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Defend the Right to Protest
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Financial Appeal Letter (download)
Help fund Defend the Right to Protest
A special appeal supported by John McDonnell MP and Louise Christian, human rights lawyer
The freedom to protest is fundamental for us all.
The unanimous acquittal of Alfie Meadows and Zak King after a campaign lasting over two years – and three trials – is an important victory for the right to protest. But too many student protesters have ended up in jail. Time and again, young people have found themselves isolated and unable to defend themselves effectively. Often the campaign met them too late in the day.
Alfie is now campaigning to hold the police responsible for his injuries to account. Despite the success of students in fighting their cases not a single officer has been charged with violence relating to the protests.
The struggle against austerity – from the bedroom tax to the attacks on the NHS – makes the work of Defend the Right to Protest crucial at this time.
A highly critical report by the UN Special Rapporteur outlines some of the threats to the right to protest in the United Kingdom. Kettling is ‘detrimental to the exercise of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly due to its indiscriminate and disproportionate nature.’ He described ‘appalling stories of peaceful protestors, as well as innocent by-standers – such as tourists – held for long hours with no access to water or sanitary facilities.’ (United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, 25th January 2013)
Please support our work to protect those who march, demonstrate, occupy or strike. As a grassroots network we are entirely reliant on the support of trade unions, campaigning groups and individuals to resource the work we do.
John McDonnell MP
Louise Christian human rights lawyer
Your money will help us to
Mount effective campaigns behind individual defendants as in the case of Alfie Meadows and Zak King
Pay for bust cards for distribution on major protests and demonstrations
Cover the expenses incurred by people providing court support for defendants
Produce campaigning material such as flyers, stickers and placards
Fund literature packs for defendants and families going through the court system
Resource up to date research on attacks on protest and policing
Extend our campaigning work nationally
Host conferences and major public events
Maintain a DTRTP contact phone line
Fund a part time worker for the campaign
Donations will help to build the next steps in the campaign:
Defend the Right to Protest has made a difference. But in a climate of ongoing protest against cuts and austerity we face fresh atacks. At Sussex University, for example, a major campaign against privatisation has been met with a campus wide ban on all protest without prior permission and the arrest and charging of 5 students. This is one small example of the ongoing need for campaign that can help build an effective response in defence of protesters against such attacks.
The struggle for justice for protesters who have cleared their names in court is also not over. Alfie Meadows will now be campaigning to hold the police responsible for his injuries to account. We must show that we will not allow the police to act with impunity against those who march, demonstrate, occupy or strike.
As part of this campaign we intend to highlight and support those challenging the wider scandal of police violence and injustice which has seen 1443 die in police custody since 1990. This will include building support for the United Family and Friends march on October as well as hosting a major natonal conference in the Autumn 2013 to discuss attacks on protest and wider issues of police violence and racism.
DtRtP will be mounting a challenge to the excessive sentencing of protesters with a high profile campaign against the use of the violent disorder charge under the Public Order Act – a move designed to secure custodial sentences and deter protesters with “exemplary sentences”.
Other inititatives include commissioning up to date research on the policing of the student protests and a publication which will enable us to carry the expericnes of the campaign and testimonies of defendants into our movement.