Statement on Police Violence at Sheffield Demonstration

Sheffield Left participated in, and spoke at, the demonstration of solidarity with the Kurdish people, who have suffered political repression and military atrocities at the hands of the Turkish state for many decades, with Turkey launching a new wave of violence on the 17th of April.

This peaceful demonstration was forcibly disrupted by South Yorkshire Police, knocking protestors to the ground and using pepper-spray. The British state has provided enormous funds to Turkey to block refugees fleeing, and as a member of NATO provides military assistance and political support to the slaughter of Kurds. Now it is preventing the Kurds and the supporters of their cause from assembling, peacefully, in Sheffield.

Sheffield Left condemns the actions of the Police, and echoes the call of SYMAAG’s and STUC for an immediate investigation by the Chief Constable and Police Commissioner into the tactics and violence of the South Yorkshire police.

However, this behaviour is not unusual for South Yorkshire Police, which has a long and shameful history of violence against the working-class.

We reiterate our support for the Kurds in fighting our class enemies abroad, and in their efforts to establish a democratic, socialist confederation.

In addition, we do not recognise the PKK as a terrorist organisation. We see in their efforts, across nationalities and ethnicity, the building of a world that is free from the terrors of imperialism and balkanisation, free from clerical dictatorship, and free from the terrors of bourgeois exploitation of labour and land.

We will campaign for the liberty of the Kurds in any state which is oppressive, which includes the UK. The proscription of  the PKK must be reversed, and we join those campaigning to achieve that end.