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2nddemogOne of the greatest symbols of the UK Border Agency’s move inland over resent years is the existence of ID Cards. It is an issue we have highlighted on numereous occasions since it became clear that these infamous tools of social control were to be introduced via smokescreen of immigration hysteria. Opposition to ID cards is wide and broad based, nearly all Read the rest of this entry »

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jan2On Thursday 29th January 2009, around 25 people braved the freezing cold conditions to hold a picket for about 2 hours outside the UK Border Agency at 31-33 Newport Road, Cardiff. These offices are where decisions are made about who gets detained, deported or in rarer cases granted leave to remain. ID cards are issued here for non-EU students and spouses and immigration ‘snatch squads’ operate from this address. This is also the local reporting office, where asylum applicants must ‘sign on’ as part of the conditions of their continued residence in the UK and then sometimes are detained  prior to deportation. It is the face of Britain’s racist immigration policies right here on our doorstep.

Whilst holding our regular pickets we witness asylum applicants attending to ‘sign on’, their papers being inspected before they are granted admittance. Any accompanying friend or family members made to wait outside while they go in. We often also see Read the rest of this entry »

idcarddemoaOn Thursday 29th January at 12noon  we will be holding a picket outside the UK Borders Agency at 31-33 Newport Road, Cardiff (map) to protest against deportation, against detention and against the racist ID card system all of which are enforced from these offices. We will be hanging banners, holding placards and distributing leaflets to draw attention to what happens inside the building.

The last picket of the UK Border Agency was set to coincide with the start of registration for ID cards, whilst there is no such Read the rest of this entry »

South Wales Anarchists have produced the latest issue of their popular newsletter ‘Gagged!’, as usual we have contributed to the content. In these days of mass internet access there has been a huge drop in alternative media being produced on paper, so we are proud to help continue this fine tradition. Over 8,000 copies of Gagged! are produced and distributed every issue, no mean feat for a small anarchist network, if you’d like to help them out, drop them a line.

Download the .pdf

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The front cover bears a quote from a text written by the Haunt of Albanian Migrants and circulated at a protest following the murder of Alexis Grigoropoulos by police in Greece. The outburst of rage that has followed this latest act of violence by the state has spread to all sections of Greek society that suffer under capitalism, not least migrants. As part of yesterday’s international day of solidarity members of No Borders South Wales joined with South Wales Anarchists in the centre of Cardiff to show our support for the uprising in Greece.

greek-solidarity-2012-5Though we heartily recommend the rest of the content of the publication, for ease of access we’ve reproduced our article  below (usually we have more input, see previous issues), regular readers of this blog may find large parts of the text somewhat familiar!

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ID Cards Are Here!

Biometric ID cards came into force for non-EEA students and spouses on 25th November. The  UK Border Agency office at 31-33 Newport Road, Cardiff is one of only six registering centres in the country. No Borders South Wales protested there on the day ID cards came into force as part of a coordinated day of action outside every centre and also on the day the Cardiff office started the process of interrogation, photographing and fingerprinting.

Both the protests were well attended, attracting well over 50 people each; we displayed banners, held placards, waved giant mock ID cards and distributed over 1000 leaflets. The public reaction was overwhelmingly supportive.

These new ID cards are not only a repressive measure against non-EEA students and spouses, they are the first shot in an attack against everyone’s liberty. This initial step by the UK authorities targets a largely voiceless migrant group, who have the least chance to complain and the most to lose. By using a cynical appeal to the worst kind of bigotry the government is following the example of repressive regimes throughout history. Immigration law already gives the Home Office powers it would like to exert over everybody. By resisting the repression of migrants, we defend the freedom of everyone!

ID cards are just one part of a wider plan to increase government regulation over all our lives. To reverse the waves of authoritarianism that currently dominate the political mainstream, we need to build a movement that is committed to universal freedom and rejects the legitimacy of state interference. It is up to everyone who cares about freedom and equality to organise to oppose these worrying trends.

n596404504_1766306_5272Once again people gathered outside the UK Border Agency to protest against “ID Cards for Foreign Nationals”. This demonstration was scheduled to coincide with the start of the registration of non-EEA students and spouses in Wales and the West on Wednesday 10th December. The close proximity to a large number of Read the rest of this entry »

idprotestOn Wednesday when the Cardiff office of the UK Border Agency starts the process of interrogating foreign nationals (starting with non-EEA students and spouses) and registering them for ID cards, we’ll be protesting outside (map).

