forces them to remain in Greece, and stops them from moving to a country where they are save and have a chance to get their asylum case heard.


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