'WHEN I heard the noise my first instinct was to run and call the police. Then I realised it was the police.' This is pub owner Dawn describing the terrifying moment 150 police raided her property in Peckham, south London.
The owners and customers at the Red Bull are demanding to know why their pub was raided in January. It was part of a series of raids. Eyewitnesses estimate that over 500 police officers took part. Police smashed windows and furniture as they rampaged through the Red Bull and the accommodation above. The Red Bull is a popular pub-known as a place where both black and white people can enjoy a drink and a dance.
Dawn told Socialist Worker, 'The raid happened at 5pm, so the doors were open. But the police smashed the windows anyway. Around 150 of them poured into the pub wearing protective clothing. They said they had a warrant, but they didn't show us one. They handcuffed my husband Bill, who is 66 years old. I have problems with blood pressure and after the raid I had to go to the doctors.'
When the police had gone, the pub looked like it had been struck by a whirlwind. Cupboard doors were torn off. There were holes in the fireplace and the loudspeakers. A set of turntables was broken, electrical wiring ripped out and wood panels removed from the walls.
In the accommodation above the pub, clothes were strewn about the floor, mattresses were overturned and a bed was broken. According to Dawn, 'The police said they were looking for drugs in the house, but they didn't find any.' Zoe, who sometimes helps out at the Red Bull, told Socialist Worker, 'We have CCTV that recorded everything, but the police took the tapes. They are racist. The police have said we shouldn't be serving illegal immigrants. But we can hardly check people's passports before serving them. The way the police behave around here is terrible. I've been stopped and searched three times. And I was always dressed well, looking smart and respectable. The police also raided the newsagents, hairdressers and bookmakers-but the police don't smash up white-owned businesses.'
Nazi stunt flops
A PRESS stunt by the British National Party fell flat this week after over 300 trade unionists organised a protest. The BNP targeted the London offices of two organisations with wide mainstream support-the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) and the National Union of Journalists' offices.
But official delegations from a range of major unions turned out in force to expose the Nazi BNP in the first major initiative by the Unite Against Fascism organisation. There were some 200 people outside the NUJ's offices and a further 80 outside the CRE, including TUC general secretary Brendan Barber. The protesters ensured that the BNP's stunt backfired and exposed the real face of the Nazis behind the 'respectable' image they have tried hard to cultivate.