DtRtP Conference Reportback: An inspiring and moving day – where now?

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OpeningPlenaryDtRtP would like to thank everyone who came along to our national conference on the weekend. You can watch videos of the opening plenary (featuring John McDonnell, Helen Steel, Jules Carey, Hamja Ahsan & Nina Power) and closing plenary (featuring Rev Sekou reporting on ongoing protests in Ferguson calling for Justice for Mike Brown). This report gives you a flavour of some of the key issues discussed during the day. There is also a video and report from the workshop on Deaths in Custody,  and a video of the fracking and protest policing panel. Recordings from all of the workshops will be available soon.

Around 250 people attended through the day with representatives from many campaigns, student unions, trade unions and organisations alongside families, lawyers, activists, writers and researchers, to discuss current threats to the right to protest and civil liberties alongside wider issues of state violence and injustice.

moving&inspiring dayIt was a moving and inspiring day and we would especially like to thank those families, friends and campaigners directly affected by the injustices we heard about throughout the day for their contributions and for their persistence.

Coming out of the conference, we encourage people to support these campaigns, to get involved with Defend the Right to Protest and be part of building a wider network of activists, campaigners, researches, writers & lawyers who are able to work together to raise awareness and organize around these issues.

The aggressive attacks on protest at parliament square in recent weeks and fresh threats to civil liberties, including the Tories promise abolish the HRA and introduce new “extremism orders”, underlines the particular importance of this work in the coming months. Read more in Nina Power’s piece We Have a duty to Rebel.

If you would like to invite someone from the campaign to speak, or help put an event on in your area, college, union or workplace please contact us on info@defendtherighttoprotest.org.

What Next? There are a number initiatives we are organising that we hope you can get involved in and support, as well as resources we can provide to support campaigns and protests you are involved in:

RevSekougivessolidaritySolidarity with Ferguson: We are aiming to raise funds to help bring over Rev Sekou, who has been heavily involved in the protests following Michael Brown’s death at the hands of police, for a tour of meetings in January 2015. More news will follow, but if you can help raise funds or would like to help put on an event contact us. As many groups across the US plan events to coincide with the Grand Jury’s decision on whether to indict the police officer responsible, Missouri’s governor has declared a state of emergency with the National Guard on call. Amnesty International has already documented human rights abuses against the treatment of people protesting in the wake of Mike Browns death. Calls have been made of international support, look out for local protests you can support, or let us know if you can help organise one.

FOA-page-001Special briefing on threats to protest: Following an interim DtRtP briefing on threats to FoAA (Freedom of Association and Assembly) since 2010, we plan to produce a fuller briefing bringing together the wide range of experiences of protesters in recent years. If you can contribute, whether as a protester (contributions can be anonymous), or someone who has written or researched this area, we would love to hear from you.

Defend Legal Aid – The assault on legal aid has already removed access to legal aid for many civil cases as well as to prisoners. However persistent campaigning has frustrated some of the cuts, including the introduction of a “residency test”. This month there are a number of events around the country with major events planned in the new year to coincide with official “Magna Carta celebrations”. You can also keep up to date with developments on the Justice Alliance website.

prisonSeminar Series: We will be hosting regular seminars in London, the first of which is on The Politics of Prisons on Tuesday 9th December, 7pm, SOAS rm 4429 with Sarah Lamble senior lecturer in law Birkbeck, Empty Cages Collective, Movement for Justice and others.  Come along if you can, and email us with ideas for issues and speakers as we plan forthcoming seminars for 2015.

Support us – Please Donate!

DtRtP is an independent, non-affiliated grass roots campaign entirely dependent for funding from individual donations and donations from supportive individuals, unions and campaigns. If you are able to commit to making a monthly donation (from £2 to £20!) please click here: To make a one off donation click here. There is also a motion to affiliate to the campaign for unions and groups.

Writer, designer, researcher, lawyer, law student, other?! There are many ways you can contribute from distributing bust cards, to assisting with court support, contributing to our blog, helping to design flyers to posters, badges, publicity campaigns, developing legal advice resources for our website, or sharing/collaborating with us on research projects in relevant areas. Please contact us if you can assist!

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN ANY OF THE ABOVE – WE’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU!
*info@defendtherighttoprotest.org *twitter @righttoprotest * Fb Defend the Right to Protest * Defend the Right to Protest, BM DTRTP, London, WC1N 3XX

Here is a list of some of the different campaigns that attended or spoke at the conference – we encourage to find out more about how you can support them: A Living Wage for Rity Staff. Blacklist Support Group. Cage. Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance. DPAC. Free Talha Ashan. Fuel Poverty Action. Fully Focused. Green and Black Cross. Hillsborough Justice Campaign. INQUEST. Justice for Amy Jowett. Justice Alliance. Justice for Barton Moss. Justice for Christopher Alder. Justice for Leon. Justice for Mark Duggan. London Campaign Against Police and State Violence (LCAPSV). Mena Solidarity. Migrant Media. NETPOL. NUS Black Students Campaign. Occupy. Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign. StopWatch. Sean Rigg Truth and Justice Campaign. SOAS Student Union. Spies Out of Our Lives. Strike. United Family & Friends Campaign.

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