- Abolish Frontex: day of action against Fortress Europe
- New wave of strikes and mass demonstrations across France
- Avon Vale Hunt expelled from hunting’s governing association after grassing on itself
- Centre Parcs abandons attempt to plough through Worth Forest
- Fascists riot outside hotel in Merseyside housing asylum seekers
Abolish Frontex: day of action against Fortress Europe
Pan-European organisation Abolish Frontex held an international day of ‘commemoraction‘ on 6 February. It reported that “families and activists gathered in more than 40 cities around the world” calling for freedom of movement for all peoples. The group said the day was chosen because it was the same date as in 2014 when Frontex was responsible for the deaths of at least 15 people attempting to cross from Morocco to Spain, known as the Tarajal Massacre.
Frontex is the European Union’s border police and since its establishment in 2004 has committed innumerable cruel and inhumane acts. In October 2022, a leaked internal report said the agency had engaged in “illegal pushbacks of asylum seekers”. Abolish Frontex says it aims to target “the policies and system that keeps Frontex in place”.
"We cannot forget those who have been killed, who have disappeared because they simply wanted to move. We cannot stop fighting for them. (2/3) pic.twitter.com/ruaBjBXGwv
— Abolish Frontex (@abolishfrontex) February 8, 2023
New wave of strikes and mass demonstrations across France
France undertook further nationwide protests and strikes this week, on 7 and 11 February. The protests are in opposition to president Emmanuel Macron’s attempts to raise the public pension age from 62 to 64. The first strike, on 19 January, saw more than a million people take to the streets across the country. Similar numbers hit the streets on 1 February. On 7 February, strikes led to disruptions in education, public transport and refineries, while 11 February saw up to a million people take to the streets in demonstrations across the country. Both dates saw confrontation between protesters and police.
Avon Vale Hunt expelled from hunting’s governing association after grassing on itself
The hunting and anti-hunting world blew up on 8 February when ITV News and the Hunt Saboteurs Association published footage showing the Avon Vale Hunt digging out foxes. The video appeared to be filmed by a member of the hunt itself. There was sharp and rapid fallout, with hunting’s governing body the British Hound Sports Association expelling key members of the hunt and then police arresting three of those people. It appears the hunt has now disbanded.
Centre Parcs abandons attempt to plough through Worth Forest
Land justice campaign Right to Roam celebrated news that Centre Parcs had pulled its attempt to destroy sections of Worth Forest, West Sussex. It tweeted on 9 February that, after a mass trespass through Oldhouse Warren was undertaken in September 2022, which was earmarked for destruction, Centre Parcs had abandoned its plans to build a 553 acre “holiday village”. SurreyLive reported that Centre Parcs’ decision was based on “ecological and environmental surveys [that] found the area was not suitable”. Right to Roam said it was a “victory for local activists… who have long been trespassing the site to conduct guerilla ecological surveys“.
YES! Center Parcs have withdawn! The forest is saved from the proposed destructive mega-development in the heart of Worth Forest.
WE ARE ELATED! Huge thanks to the community, local councillors, wildlife NGOs who all came together to oppose it.https://t.co/l7rVV0kF7p
— Protect_Oldhouse_Warren (@ProtectWarren) February 9, 2023
Fascists riot outside hotel in Merseyside housing asylum seekers
An anti-migrant riot that led to the torching of a police van and attacks on counter-protesters was organised and stoked by Patriotic Alternative, Merseyside Anti-Fascist Network said. The group also outlined its perspective on the riot, which occurred on 10 February in Knowsley, near Liverpool. Crucially, Merseyside Anti-Fascist Network said of the far-right rioters:
the fash were throwing fireworks and bangers at the hotel and trying to break through in order to set fire to it whilst shouting things like “get them out”.
Meanwhile, the Independent reported that one person inside the hotel said that those inside were “terrified” by what was happening outside. And the Mirror said that Clare, who runs refugee aid organisation Care4Calais, visited residents the following morning. She said that they reported being intimidated and scared to leave the hotel.
Police have subsequently arrested 15 people over the incident.
Fascists wanting to storm the Suites Hotel to get at refugees were blocked by police and then set fire to a police van. pic.twitter.com/xDPMZUjKas
— Liverpool SolFed (@liverpoolsolfed) February 10, 2023
Featured image via Abolish Frontex