Democratic Rights in Britain

The Woolwich killing and the responsibility of Britain’s ruling elite

By Chris Marsden, 1 June 2013

The killing of soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich, London has lifted a corner of the veil of lies, intrigue and criminality surrounding British foreign policy.

More questions about MI5’s relations with Woolwich killers

By Julie Hyland, 29 May 2013

Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, the killers of Drummer Lee Rigby, were under surveillance for years.

MI5 and the Woolwich killers

By Chris Marsden and Julie Hyland, 27 May 2013

The decision to arrest Abu Nusaybah at BBC headquarters suggests that Britain’s MI5 and Special Branch know a great deal more than they have admitted about the killers of Lee Rigby.

European Union cites Boston attack to justify major anti-terrorist operation

By Chris Marsden, 24 April 2013

On April 17 and 18, anti-terrorist units of numerous European Union member states participated in an operation involving simulated terrorist attacks in nine different countries.

National Union of Students complicit in British government attacks on students

By Thomas Scripps, 17 April 2013

The National Union of Students has launched a phoney campaign to “Bring Back” the Educational Maintenance Allowance, after previously sabotaging the opposition to its abolition.

Britain: Conservatives and Labour step up witch-hunt against immigrants

By Paul Mitchell, 1 April 2013

UK Prime Minister David Cameron calls for the denial of welfare rights to migrant workers and immigrants.

UK’s new press regulations a major threat to democratic rights

By Julie Hyland, 22 March 2013

The Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties have agreed to establish a press regulatory body by Royal Charter that overturns 300 years of press freedom.

Britain: Student beaten by police finally found not guilty

By Joan Smith, 16 March 2013

Alfie Meadows, who was brutally beaten by police during the anti-tuition fees protests in 2010, was cleared of violent disorder.

UK government passes legislation for secret courts

By Jean Shaoul, 9 March 2013

The Justice and Security Bill marks a major departure in principles of English law—that cases are held and decided in public and the evidence presented by the other party is disclosed.

UK gay marriage bill: An undemocratic fraud

By Paul Bond, 20 February 2013

The passage through the House of Commons of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Bill is being depicted as a democratic triumph. It is no such thing.

UK police frame up Conservative MP

By Paul Bond, 28 December 2012

Three months after Andrew Mitchell MP resigned over allegations that he had abused police officers, it is clear that much of the evidence against him was fabricated.

Man detained in Somalia is stripped of UK citizenship for refusing to spy on Muslims

By Jean Shaoul, 10 November 2012

The British government has stripped Mahdi Hashi, a 23-year-old British national who also held Somali nationality, of his UK citizenship.

UK backs down on accused hacker Gary McKinnon’s extradition to US

By Simon Whelan, 9 November 2012

Accused hacker Gary McKinnon’s extradition to the United States was halted on the grounds of his fragile mental health and a high suicide risk.

Relative of Anthony Grainger speaks on UK police killing

By our reporters, 20 October 2012

The official Greater Manchester Police justification for the killing of unarmed Anthony Grainger, that he was part of a group conspiring to commit robbery, has been thrown out of court.

Killing of two female officers used to demand greater UK police powers

By Robert Stevens, 4 October 2012

The killing of two female police officers in Manchester, England has occasioned a frenzied government, police and media-led campaign aimed at handing the police even greater powers.

Britain: Ian Tomlinson’s family denounce police misconduct trial as a whitewash

By Sally Smith, 24 September 2012

An internal hearing sacked a police officer for “misconduct” for his attack of a newspaper vendor during the 2009 G20 protest, but refused to rule on whether his death resulted from the attack.

Foreign students at London Metropolitan University threatened with deportation

By Robert Stevens, 4 September 2012

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) has prepared the way for the deportation from Britain of up to 2,600 foreign students at London Metropolitan University (LMU).

