We have to apologize for the lack of updates over the last six weeks or so, but the month of October kept us much busier than we were expecting to be. We received at least one new request for support from an anti-fascist in trouble every single week and this kept us hopping. Since we’ve managed to find a spare minute, let’s tell you about what we got up to last month:
- In 2016 Antifascists headed to the Austrian-Italian border crossing at the Brenner Pass to protest Austria’s inhuman & xenophobic migration policies and were met with a battalion of well-armed riot cops who attacked them. 83 antifa were arrested: 5 were convicted of various charges, 13 have been acquitted of all charges, & 65 more are still waiting to go to trial. We were contacted by friends of one of those awaiting trial and asked to help cover his legal defence costs. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we were able to cover the majority of the costs he’s facing (crowdfunder here in case you’d like to donate directly)!
- Last April, antifascists converged on Newnan, GA. to confront a nazi march through town. The antifa were met by 400-800 heavily-armed kkkops that pointed assault rifles in their faces and tackled anyone wearing a mask. When one antifa tried to speak to the cops and de-escalate a potentially lethal situation, she was body-slammed to the ground and arrested (some of you will recall that we were able to cover nearly half of her legal defense costs, again thanks to our donors). A second defendant, charged with the crime of wearing a mask in public, is fighting the charge as far as possible in order to challenge the constitutionality of Georgia’s anti-mask ordinance. We were happy to be able to pay for a big chunk of the fine he’s received so far & some of his lawyer bills (if you’d like to contribute directly, here’s his crowdfunder).
- Poland has been a flashpoint for violence against LGBTQ+ civil rights activists. The governing political party is openly homophobic and the mayor of Lublin banned a Pride march this fall. Queer people were not having it and went ahead with the march anyway, which led to attacks by far-right homophobes who blocked the march route and assaulted Pride marchers. When two of our friends left the march, they were pursued by a pack of screaming homophobes who were threatening to kill them in the street. When the homophobes charged, our friends gave them a blast of pepper spray and fought them off. So of course the homophobes ran to the nearest police to play victim and now our friends are up on charges! We’ve ensured that both our friends have competent legal representation to defend them against these fictitious charges and are looking forward to the good news of their acquittal when the whole mess goes to trial.
- Last but not least: Jock Palfreeman is a name familiar to many of you. The Australian national was backpacking through Sofia, Bulgaria in 2007 when he witnessed a mob of bigots attacking two young Roma boys. Jock stepped in to intervene and was set upon by the mob. In the ensuing altercation, one of the attackers died of a stab wound, Jock was charged with the stabbing, and a sham trial led to a 20-year prison sentence for him.
Since then, Jock has not only been a model prisoner, but has founded and run the Bulgarian Prisoners’ Association, which fights for the inalienable human rights of prisoners in Bulgaria.
Last month and after serving 11 years in prison, Jock was suddenly and unexpectedly granted parole. But before anyone could pop champagne corks, Bulgaria’s Prosecutor General Sotir Tsatsarov intervened, seizing Jock’s passport, placing him essentially under house arrest, and demanding that the supreme court review the parole decision, . This move was unprecedented, appears to have no basis in Bulgarian law, has been condemned as political interference in the judicial system, and was likely motivated by pressure by Bulgarian extreme-right groups.
While Jock holds up in a safe house in Sofia awaiting the Bulgarian supreme court to decide his fate, we were able to provide an amount to make sure he’s taken care of (you can too via this crowdfunder).
All this supporting of anti-fascists costs money. So far this year the Defence Fund has spent 25% more defending and supporting anti-fascists the world over than it did in all of 2018 and there are still two months left in 2019. Where does this money come from? 100% of our funding comes from individual donors around the world. So if you believe in the work we’re doing now would be a great time to show your support by making a donation.