The text of another statement I wrote when I was a Media Officer for the Anti-Privatisation Forum (APF).
RELEASE ALL S26 PRISONERS
During and after the S26 demonstration in Prague the Czech police arrested up to 950 people. Those arrested were denied their legal rights, were beaten in custody and denied access to legal aid, food, medicine, clean water and toilets. Many of those arrested report of being prevented sleeping for up to 36 hours by the police. The fact that only 25 of those arrested were actually charged demonstrates not only the random nature of the arrests but also the reality of the police riot that took place on S26 and S27. Photographs show that many of the police had removed or obscured their identification numbers.
In addition photographs that have been published in newspapers and on the internet reveal the presence of police agents-provocateurs dressed as rioters.
According to the Czech newspaper Lidove Noviny, Sept. 29 Page 2
- “observers have filmed a man smashing a McDonald’s window and then walking away through a police cordon without any hassle”
- “reporters met policemen dressed up as demonstrators in black sweatshirts with black scarves or hoods over their faces. At Tylovo Namesti, reporters saw one of the masked policemen hit metal bars on a showcase window with a pole torn off a railing; later, he arrested activists”
Obscenely Interior Minister Stanislav Gross reacted to the evidence of undercover agents by calling for the people presenting this evidence to also be arrested (Prague Post of Wednesday, October 4, 2000). There is international outrage at the police abuses and the massive cover up of them the Czech state is now involved in. Demonstrations have happened outside Czech embassies all over the world and tens of thousands of protest letters and emails have poured in from organisations and individuals.
We, the Anti-Privatisation Forum, Gauteng, South Africa, comprising the organisations listed below, demand the immediate release of all prisoners still in Czech jails from the S26 demonstrations against the IMF and World Bank.
We demand that all the charges against people arrested on that day be immediately dropped.
APF, c/o AIDC, 3rd floor Cosatu House, cnr Leyds and Biccard Streets, Braamfontein, Johannesburg, South Africa
Postal address: APF, 60 Isipingo Street, Bellevue East 2198, South Africa
Tel: 27-11 339- 4121
Fax: 27-11 339-4123
Member organisations of the Anti-Privatisation Forum include the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) at Wits University), the South African Students Congress (Sasco), the SA Communist Party (Central JHB branch), the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco), Democratic Socialist Movement, Workers Organisation for Socialist Action, African Peoples Democratic Union of South Africa (Apdusa), Keep Left, Wits University Post-Graduate Association, Campaign Against Neo-Liberalism in South Africa (Cansa), SA NGO Coalition, Jubilee 2000, SA Graduates’ Development Association, Wits University SRC, Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee, Ecumenical Services on Socio-Economic Transformation, Gauteng Hawkers Association, Evaton Reconstruction Forum, Keep Left, the S26 Collective, Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Union (Imatu), the Alternative Information and Development Centre, the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) and Bikisha Media Collective.