Thousands mass outside Ecuadorean embassy to support Assange

By Daniel O’Flynn and Rick Wilson, 20 August 2012

Two thousand protesters massed outside the Ecuadorean embassy in support of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

UK inquest finds against police in death of Sean Rigg

By Trevor Johnson, 9 August 2012

Sean Rigg was a fit and healthy 40-year old, a successful musician and producer who suffered from bouts of paranoid schizophrenia.

British police fabricate terrorist case against Rizwaan Sabir

By Simon Whelan, 8 August 2012

The internal West Midlands police professional standards investigation into the Rizwaan Sabir affair, following complaints by Dr. Rod Thornton over the police’s handling of the case, is finally complete.

Unemployed worker sets himself on fire outside UK Jobcentre

By Aidan Claire and Katie Owen, 7 July 2012

A 48-year-old man set himself on fire outside a Birmingham Jobcentre to protest not receiving his benefit payment.

Britain’s Labour Party leader Ed Miliband fuels anti-immigrant prejudice

By Paul Mitchell, 27 June 2012

Labour Party leader Ed Miliband is playing the anti-immigrant card, promising new measures to prevent British people being “locked out” of jobs by foreign workers.

Rally against police killing of Anthony Grainger in Manchester, UK

By our reporters, 23 June 2012

A rally to bring attention to the death of Anthony Grainger at the hands of the police was held in Manchester June 17.

East London tenants evicted in run-up to Olympics

By Robert Stevens, 15 May 2012

Tenants in east London are being evicted from their homes in the run-up to the London Olympics Games, to be held July 27–August 12.

London to be militarised for 2012 Olympics

By Richard Tyler, 9 May 2012

Billions of pounds are being provided to the police, military and intelligence agencies to fund a mobilisation of state forces on a scale never seen in London in peacetime.

UK: Partner of Anthony Grainger, shot by police, campaigns for truth about his killing

By our reporters, 20 April 2012

Anthony Paul Grainger, 36, an unarmed man, was shot and killed by police on March 3 in the small Cheshire village of Culcheth. The WSWS spoke to his partner Gail Hadfield Grainger and a friend about the campaign to uncover the truth about his killing.

British police face investigation of racist incidents

By Paul Bond, 14 April 2012

London’s Metropolitan Police Service is at the centre of a growing storm about police racism. Eight officers and one civilian member of staff have been suspended, as 10 reported incidents have been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission for investigation.

European Court’s extradition ruling: A major blow to democratic rights

By Julie Hyland, 12 April 2012

The decision by the European Court of Human Rights that five men detained on terror-related charges can be extradited to the United States marks a major assault on democratic rights.

British government proposes extension of state surveillance

By Paul Bond, 11 April 2012

Britain’s Conservative-Liberal Democrat government has announced plans to extend wider state surveillance across e-mail, telephone and social media communications.

British teenager arrested for Facebook comments criticizing Afghan war

By Harvey Thompson and Mark Blackwood, 26 March 2012

Azhar Ahmed, a19-year-old from Ravensthorpe, England, was arrested last week by West Yorkshire Police and charged with a “racially aggravated public order offence”.

“The attacks on us are extraordinarily revealing”

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks with WSWS

By Richard Phillips, 16 March 2012

Julian Assange discusses his British court appeal against extradition to Sweden and the ongoing attacks on WikiLeaks, freedom of the press and other basic rights.

UK Home Secretary approves Richard O’Dwyer’s extradition to US

By Julie Hyland, 15 March 2012

Britain’s Home Secretary Theresa May has approved the extradition to the United States of 23-year-old Richard O’Dwyer on charges of copyright infringement.

Unarmed man shot dead by police in English village

By Trevor Johnson, 10 March 2012

Police shot and killed Anthony Grainger with a bullet to the heart on March 3.

Corruption charges vs. British officers investigating murder of Stephen Lawrence

By Julie Hyland, 8 March 2012

Britain’s Independent newspaper has detailed previously suppressed allegations of corruption by police involved in the investigation into the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence.

