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Defend the Right to Protest » Motion


Pass this motion through your organisation or union branch

We note

1) The increasing use of violent police tactics against protesters including routine use of

kettling, batons and charges by mounted police. During the student demonstrations last

year, for example, thousands were kettled without food or water for hours into the winter

night. Alfie Meadows needed emergency brain surgery after being hit with a baton and

Jody McIntyre was twice dragged from his wheelchair by police.

2) The arrest and targeting of large numbers of protesters including 145 UK Uncut

protesters who peacefully occupied Fortnum & Mason on the TUC March for the

Alternative and anti-fascist activists involved in organising an anti-EDL demonstration

in Bolton 2010.

3) The excessive charging of protesters which has seen significant numbers charged with

violent disorder for actions which have injured no-one;  and the “exemplary” sentencing

of protestors. These include Frank Fernie, a student who was sentenced to 12 months in

prison for throwing 2 flimsy placard sticks during a police kettle.

4) The Defend the Right to Protest campaign supported by MPs, NUS, UCU, PCS,

CWU and many academics, campaign groups and individuals including Tony Benn,

David Harvey, Naomi Klein, Slavoj Žižek, Ken Loach and Billy Bragg among others.

We believe

1) There is no place for crowd control and intimidation tactics by the police that threaten

the right to protest and deter people from protesting.

2) The political nature of the police tactics and charges, court judgments and sentencing

seeks to deter future protests at the very time when the government’s cuts to public

services are opposed by millions.

3) It is in all our interests to develop, in the current climate, a campaign to publicise the

injustice of the arrests, sentencing and police tactics, to support those protestors facing

serious charges, and to defend our right to protest.

We resolve

1) To publicise and support meetings, protests, petitions and other forms of solidarity

organised to show support for those arrested. This to include supporting the protest

called outside Kingston Crown Court on the first day of Alfie Meadows hearing on 26

March 2012.

2) To “twin” with imprisoned protesters under the Defend the Right to Protest “twin with

a prisoner” scheme: to write letters of support and keep in contact with them.

3) To join the UCU and NUS in calling for a public inquiry into the arrests and police

violence against demonstrators, and to call for a similar enquiry into the overcharging of


4) To endorse the Justice for Bolton motion and action plan on the right to protest.


5) To affiliate to the Defend the Right to Protest campaign.

6) To contribute £50/100/200 to the Defend the Right to Protest campaign.

Defend the Right to Protest motion l

Facebook page: defendtherighttoprotest l Twitter: @righttoprotest

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