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We are not afraid! We are all Alfie Meadows, Bryan Simpson, Jody McIntyreBryan

This morning dozens of supporters gathered outside the hearing of Middlesex University student Alfie Meadows at the City of Westminster Magistrates Court. Alfie nearly died from a brain haemorrhage after being struck by police at the 9 December and now faces charges of violent disorder. Students and activists from across London turned out to show their solidarity, bringing a variety of campaign and trade union banners. All those who defend the right to protest are invited to turn out at 9am tomorrow (Friday) for the hearing of Bryan Simpson, a Strathclyde University student arrested for occupying Millbank on 10 November.

These hearings follow a major meeting where speech after eloquent speech made sense of a mad world in which police who hit protesters go free while those they injure are prosecuted.  The charges against protesters divert the energy of the protest movement from fighting the cuts to fighting the charges.  Those who fight to be heard are forced into silence by legal proceedings.  As the cuts bite and the economy slows down, new levels of repression are meted out to those who protest at the loss of jobs and welfare and at threats to the health service and the possibility of education for all.

One of the biggest ovations was given to Merlin Emanuel, the nephew of the musician Smiley Culture, who died from a stab wound whilst being arrested in a police raid.  Merlin had come from supporting Smiley Culture’s mother who is seriously ill.  The light had gone out from her eyes, Merlin said.  He had not been particularly political before Smiley’s death, he said, but now he could not remain silent and knew he had to fight injustice wherever he saw it, speaking out about the succession of deaths in police custody, all too often deaths of black men.  Black activists, as another speaker pointed out, are seven times more likely to be arrested than the rest of the population.

Any one on the protests could have been arrested or injured, so it was no surprise to see many new faces at the meeting.  As John McDonnell said, in a recession when people’s lives and livelihoods are threatened they can react with flight or fight.  Instead of being frightened off protest we must make our slogan ‘we are not afraid’.  Soon there will be just too many protesters to be charged, said Catherine, one of the 145 arrested Fortnum and Mason protesters: there were so many arrests that there were no cells to house them and the trial may have to select a symbolic twenty because the courts cannot cope.  Marvellously, the police woman who arrested Catherine was volunteering because she was going to be made redundant and was hoping to get into the police force.  Ironies multiply.  The government provides military support for protest in Benghazi but, in Jody McIntyre’s eloquent words, puts pro-democracy activists on trial at Westminster Magistrate’s Court.  To Jody, the definition of violent disorder – where three or more people threaten unlawful violence – perfectly fitted the behaviour of police on the days of the student protests.

The veteran campaigner Tony Benn saw today’s protesters as carrying on a noble tradition stretching from the Peasants’ revolt to the Tolpuddle Martyrs and the Suffragettes.  All these campaigners were told that they would be reviled, frightened, charged and silenced.  But if they went on and on and on in the end those in power would pretend they had been on our side all the time.  Those who fight for our rights are heroes who fight for all.  An assault on one is an assault on all for any of those who protested could have faced a baton strike or a criminal charge.  We fight to protect all those who have been injured or charged and call on everyone who deplores the cuts to stand by protesters and fight for justice.

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Outrageous decision by IPCC on attack on Jody McIntyre

In a totally outrageous decision, a Metropolitan Police investigation supervised by the IPCC has concluded that police officers were “justified” in pulling Jody McIntyre from his wheelchair and hitting him with a baton at the student fees demonstrations.

A statement from the force said: “The investigation, supervised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), did not find evidence to substantiate any of the complaints made by Jody McIntyre regarding two separate incidents at the demonstrations.”

Defend the Right to Protest will be campaigning vigorously to publicise and overturn this wholly unacceptable decision which is a clear and cynical attack on our right to protest. More to follow.

Jody McIntyres response in The Independent:

Sign the petition: online version / printable version

Video of police dragging Jody from his wheelchair:

The BBC interview Jody after the incident:

Police wheelchair attack ‘lawful’ The Independent

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Not guilty

14 year old student found not guilty of assaulting a police on a protests against cuts. Robbie says: “I’ve learned a painful lesson about how the police deal with young people who decide to play an active role in their community. These cuts will be damaging to my generation and we should not be punished for standing up for our rights.”

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PUBLIC FORUM to call for police not protesters to be put in the dock WEDS 8TH JUNE, 7PM, ULU



JODY MCINTYRE: “The police have proved themselves to be a violent gang that are out of control. In my case, they consider a video of a police officer pulling a man out of his wheelchair and dragging him across the road to amount to ‘no evidence’. In the case of Smiley Culture, they have provided no explanation as to how a police raid of a man’s home resulted in that man dying from a single stab wound. In the case of Alfie Meadows, they are charging a student who almost died as a result of their violent actions. Just as PC Simon Harwood is now being charged for the death of Ian Tomlinson, it is the Metropolitan Police who should be on trial for violent disorder, not student activists.”

SUSAN MATTHEWS & MATTHEW MEADOWS - ALFIE MEADOWS PARENTS: “As Alfie’s parents  we still feel extraordinarily lucky that he survived a serious assault by a police officer.  We will never forget the long night we spent waiting to know whether his brain operation would be successful.  We look forward to the release of the findings of the IPCC investigation.   He has now been charged with violent disorder.  The case will be heard in open court where  Alfie will protest his innocence.  We support our son in his quest for justice.”

