Supporters of Panos Thedoropoulos argue he was arrested while attempting to prevent the harassment and unjust arrest of a 16 year old
ONE OF THE ‘PRIDE 5’, five protestors arrested during the August 2017 Glasgow Pride march, will face trial on 8 March, leading to the organisation of a solidarity protest by supporters and the Clydeside branch of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).
Panos Theodoropoulos, a member of Clydside IWW, was arrested while attempting to prevent the harassment and unjustified arrest of a 16-year-old marcher holding a sign reading: “This Faggot Fights Fascists.”
According to a statement from the Clydeside IWW, police employed “extensive” physical force on Theodoropoulos, tackling him to the ground, and subsequently holding him in custody for over 30 hours. All charges on the 16 year old were reportedly dropped.
Theodoropoulos had been participating in Glasgow Pride as part of the ‘Red and Black Bloc’, organised by queer members of the IWW as an anti-capitalist, anti-fascist presence at Glasgow Pride, following controversy regarding the inclusion of the armed forces in the march.
The same event – which was addressed by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, the first person holding her office to do so – also saw the arrest of three trans activists, who were protesting Glasgow Pride’s decision to have Police Scotland lead the march.
Ellie Mulreany from the NUS Scotland LGBT+ Committee told libcom.org: “Initially we got into the street ahead of the police bloc and put our banners up, started out chanting. [We were] immediately met by physical intimidation and aggression from uniformed officers. Protestors were pushed and shoved and dragged off the street, with no warnings or attempts to pacify.
“We responded peacefully but confidently by re-engaging into the street, which caused officers to respond with further force, resulting in two of the protestors going prone to protect themselves from further physical aggression.
“Officers then dragged them to the fence and on to their feet to cuff them, one was choked against the fence before being dragged to the ground again. A third was then arrested for continuing the chanting with the megaphone. None of them were read their rights, given a reason for arrest, or an explanation of what to expect next.”
According to libcom.org, the three have not yet been issued court dates.
“When activists are targeted simply for protesting, court solidarity becomes a crucial part of the fight to defend our fundamental rights to protest.” Clydeside IWW statement
Following the arrests last year, there was further controversy when Pride Glasgow backed the actions of Police Scotland, saying in a statement: “Pride Glasgow fully encourage the participation of uniformed services in the Parade including the Police and whilst we understand that others may have a different view on this. Actions which endanger others will not be permitted.
“Pride Glasgow support the actions of Police Scotland in dealing with this group to ensure the safety of everyone on the Parade and the Festival. Pride Glasgow has worked closely with the police and relevant agencies to put appropriate measures in place to deal with incidents at all levels especially given the current threat level.”
In a statement posted on social media, the Clydeside IWW wrote: “When activists are targeted simply for protesting, court solidarity becomes a crucial part of the fight to defend our fundamental rights to protest. Let it be shown that the movement refuses to accept the criminalisation of protesters, whether now or in the future. Let us lay the foundations, in our budding movements, for lasting, practical political solidarity.
“As the IWW slogan goes, ‘an injury to one is an injury to us all’.”
Clydeside IWW has called for those wishing to show solidarity with Theodoropoulos to attend a demonstration outside Glasgow Sheriff Courts on 8 March.
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