Against ID Cards. These ‘ID cards for foreign nationals’ are the first step in the process of introducing a national ID card for everyone. The testing of the scheme on migrants before their introduction to the rest of the population is a cynical appeal to the worst kind of bigotry. By resisting the repression of migrants we Read the rest of this entry »

251108-idcarddemo21On Wednesday 10th December the registration of non-EEA students and spouses for ID cards will begin in Cardiff. At 12 noon No Borders South Wales will be holding a protest outside the UK Border Agency at 31-33 Newport Road (map) where this registration will happen. We invite all opponents of ID cards to join us.

251108-idcarddemo5This is a follow up to the demonstration when ID cards came into force on the 25th November in the same place, which was part of a national day of action by No Borders. Reports of the protests appered in Indymedia, No Borders NottinghamTen Percent, Gair RhyddSWM ForumGreenman’s Occasional Organ, Earth First! Action ReportsFreedom for Tooting, and even got a mention in the Guardian.

251108-idcarddemo221The different border agency centres around the country are starting to register over a stagered period. Only the Croydon centre started registering on the 25th. There was a blockade of Vulcan House in Sheffield when Read the rest of this entry »

Over 60 people attended our protest against the introduction of Biometric ID Cards for non-EU students and spouses on Tuesday. The demonstration was held for a couple of hours at midday outside the Cardiff office of the UK Border Agency at 31-33 Newport Road. People the government is forcing to carry ID cards will have to attend this centre for interrogation, photographing and Read the rest of this entry »

internal-bordersHistorically borders only existed at state boundaries, now however over the last year the government has repeatedly stated adamant that:

“border control can no longer be a fixed line on a map”

From Tuesday non-Europeans applying for, or renewing visas for study or marriage, will be required to attend a UK Border Agency centre. There they will be interrogated, fingerprinted, have their Read the rest of this entry »

idcard21With the launch date for the first wave of ID cards of Tuesday 25th November fast approaching, more information on the shape of the scheme is coming to the public domain. Resistance to ID cards for airport workers appears to be having an effect, plans of protest are developing in all six cities where the the ID cards issuing centres are, with No BordersDefy ID and no2id activists indicating their intention to take to the streets. The addresses of the UK Border Agency centres where student and marriage visa applicants will have to go to have their photograph and fingerprints taken are –

  • Birmingham – Dominion Court, 41 Station Road, Solihull, Birmingham, B91 3RT (map)
  • Croydon – Lunar House, 40 Wellesley Road, Croydon, CR9 2BY (map)
  • Cardiff – General Buildings, 31-33 Newport Road, Cardiff, CF24 6AB (map)
  • Glasgow – Festival Court, 200 Brand Street, Govan, Glasgow, G51 1DH (map)
  • Liverpool – Reliance House, 20 Water Street, Liverpool, L2 8XU (map)
  • Sheffield – Vulcan House, 6 Millsands, Sheffield S3 8NU (map)

No Borders South Wales will be protesting outside the Cardiff centre from 12 noon on the Tuesday 25th November. We welcome all opponents of the increasing levels of social control that the government wishes to extend over all our lives to take part. Join us during your lunch break from work or study to show solidarity with migrants being victimised by these cynical divide and rule tactics by The Home Office. By resisting the repression of migrants, we defend the freedom of everyone!

Somewhat unsurprisingly The Home Office are predicting considerable delays in their processing time, and the Border Agency centres will not all be ready to take ID applications at the same time, the roll out of the scheme being – 25th November: Croydon, 1st December:  Sheffield, 4th December: Liverpool, 8th December: Birmingham, 10th December: Cardiff, 12th December: Glasgow.


Biometric ID cards will come into force for non-EU students and spouses from 25th November and will be issued from offices in Birmingham, Cardiff, Croydon, Glasgow, Liverpool, and Sheffield. We will be holding a protest outside the Home Office building in Cardiff and hope for protests outside each of the other offices on that day. You can read an excellent overview of the introduction of ID cards over in an article entitled IDentity politics: new biometric cards for foreign nationals” in Corporate Watch, we have also produced a leaflet detailing the government timetable and calling for protests around the country on the launch day. Please download, print, photocopy and distribute!