UK government seeks deportation of Muslim cleric Abu Qatada

By Julie Hyland, 11 February 2012

The British government is continuing its efforts to deport Muslim cleric Abu Qatada to Jordan.

Security conference for London Olympics plans massive police operation

By Paul Stuart, 1 February 2012

The Royal United Services Institute, in partnership with the Home Office, held a conference on security for the upcoming Olympic Games in London.

Stephen Lawrence murder convictions used to exonerate UK police

By Julie Hyland, 7 January 2012

Gary Dobson and David Norris were sentenced this week for the 1993 racist killing of 18-year-old Stephen Lawrence.

Britain deports Sri Lankan asylum seekers

By Athiyan Silva, 3 January 2012

British authorities deported 55 Sri Lankan refugees back to Sri Lanka, disregarding their safety and warnings by human rights groups.

UK family face eviction as collective punishment

By Trevor Johnson, 13 December 2011

An entire family, including a young baby and an eight-year-old child, face being thrown out of their family home in Manchester, England under anti-democratic legislation.

2012 Olympics: Police-state measures for London as super-wealthy party

By Paul Stuart, 7 December 2011

Preparations for the 2012 Olympics in London are being approached based on the calculation that Britain is a country on the edge of mass social conflict.

Mother of Julian Assange, WikiLeaks founder, speaks with the WSWS

By Richard Phillips, 26 November 2011

Christine Assange discusses the US-led frame-up campaign against WikiLeaks and her son Julian, the role of the Gillard Labor government, and the political implications for basic democratic rights.

“Total Policing” and the criminalisation of dissent

By Chris Marsden, 12 November 2011

The scale of the police operation mounted Wednesday against a relatively small and entirely peaceful protest against UK education cuts shows that the ruling elite is no longer prepared to tolerate any form of political and social opposition.

British authorities launch “Total Policing” at student protest

By Robert Stevens, 11 November 2011

The policing of Wednesday’s students protest in London was unprecedented in its repressive character.

”Our future shouldn’t be determined by a few rich people”

Students at London demonstration speak

By our reporters, 11 November 2011

A reporting team from the World Socialist Web Site spoke to some of those participating in Wednesday’s student protest in London

Police victimise London protest against deaths in custody

By Paul Bond, 31 October 2011

A protest by the United Families and Friends Campaign against deaths in police custody was held in London on Saturday.

UK: Citizens Inquiry covers up real reasons for Tottenham riots

By our reporter, 20 October 2011

The initial meeting of the Citizens Inquiry into August’s Tottenham riots took place last Saturday. The area erupted after Mark Duggan, a 29-year-old father of four, was fatally shot by police on August 4.

UK police to be given greater repressive powers after riots

By Julie Hyland, 18 October 2011

Britain’s new police powers include the ability to declare specific places “no go areas”, with a police superintendent empowered to instruct people to leave “to prevent or address serious disorder.”

Police force UK broadcasters to hand over footage from London riots

By Julie Hyland, 24 September 2011

UK television broadcasters—the BBC, ITN and Sky News—are in the process of handing over hundreds of hours of untransmitted video footage from the riots in London in August to the Metropolitan Police.

Autistic man sentenced to prison in UK for Internet “trolling”

By Mel Simpson, 24 September 2011

Sean Duffy was sentenced to jail for the maximum sentence of 18 weeks and banned from using social networking sites for five years.

“Are we paying people just to come and kill us?”

London family subject to brutal police raid speaks out

By Paul Bond, 13 September 2011

The riots triggered by the police killing of Mark Duggan on August 4 have unleashed a wave of legal repression, including numerous raids by armed response units seeking to arrest alleged rioters.

Hundreds attend funeral for Mark Duggan, murdered by UK police

By Zach Reed, 12 September 2011

The funeral of Mark Duggan was held in North London on September 9. Hundreds gathered to pay their respects to the 29-year-old father of four, whose death at the hands of police on August 4 sparked riots in several cities in England.

