Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Drawing a truly sorry saga to a close...

Update: the date of court appearance has been moved from March 15th to March 17th. Details here.

As those who have been paying close attention to the far-right in Liverpool will be well aware, antifascists in the city have been following the court proceedings of Peter Tierney with some interest. On St George's Day last year Tierney, a self-proclaimed "super-activist" for Merseyside BNP, assaulted an antifascist leafleter in Liverpool City Centre. After months of court appearances, the whole sorry saga finally comes to an end next month.

Criminal proceedings against Tierney begin on March 15th, with three days of court time set aside for the event. Liverpool Antifascists intend to picket the first day of the proceedings in its commitment "to spread the word about the violent thugs that Merseyside’s British National Party has in its midst." They urge everybody who is opposed to fascism and the politics of violence and intimidation to join them, in order to drown out the voice of the BNP - who intend to picket on the same day, in support - and demonstrate that Liverpool remains a distinctly antifascist city.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that Tierney was violent and temperamental even before he joined the BNP. The stories, from road rage whilst driving his Land Rover, to altercations with patrons of the "Midian" goth night when held at the former Quiggins centre, are not hard to come by. They point to someone who fits in well not only with a party which attracts terrorists and thugs, but also with a branch of that party even more violent and confrontational than most.

Tierney's brother Andrew is also amongst the brutish core of the local party. Although his main role is as a supposedly "freelance" photographer, taking photos and videos that end up on Redwatch and other sites, he is not afraid to advocate violence. During a confrontation with antifascists in Halewood, he was heard to say "let's get some local lads in, nothing to do with us, of course." This after his brother called one man a "shithouse" for not rising to provocation.

The case against Peter Tierney appears to be overwhelming. Merseyside BNP claim that he acted in self-defence, and that a "UAF lowlife thug" was found guilty of a "major public order offence." The libellous leaflet they recently distributed in Fazakerley even claims that the antifascist in question (not a member of UAF) was "guilty of violence against BNP OAP's. However, as I reported at the time, his hearing at the Magistrates court resulted only in a fine for breaching Section 5 of the Public Order Act under duress - essentially, swearing in public in response to fascist intimidation tactics. The trial also exploded the lies put about by Tierney and the BNP, with both assault and criminal damage charges thrown out as untenable.

Also worthy of note is a quick hearing at the Magistrates Court were Tierney was able "to get the draconian bail restrictions put upon him lifted." According to his story, the bail conditions leave him thinking "how am I going to pay the bills," because "most of my business as a self employed person is conducted within the Liverpool city centre." This, of course, is a lie. As the Quiggins AttiQue website tells us, "Quiggins now trades from 325 Aigburth Rd. L17 0BL," which is "on the outskirts of town," and nowhere near the City Centre. Just to reiterate, this is one definite incident where Tierney lied in court in order to get his way.

At every step of this trial, Merseyside BNP have used obvious fabrications to distract from the fact of their quick recourse to violence and confrontation at every occasion. This is yet another reason, aside from the violence and the fact that they are fascists, that the BNP must be opposed.

I, as my comrades in Liverpool Antifascists, urge everyone who can to come to the picket. It begins at 9.15AM in Derby Square, on Monday March 15th. Together, we need to stand up to fascist violence and keep Merseyside fascist free!