Bristol Squatters targeted as 'Domestic Extremists'

Tony Gosling tony at
Tue Sep 17 13:09:09 BST 2013

Police cracking down on Bristol rioters and extremists
Friday, September 13, 2013 - The Bristol Post - By Daniel Evans
POLICE are set to crackdown on rioters and 
extremists in Bristol and are monitoring several potentially dangerous groups.
They are understood to have launched a series of 
operations to gather intelligence about subversive organisations.
Police say they are determined to thwart people 
who are intent on causing disruption and damage to property.
The campaign is outlined in a report by Chief 
Constable Nick Gargan and Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens.
The report states: "Within the last two years 
there have been a variety of incidents ranging 
from large scale public disorder to high-value 
criminal damage and arson attacks on associated 
businesses and the wider communications network.
"A number of active squat premises are currently 
being managed by the Bristol districts and there 
have been recent successes in working with 
landlords and local partners to force evictions 
and identify the associated levels of anti-social 
behaviour, and the impact of such locations on local communities.
"There are currently 'live' operations being 
managed to develop the intelligence picture and 
identify opportunities for further disruption 
against identified DE criminals operating within Avon and Somerset."
Details of the report, called Our Five Year 
Ambition, come just a week after the partly 
finished £16 million police firearms training 
centre at Portishead was severely damaged by fire.
A Bristol-based anarchist group has claimed it 
started the fire at the centre in Black Rock Quarry, Portishead.
The police have labelled incidents like this and 
the riots in Stokes Croft and Cheltenham Road two 
years ago as "domestic extremism".
The term is generally used to describe the 
activity of individuals or groups carrying out 
criminal acts of direct action to further their protest campaign.
These usually seek to prevent something from 
happening or to change legislation or domestic 
police "outside the normal democratic process".
They include non-peaceful animal rights and 
environmental protestors or extreme right or 
left-wing groups that cause trouble.
In the past two years, there have been numerous 
examples of what could be described as domestic extremism in Bristol.
First, there were the riots on Stokes Croft and 
Cheltenham Road, triggered when police raided a 
squat known as telepathic heights because one of 
the squatters was preparing to petrol bomb the 
new Tesco Express that had opened opposite.
A total of 138 people were arrested after two 
separate nights of disorder, 17 of whom were sent to jail.
Following the Bristol Post's publication of 
pictures of suspects, the Post's building on 
Temple Way was damaged by vandals, causing thousands of pounds worth of damage.
A few months later, in a bid to catch the culprit 
of that damage, police raided a squat on Park Row 
but the suspect was believed to have fled the city.
Last summer, arrests were made when the 
anti-fascist We Are Bristol group clashed with 
police as they protested against the English 
Defence League (EDL), which was marching in the city.
Banks and businesses across the Bristol have also 
been targeted, including Santander and NatWest on 
Whiteladies Road, Clifton, in 2011; HSBC, 
Natwest, Lloyds, Yorkshire Building Society/BNS 
Management Services and Andrews and Besley Hill estate agents in May, 2012.
Only this month, a group of "anarchists" used a 
website to claim responsibility for fire-bombing 
a branch of Barclays in Brislington.
Police have also confirmed they are looking into 
on-line claims from a different "anarchist" group 
that it set the devastating fire at the £16 
million fireams training unit being built in Black Rock Quarry, Portishead.
An anonymous poster claimed members climbed into 
the quarry and used accelerant to burn major 
electrical cables at five junction points throughout the complex.
Avon and Somerset police do not tend to discuss 
the specific details and tactics of operations against domestic extremism.
They believe that may jeopardise a live 
investigation or play into extremists' hands by publicising their cause.

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