More deaths at the hands of UK police

By Robert Stevens, 31 August 2011

In the space of just seven days, three more people have been killed in police operations in the UK involving the use of lethal Taser guns and pepper spray.

Metropolitan Police deny due process to British youth

By Robert Stevens, 26 August 2011

Three weeks after the outbreak of widespread rioting in London, the Metropolitan Police continue to hunt down anyone suspected of involvement.

British police kill unarmed man with Taser

By Harvey Thompson, 24 August 2011

On August 16, officers from Cumbria Police responded to reports that a man was causing a disturbance at an address in Barrow-in-Furness.

Bristol riots in Britain—A Tale of Two Cities

By Richard Duckworth, 19 August 2011

The Bristol riots are a reflection of social deprivation and exclusion in Bristol, and also of the political disenfranchisement of the working class.

Workers speak out on British riots: “The system is not viable”

By our reporting teams, 19 August 2011

Reporting teams from the World Socialist Web Site spoke to residents in the cities of Manchester and Leeds about recent riots, police brutality and the social conditions facing working class youth on a daily basis.

Youth sentenced to years in jail for posting Facebook notices during British riots

By Robert Stevens, 18 August 2011

Crown court judges in England handed down long jail sentences to two young men for posting comments on Facebook.

The stench of a police state

By Julie Hyland, 17 August 2011

The events of the last 12 days are a warning to the working class in Britain and internationally.

Police Complaints Commission lied about police shooting that sparked British riots

By Robert Stevens, 15 August 2011

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has admitted it “may have inadvertently given misleading information” about the circumstances surrounding the police shooting of 29-year-old Mark Duggan in Tottenham, north London.

Media demand mass arrests, reprisals against UK rioters

By Robert Stevens, 13 August 2011

Magistrates’ courts in London and other British cities have begun to hand down the harshest possible sentences to those accused of involvement in the riots that swept across cities in England earlier this week.

Oppose state repression of British youth

By Socialist Equality Party (UK), 11 August 2011

The Socialist Equality Party unequivocally condemns the police assault that has been unleashed against young people in Britain and demands the immediate withdrawal of riot police from the areas they now occupy.

Britain: Westminster council ban SEP public meeting in attack on democratic rights

By Paul Stuart, 11 August 2011

In an attack on democratic rights, an August 4 public meeting called by the Socialist Equality Party was banned on political grounds by management at Vital Regeneration who are contracted to run residents meeting halls by Westminster local authority, London.

16,000 police deployed in London to put down youth revolt

By Robert Stevens, 10 August 2011

Prime Minister David Cameron chaired a meeting of the governmental emergency COBRA committee yesterday and called a special sitting in parliament Thursday in response to continuing rioting in London and other cities in England.

Fatal police shooting sparks riot in north London

By Julie Hyland, 8 August 2011

Disturbances broke out in Tottenham, north London on Saturday night. They followed protests over the shooting of Mark Duggan, a 29-year old father of four by police on Thursday.

Inquiry findings continue cover-up of 1999 Rosemary Nelson assassination

By Steve James, 2 June 2011

The findings of the official inquiry into the murder of lawyer Rosemary Nelson, delivered after a six-year investigation, continue the cover-up by the British and Northern Ireland state apparatus.

University of Nottingham suspends professor in major assault on free speech

By Robert Stevens, 25 May 2011

The University of Nottingham has suspended lecturer Rod Thornton after he published a paper on the May 2008 arrest of two men held under the Terrorism Act of 2000.

Britain: Bristol riots provoked by police

By our reporters, 25 April 2011

Thursday’s night of violent confrontations with the police in Bristol’s Stokes Croft area was triggered by the attempted forced eviction of a small, long-standing squat, revealing profound political resentments.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron beats the anti-immigrant drum

By Julie Hyland, 19 April 2011

UK Prime Minister David Cameron kicked off the Conservative Party’s campaign for elections in Scotland, Wales and northern England with another anti-immigrant speech to members in Hampshire.

