HMP Bristol NYE 2011 Prison Solidarity Demo

admin Uncategorized

The evening started with a group of 20-25 people marching up Gloucester Road, Bristol to HMP Bristol in Horfield. They arrived at the Golden Lion Pub at 11.20pm and began to circle the outside of the prison. Once the group had reached the other side of the prison where inmates could see and hear the group they stopped.

“Happy New Year” and “Fuck the Screws” was chanted over the walls. Fireworks were fired into the prison courtyard. People then climbed up onto an outer wall and made noise by hitting the fence with hands feet and rocks.

Around midnight the first police vehicle arrived with 2 officers who came over to talk to the crowd. Everybody stood their ground and the soundsytem was then led away from the police to prevent them from nicking it. Another police vehicle then arrived with 3 more officers who quickly came over to the two other officers who by this time were surrounded, whereupon without warning they began to pepperspray people in the face and take people to the ground with batons in their hands. During this time more police vehicles arrived. A few people were hit with batons. Some stood trying to de-arrest others and support their mates who had been pepper-sprayed. Once the majority of the people had realised that the police had taken control of the situation people decided to remove the soundsystem and themselves from the area. People got away but 4 were arrested. Each arrestee had an individual vehicle to themselves.

As people were retreating shouts and banging (presumably from inmates) could be heard from within the prison walls, and the floodlights and hall-lights all lit up.

At the moment all the arrestees are out. One person was released charged with assault of a police officer, one was charged with obstruction of a police officer, one person was charged with various crimes including assault on a police officer, section 5 and criminal damage to a police video camera (which would hold evidence to the whole situation), the last person was held until late evening on the 1st of January 2012 due to not complying with the police. They all have unconditional bail.

People heard at the police station that there was a backlog of arrests because trouble had flared at a new years free party which the officers said they’d had to retreat from because of the large numbers of ravers they faced.

People stood outside Trinity Police station until all the 4 arrestees were released the next day.