“First they forced ID cards on asylum seekers,
and I didn’t protest because I wasn’t an asylum seeker.
Now they’re forcing ID cards on non-EU migrants,
and I didn’t protest because I wasn’t a non-EU migrant
Next they’re forcing ID cards on airport workers,
and then they’re going to force one on me…”
 

Borders are rising around all of us, immigration law already gives the Home Office powers it would like to exert over everybody. We are against repression in all its forms and the many controls which would restrict the lives of everyone. The UK is becoming a mass surveillance society, migrants are at the very sharp end. We are keen to work with other opponents of ID cards to build a grassroots resistance to state control, please get in touch.

By resisting the repression of migrants, we defend the freedom of everyone!

Here are some more pictures of our recent awareness raising anti-ID card protest outside the Passport office in Newport a few weeks back:


Articles covering the protest also appeared in Bath Bomb and Digital ID.

On the 8th & 9th November groups and individuals from across the UK affliated to the No Borders Network will meet in Newcastle to discuss and plan together.

There will be workshops and discussions on a wide range of issues including reflections on the network, news from local groups, anti-deportation campaigns, targeting airlines, transnational networking, cross-channel border controls, ID Cards for non-EU spouses & students, International Organisation for Migration (IOM), and more.

If  you’d like more information or you are planning to attend, please contact the organisers via whydontyou@post.com  letting them know if you would like accommodation, when you will be arriving, and any other requirements.

There is a suggested donation of £10 to cover the costs of the Gathering, but no one will be turned away through lack of funds. There will also be No Borders merchandise such as t shirts, dvds and books for sale.

Click on Image for .pdf

Issue #24 of the South Wales Anarchist newsletter “Gagged!” is out now. As usual it contains a number of articles by No Borders South Wales. All the information in “No ID card protest in Newport”, “We loves ya, Babi” “No Border Fest Success” & “Nosey cops stalk public” have already appeared on this blog. South Wales Anarchists provide the rest of the content on a range of issues including climate change, anti-fascism, corruption and the economy.

You can download a .pdf of the newsletter to print, copy and distribute. Or you can contact the Gagged! collective to get a bundle in the post.

We also forgot to mention that we had an article in the long running weekly direct action newsletter SchNEWS not so long ago.

On Saturday afternoon over 30 people joined with No Borders South Wales outside Newport Passport Office to protest against the introduction of ID cards for non-EU foreign nationals resident in the UK from this November.

Thousands of copies of our new leaflet “Big Brother is coming“, produced especially for the event, were distributed to members of the public. The leaflet lays out the government timetable for rolling out the scheme and makes the point that these new ID cards are not only a repressive measure against migrants, they are the first shot in an attack against everyone’s freedom. The vast majority of passers by who took the time out to speak with people on the demonstration were very supportive of our campaign and were adamant that they would not accept an ID card themselves.

A dozen police were waiting by the Passport office at 2pm when people arrived. The senior officer informed people that they were willing to ‘facilitate’ the protest providing only two people were stood outside the entrance to the passport office and everyone else stood on the other side of the road. The police were politely but firmly told that that was both unreasonable and unacceptable. The officer then said he would go inside the office and then return to implement “another course of action”. Unsurprisingly, this other course of action was to completely abandon his original demand and only ask us not to block the entrance, which we had already told him we had no intention of doing.

Though in this case the police soon realised we were not going to be bullied around and the protest was able to pass off without too much of their interference, it is a concern that less experienced people wishing to exercise their legal right to protest are intimidated into being sidelined into designated “protest zones”. Across the UK police forces regularly demand that protest organisers contact them beforehand, despite the fact we all have the right to gather and protest without asking for permission. Under the guise of “minimising disruption” and even protecting the protest from disgruntled members of the public(?!?), it is increasingly common for police to view an effectively policed protest as one which as few people as possible are aware is happening. A good example of this was the march against the military academy in Cardiff which the police forced out of sight down back-streets, earlier this year.