Britain’s political and media establishment promotes anti-immigrant sentiment

By Chris Marsden, 4 March 2011

A survey commissioned by the anti-fascist group Searchlight has been given saturation media coverage in Britain.

More evidence of police infiltration of UK political groups

By Julie Hyland, 1 February 2011

The UK government has announced plans intended to block further exposure of the work of undercover officers in political and protest groups.

News of the World hacking scandal throws spotlight on Murdoch media empire

By Julie Hyland, 20 January 2011

The private investigator at the centre of allegations of phone hacking by Murdoch’s News of the World has reportedly admitted that executives at the newspaper were aware of the practice.

Exposure of police spy in UK sheds light on covert operations

By Robert Stevens, 19 January 2011

Last week, a trial of six environmental activists at Nottingham Crown Court in England collapsed following the exposure of an undercover police agent.

The BBC and the police attack on Jody McIntyre

By Robert Stevens, 22 December 2010

In its coverage of the December 9 student protest in London, the World Socialist Web Site drew attention the brutal treatment meted out by riot police to Jody McIntyre, a 20-year old freelance journalist.

Police-state tactics against protesters in Britain

By Robert Stevens, 13 December 2010

The repression of students, lecturers, school pupils and others protesting against the British Conservative-Liberal Democrat government is the worst seen in decades.

British student left with brain injury after police attacks on fees protest

By Chris Marsden, 11 December 2010

Alfie Meadows, 20, a student at Middlesex University, has suffered bleeding to the brain after being batoned by police during the December 9 tuition fees protest in London.

Scotland concedes legal access to those arrested, but curtails appeals

By Steve James, 6 November 2010

Scotland has been forced to agree that police suspects must be allowed the elementary right of access to a solicitor before questioning, after opposing this demand for more than two decades.

UK government to impose Orwellian-style surveillance

By Robert Stevens, 1 November 2010

The Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition is pushing ahead with plans to allow Britain’s security services and police to spy on the activities of every citizen who uses a phone or the internet.

Angolan asylum seeker killed during forced British deportation

By Barry Mason, 26 October 2010

Asylum seeker Jimmy Mubenga died October 11 as a result of an attempt to deport him from Britain to Angola.

Police cleared of all charges in death of London G20 victim Ian Tomlinson

By Robert Stevens, 27 July 2010

On July 22, the Crown Prosecution Service cleared a Territorial Support Group police officer, PC Simon Harwood, of any charges relating to the death of Ian Tomlinson during the G20 summit in London last April.

Report reveals systematic brutality against child offenders in Britain

By Zach Reed, 27 July 2010

The Children’s Rights Alliance for England has revealed the brutal regime facing children held in privately run Secure Training Centres.

Britain: Why did the police man-hunt of Raoul Moat end in death?

By Harvey Thompson, 17 July 2010

The inquest held July 13 into the death of Raoul Moat, who shot himself after a six-hour standoff with police, heard that he was also shot by two officers with Taser guns. The coroner said the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head.

Britain: Saville Inquiry continues cover-up of Bloody Sunday massacre

By Chris Marsden, 18 June 2010

The Saville Report into Bloody Sunday in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, on January 30, 1972, maintains the cover-up of one of the most infamous massacres ever perpetrated by British imperialism.

Britain: Workers must oppose prejudice against immigrants and asylum seekers

By Robert Skelton and Socialist Equality Party candidate for Manchester Central, 24 April 2010

The Socialist Equality Party, in its campaign in Manchester Central, has repeatedly encountered workers who are by no means racist, but who argue that with jobs and public services under attack, immigration is too high and must be curbed.

Britain: Details of hundreds of students handed to CIA

By Jordan Shilton, 22 April 2010

The details of up to one thousand Muslim students at University College London (UCL) have been made available to the CIA jointly by the university and the Students Union.

Britain: Observer exposes police spy in the Socialist Party

By Marcus Morgan and Paul Mitchell, 15 April 2010

A secret police operative, “Officer A”, spent years spying on the Socialist Party of England and Wales’ predecessor organisation, the Militant group and its youth organisation in the mid-1990s, according to the Observer newspaper.

