Solidarity with prisoners on New Year’s Eve

Tonight anarchists will gather on both sides of the Atlantic to show solidarity with prisoners at an often difficult time of year as they spend their time behind bars rather than with family or friends for the holidays.

In London there will be demos at Brixton and Pentonville prisons, continuing a tradition of several years, The rally at HMP Pentonville, organised this year by Prisoners Fightback, will run from 8.30pm-9.30pm. The larger Brixton event is being organised by the London Campaign Against Police and State Violence and will take place from 6pm-9pm.

In a statement, LCAPSV said:

Bring banners and something you can make some noise with (pots, pans, kitchen utensils, drums, sirens, speakers, megaphones, horns, your voices!)

Black people are killed by the state on the streets, but they are also killed under incarceration. Jimmy Mubenga was suffocated by racist G4S security guards on an aeroplane. Sean Rigg was asphyxiated in Brixton police station. Ricky Bishop was also killed in police custody at Brixton police station. Sarah Campbell died within hours of arriving at Styal Prison. 15 year old Garthe Myatt was killed by security guards at Rainsbrook Secure Training Centre. Sarah Reed, a victim of sexual violence and police violence, died in a cell at Holloway Prison. Between 1990-2017 just under 6,000 people have died in prison and police custody. 33 people have died in immigration detention since 2000. Few have ever received justice.

Where they don’t kill you outright, prisons take time from you, isolate you from your community and your family and do the same to your loved ones on the outside. This is not done at random, but is systematically racist in its intent and practice. It is another side of state racism that is elsewhere seen in the racist application of stop and search, immigration law, and extra-judicial killings.

The proportion of people of African-Caribbean and African descent incarcerated here is almost seven times greater to their share of the population. In the United States, the proportion of black prisoners to population is about four times greater.

Incarceration is not only destructive of the lives of black men and women, but also the men, women and children who make up their families, their friends, their lovers and their lives. Every life destroyed inside prison includes many other lives destroyed outside of it.

Noise demos outside of prisons are a continuing tradition across the world. A way of expressing solidarity for people imprisoned during the New Year, remembering those held captive by the state. A noise demo breaks the isolation and alienation of the cells our enemies create, but it does not have to stop at that. It is time to imagine a world without incarceration, without detention, without racism and injustice. Please join us to make noise in solidarity with those currently incarcerated and to imagine a world without prisons.

Across the pond, the US version is going from strength to strength, with rallies in GainsvilleDurham, Chicago, New YorkMilwaukee, Omaha, Dallas and Quebec in Canada.