Four officers from Gwent Police’s ‘Evidence Gathering Team’ filmed participants at the demonstration constantly, both from a distance and at close range. They also frequently checked the inside of their hats where we believe they kept their ‘spotter cards’ which identify known activists. These four officers then followed a number of the demonstrators to a local pub where they stood outside patiently in the rain, waiting for them to come out and then followed them again, over the River Usk to the legendary TJs where Smash EDO were showing a film to build support for their upcoming protest before day two of No Border Fest. Their actions are clearly politically motivated. As one passer by noted:

“I didn’t know there were so many police in Newport”

The reaction of the NO2ID campaign to the introduction of these ID cards has been underwhelming to say the least. And has largely been limited to the press release quoted in a previous post and this extract from a longer comment on their website:

“Resistance to the database state is growing, but that has not discouraged Whitehall. It seems more determined than ever to sneak round obstacles using misdirection and to find new, softer, targets…

Latest of those soft targets are overseas students, and people seeking to settle in the UK with British husbands and wives. Those, people with strong reasons not to make a fuss, are the ones to be targeted for the new biometric card scheme that will act as a test bed for the ID scheme. Jacqui Smith’s launch of “ID cards for foreigners” was a shameless piece of spin to try to associate the unpopular ID scheme with the popular policy of restricting immigration.

There’s no real link. And it is unclear how much technology there is yet. But immigration law already gives the Home Office some of the powers it would like to exert over everyone, and so it has a free hand to try out, on a few selected foreign residents, the processes it eventually intends to use for everyone else.”

The discussion about this protest on the NO2ID forum certainly seems to reveal real naivety amongst at least some sections of NO2ID supporters, with one poster commenting that

“They aren’t ID cards for foreigners. They are biometric residence and work permits.

It comes to something when a supposed opponent of the database state is inventing meaningless spin for the government as they are about to introduce the first ID cards! It is a shame that this new move by the home office is not recognised by more anti-ID activists for being what the government is very open about. This unwillingness to defend the rights of migrants endangers the struggle for everyone’s liberty. Previously Defy ID has been a vehicle for opposition to ID cards from a libertarian perspective, but given the manner in which the government is using a a greater repression of migrants as a testing ground for this scheme No Borders must intervene.

The first UK ID cards have been unveiled, and come into force from 25th November. The card will hold the holder’s photograph, name, date of birth, nationality, immigration status and an electronic chip with biometric details, including fingerprints and digital facial image. All indefinitely held on the UK Identity and Passport Service database. 

Initially the ID cards will be issued to non-EU students and marriage visa holders then, foreign nationals wanting to enter the UK.  From next year other foreign nationals living in the UK will begin to be issued with ID cards. These groups will be forced to enrol on the scheme and use the card, rather than their passport, for identification,

Once migrants have been used to test the scheme, in 2009 anyone, regardless of nationality, who works in an area the government deems “sensitive” such as airports will be required to have an ID card. From 2010, students will need ID cards to get a student loan and they will be available to the rest of us on a “voluntary” basis, with them being paired with passports in 2011.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) will produce the physical plastic cards, and use IBM to provide the technology. Foreign nationals who boycott the card could lose their right to stay. Those who refuse to make or turn up to an appointment to scan their fingerprints and facial image will face a £250 fine, rising to £1,000 for persistent refusal. Those who fail to tell police if they lose their ID card will face a fine of £125. Employers and sponsors of foreign nationals will be forced to keep records on them, including a copy of the employee’s ID card. Businesses found employing workers who do not have valid ID cards will face fines of up to £10,000 per person.

Nearly every section of society outside the government has voiced opposition to ID cards. Let no-one be fooled by this cynical nod to racism as anything other than an attempt to introduce ID cards by stealth. 

“The government is picking on soft targets — people who have no choice but to comply. They’re actually targeting people who are completely justified in being here.”
Phil Booth, national co-ordinator of No2ID

It is patently clear that this card is the thin end of the wedge, the first blow in an attack on civil liberties we all enjoy. The government is open about their plans, it wants everyone in the UK tagged, numbered and repressed, using migrants as a testing ground for it’s authoritarian desire to increase the size of the surveillance state. The opposition to ID cards must begin now.

No Borders South Wales will be holding a demonstration against the new ID laws on Saturday 4th October at 2pm outside the Passport Office, Olympia House, Upper Dock Street, Newport, NP20 1XA (map). Come and join us.

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