Britain: Another legal Rubicon—“juryless trials”

By Richard Tyler, 14 April 2010

A legal Rubicon was crossed earlier this month when, for the first time in 400 years, an English court passed sentence in a criminal case heard by a judge sitting alone without a jury.

Britain: Six University of Sussex students suspended following occupation

By Zach Reed, 11 March 2010

Six University of Sussex students have been suspended by Vice-Chancellor Michael Farthing for allegedly taking part in a peaceful occupation in Sussex House on March 3. Farthing informed the students of their suspension via e-mail.

Anti-Islamic measures in Britain threaten democratic rights

By Paul Mitchell, 19 January 2010

This week five supporters of the Islamic fundamentalist organisation Islam4UK, who chanted anti-Army slogans at a military parade in Luton in March 2009, were convicted of using abusive words.

Proposed British anti-war march prompts demands for clampdown on rights

By Julie Hyland, 12 January 2010

Demands for new restrictions on democratic rights are being made after an Islamist group suggested it might hold an anti-war demonstration in Wootton Bassett, North Wiltshire.

Failed Detroit bombing used to justify crackdown on British universities

By Paul Bond, 7 January 2010

The British ruling establishment has been quick to use the failed attempt to bomb Flight 253 into Detroit to demand greater control over universities, their student societies and foreign students in particular.

UNICEF details growth of child poverty in Britain

By Simon Whelan, 2 December 2009

UNICEF’s research into contemporary social conditions facing British children paints a startling picture of poverty and official neglect.

London: Metropolitan Police caught out extending armed patrols

By Paul Bond, 1 December 2009

Recent events have revealed how the police specialist gun squad CO19 had instigated armed patrols of socially deprived estates in London, apparently without any authorisation and definitely without informing the public.

Britain: Family of Jean Charles de Menezes forced to accept derisory compensation award

By Paul Mitchell, 27 November 2009

After a four and a half year struggle for justice, the family of Jean Charles de Menezes has been forced to make an out-of-court settlement with the Metropolitan Police. The family could have received just a third of the £300,000 compensation award they were seeking.

Britain: Protests and political campaigning redefined as “domestic extremism”

By Robert Stevens, 29 October 2009

A central feature of the assault on democratic rights in Britain, carried out by the Labour government in the name of the “war on terror,” is its effort to criminalise political activity.

A dramatic account of the death of Jean Charles de Menezes

Stockwell, by Kieron Barry

By Paul Bond, 29 September 2009

A review of Kieron Barry’s play Stockwell: The Inquest into the Death of Jean Charles de Menezes.

Parliamentary committee for inquiry into British complicity in torture

By Robert Stevens, 8 August 2009

On August 4 Parliament’s Joint Human Rights Committee called for an independent inquiry into claims that UK security services were complicit in the torture of up to 15 people in other countries.

Murdoch’s News Group accused of £1 million payout to conceal phone-hacking

By Harvey Thompson, 11 July 2009

The Guardian has published allegations that Rupert Murdoch’s News Group Newspapers (NGN) paid out over £1 million to settle legal cases that threatened to reveal the use of covert and criminal methods to obtain information on high-profile public figures.

Questions following not guilty verdicts in July 2005 London bombing case

By Robert Stevens, 5 May 2009

Last week, following a retrial, 3 men were found not guilty of helping to plan the London terrorist bombings in July 2005.

Britain: Another “terror scare” revealed as baseless

By Julie Hyland, 28 April 2009

Only the most damning political conclusions can be drawn from the admission that 12 people rounded up in a major terror scare in Britain have all been released without charge.

Britain: Third autopsy into G20 victim Ian Tomlinson’s death

By Julie Hyland, 23 April 2009

A third autopsy has been held on Ian Tomlinson, the 47-year-old father of nine who collapsed and died after police attacked protesters at the G20 summit of world leaders in London earlier this month.