JOHN MCDONNELL MP: “The use of pre crime arrests, violent police tactics, dragging more and more people through the courts, and threats of new anti trade union legislation, all represent a concerted attempt to suppress protests against the Government. They are simply provoking greater and more determined resistance.”

SARA TOMLINSON - STOP KETTLING OUR KIDS/NUT: “We insist that our young school and college students must have the freedom to protest without fear of violence.”



Weds 8th June, 7pm,
University of London Union (ULU), Malet St

BRYAN SIMPSON (arrested for occupying Millbank)
SARA TOMLINSON –NUT & Stop Kettling our Kids
THE GUILLOTINE 3 (under suspicion for conspiracy to commit street theatre)


Flyer to download and print

Poster to download and print

This week Alfie Meadows, the student protester who needed life-saving brain surgery after the December 9th demonstration last year, will face charges of violent disorder at Westminster Crown Court. With him will be many others facing similarly serious charges including affray and aggravated trespass. All those accused are people who expressed their legal right to protest at one of the demonstrations against this current government’s attempt to impose austerity measures.

Last week, an IPCC supervised inquiry found that police were ‘justified’ in dragging disabled student protester Jody McIntyre from his wheelchair, even if they did admit to ‘inadvertently’ hitting him with a baton. While Simon Harwood is eventually facing manslaughter charges for the death of Ian Tomlinson, protesters and the right to protest are under threat everywhere, as we see in the criminalisation of student and other protesters, the attempts to scare potential protesters away from future demonstrations by threats of police violence and the pre-emptive arrests of supposed ‘troublemakers’ in advance of the royal wedding.

To bring together all those concerned about the real threats to freedom of assembly we are now facing, and an increasingly brutal coalition government, supporters will be holding their own hearing regarding where ‘violence’ is really coming from – outside the court hearings of Alfie Meadows and other arrested student protesters this Thursday and Friday. The night before, Defend the Right to Protest will be holding a public forum at ULU with speakers including Tony Benn, Jody McIntyre, John McDonnell MP, UK Uncut and many others.


9th June, Westminster City Court, 70 Horseferry Road, at 9am

The cases of Alfie Meadows, Jody McIntyre, Smiley Culture, Kingsley Burrell Brown and Ian Tomlinson highlight the scale of violent and political policing in Britain today and the impunity with which they are being allowed to operate.

ALFIE MEADOWS was hit so hard by a police baton during the student fees protest on 9 December that he required three hours emergency brain surgery. He has been charged with violent disorder, despite an ongoing IPCC investigation into the police behaviour towards him on the day.

JODY MCINTYRE was struck with a police baton, forcefully removed from his wheelchair twice, and dragged across the road by a police officer. Last week, an internal police investigation supervised by the IPCC concluded that Jody was ‘inadvertently’ struck with the baton, and that his removal from his wheelchair was ‘justifiable and lawful’.

SMILEY CULTURE died from stab wounds during a police raid on his home.

KINGSLEY BURRELL BROWN died in suspicious circumstances after being sectioned in a mental institute by the police.

IAN TOMLINSON died after being pushed to the ground by a police officer at the G20 demonstrations. After initially denying any involvement, the DPS have now charged PC Simon Harwood with manslaughter.


The action against Jody McIntyre was percieved justifiable given the officers’ perceived risk to him - a risk blamed on the violent disorder of protesters. This follows hard on the heels of the outrageous decision to charge Alfie Meadows with violent disorder

In reality the violence that occurred on the fees demonstrations came from the police. Many peaceful protesters were charged by mounted officers or with batons and shields, and thousands were contained in a kettle for hours into the night without food, water, shelter or toilet facilities.

The unlawful killing of Ian Tomlinson during the G20 protests show these are not isolated incidents but part of wider pattern of police violence.

In March this year Smiley Culture died from stab wounds sustained during a police raid on his home. Thousands have joined Smiley Culture’s family in demanding answers and justice. They have been told to await the result of an IPCC investigation.

But how can anyone trust the IPCC to rule on a case involving the police that took place at Smiley Culture’s home when they allow the police to get away with justifying violence towards Jody McIntyre which featured widely on BBC news footage?

The treatment of Alfie, Jody and Smiley Culture and many others shows that a culture of impunity surrounds the issue of police violence.

It also shows that while protesters can face jail terms simply for speaking out against cuts, police officers are still not held to account for their violent actions, even when they result in death.

On the 8th June we will be holding a public forum to discuss how we can organise to defend arrested protesters, win justice for victims of police violence and assert our right to protest.

On 9th June, the day Alfie Meadows faces his first hearing, supporters will be coming to the court to demand the charges against him are dropped. We will be demanding justice for Aflie Meadows, Jody McIntyre, Smiley Culture and all other victims of police brutality.

On 10th June more student protesters, including BRYAN SIMPSON (see below) will be in court -charged for there involvement in mass demonstrations against fees and cuts.

The campaign urges everyone to get involved and defend the right to protest.

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DROP THE CHARGES! - Support protesters at their hearings

Bryan Simpson - a university student facing charges for occupying Millbank against education cuts

City of Westminster Magistrates Court, 70 Horseferry Road, London SW1P 2

Hearings of students including Alfie Meadows

Hearings of students including Bryan Simpson

MONDAY 4 July, 9AM
Hearing of Fortnum & Masons occupiers


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