Wednesday, 16 November 2011
Green Brigade Response To Campbell Corrigan
Over the past few days, Strathclyde Police have orchestrated a media campaign to tarnish our group as bigots, as justification for their power-grabbing and the Scottish Government's new anti-Football Bill - a Bill that criminalises football fans and the Celtic support in particular. Realising they face a challenge from fans opposed to the Bill, the politicians and police need a scapegoat and they've decided that we fit the bill. Lurid headlines about our supposed 'songs of hate' have been followed up with a demand from Assistant Chief Constable Campbell Corrigan for us to meet him for a dressing-down - a demand made on the back page of a tabloid newspaper.
We have yet to be formally invited to meet Corrigan but we are happy to respond to his public offer with a public response, and to tell him in the firmest possible terms that we have no intention of meeting him and letting him wag his finger in our face. Corrigan's police force have spent hugely disproportionate resources on policing and gathering intelligence on the Celtic support, and ourselves in particular, including constant video surveillance at matches and a range of petty harassment.
Out of concern with the policing of football fans and the Offensive Behaviour at Football Bill we, alongside the other established Celtic fan organisations, formed Fans Against Criminalisation. On October 29th, we held a peaceful and very successful demonstration in George Square to oppose the SNP's anti-Football Bill. In what seems like a direct response, Corrigan's police force have since acted against us and the Celtic support. At the match v Hibs that afternoon the police, with no regard for fan safety, waded into our section of the ground in an attempt to make arrests of unknown fans. Match commander Eddie Smith then made a complaint to the SPL about offensive chants and after the subsequent match with Rennes in the Europa League he made a similar complaint to UEFA. Such a complaint is unprecedented.
Following the demonstration and those two matches, several fans have been arrested. In a dawn raid on Friday, the police arrested a 17 year-old boy for a breach of the peace. He has no previous convictions but despite this, he was remanded in custody for 7 weeks on Monday morning, for singing a song that Alex Salmond, Campbell Corrigan and co don't like. Earlier that morning a man accused of attempted murder was granted bail. The young fan was released last night after the intervention of the Lord Advocate. The Lord Advocate, one of the Bill's main cheerleaders, must have realised the potential political damage such a case, illustrating the Crown's attack on fans, would have had on the Bill.
Campbell Corrigan has today been on radio shows, further scapegoating our group. We note that he is also insisting that he will be meeting Celtic fan organisations to tell us all how to behave. After the police's attack on Celtic fans following the Fans Against Criminalisation demonstration, two Celtic fan organisations asked them for a meeting to discuss their behaviour. The match commander Eddie Smith refused to meet them and his superior, Wayne Mawson, refused to speak of the events of that day. Rather than giving Campbell Corrigan free reign to scapegoat our group for his own ends, perhaps the media should be questioning him on his own force's political policing.