Yesterday saw the first court appearance of five anti-fascist protesters charged in relation to the anti-BNP demonstration which took place on June 1st this year. Shortly after the death of Lee Rigby in May the BNP tried to mobilise a march to Woolwich, where he was killed. After a police ban stopped this taking place 100 BNP members rallied in Whitehall instead, attempting to march on the Cenotaph war memorial. Hundreds of anti-fascists organised on the day, massively outnumbering the fascists and preventing them from marching.
The police used aggressive tactics on the day, arresting 58 people and breaking one womans leg. The 5 protesters, who have been charged with breaching section 14 of the public order act, all pleaded not guilty yesterday and will present a united defense case. They will challenge the proportionality and therefore legality of the section which was put in place and will also challenge the claim that they knowingly broke it. A five day trial will now take place beginning the 14th April.
The case has important implications for anti-fascists. The mass arrests on the day were a taste of what was to come in Tower Hamlets weeks later where 286 people were arrested. Of those only four have been charged. Its crucial that we now throw ourselves into defence campaigns for all those being charged and resist the police’s attempts to intimidate us out of protest. DtRtP will be organising events and fundraisers to build support for the defendants over the coming months.
What can you do?
1. Supporters can send messages of support to the defendants by emailing info@defendtherighttoprotest.
2. Another great way to help would be to invite someone to your campus or union to talk about the arrests and defense campaigns.
3. DtRtP will have a planning meeting on Monday 18th November at 6pm in ULU to discuss how to take the campaign forwards, all are welcome.
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