Freedom Firebombed: Arson at anarchist bookshop in London
Freedom, London's oldest anarchist bookshop, was firebombed in the early hours of 1st February. Early reports suggest the bookshop on the ground floor and the building's electrics were “seriously damaged”. Thankfully, nobody was hurt in the attack.
In the early hours of the morning the Freedom Press bookshop in Whitechapel was firebombed. At about 5:30am a window was smashed and petrol poured into the shop and set alight.
Freedom Bookshop is home of Freedom newspaper, Britain's longest running anarchist newspaper, as well as the Freedom Press, the country's largest anarchist publishers. It also offers facilities for a number of radical and anarchist organisations including the Anarchist Federation, the Solidarity Federation, London Coalition Against Poverty, the Advisory Service for Squatters and Corporate Watch.
Freedom was founded in 1886 by volunteers including Peter Kropotkin and Charlotte Wilson. As well as arson attacks, the paper has also suffered repression at the hands of the state, with four editors being arrested for attempting “to undermine the affections of members of His Majesty's Forces” in 1945. Contributors to the paper have included Emma Goldman, George Orwell and Ethel Mannin. The bookshop remains a vital and lively hub for the anarchist movement in Britain.
The bookshop was fitted with metal shutters following a bombing by members of Combat 18, a British neo-fascist group, in 1993.
The manager of the bookshop Andy Meinke, speaking from the pub where the staff have been forced to relocate said:
Freedom will carry on in the same haphazard way it always has – the Fascists have just driven us to the pub a little bit earlier in the day than otherwise. Although copies of the Raven have been irreparably damaged which, as you can imagine, is a great loss to the movement. We thank all those who have contacted us today with their solidarity. We remain united in the struggle against fascism.