A message from Defend the Right to Protest
October 10, 2012 Leave a comment
Please find a message from the Defend the Right to Protest Campaign below. Their conference will be held this Sunday 14th October, 11.30 -5.30pm, ULU, Malet St. It is sponsored by NUS, UCU, PCS and CWU.
We would like to invite you to our national conference on Austerity, Injustice and the power of Protest on Sunday 14th October at ULU.
Defend the Right to Protest was launched following the student demonstrations of 2010 against the tripling of tuition fees and the scrapping of the EMA in the context of widespread concern at violent police tactics, arrests and criminalisation of students. This included the kettling of students for hours on end in freezing conditions, indiscriminate police batoning which led to serious injuries, such as Alfie Meadows who had to undergo emergency brain surgery, and the exemplary sentencing in the courts which saw some young people imprisoned for up to 36 months.
Supported by the NUS and the UCU the campaign has bought staff and students together to campaign against the attacks on student and other protesters from UK Uncut activists charged for campaigning against tax evasion to PHD student Owen Holland who was initially suspended for 2 and a half years for reading a subversive poem to David Willetts.
This Autumn we have already seen the destructive impact of the Coalitions attacks on education that students like Alfie Meadows took a stand against. This has already led to renewed protests, for example, in support of international students at London Met. It is part of a wider and growing opposition to cuts and austerity which is expected to bring up to a million people out onto the streets for the TUC March against austerity on 20th October and tens of thousands for the NUS backed national student demonstration on 21st November.
It is in this context that we hope Defend the Right to Protest Conference will provide a forum both to discuss how we respond to the attacks on protest and what we can learn from protest movements here and internationally.
The conference has a fantastic line up of speakers including Owen Jones, Sheila Cohen Hillsborough Justice Campaign, Jules Carey Ian Tomlinsons solicitor, John McDonnell MP, commentator Darcus Howe, Gareth Peirce civil rights lawyer as well as student defendants such as Frank Fernie who was imprisoned for 12 months and Alfie Meadows awaiting trial.
It will include a forum with an Executive member of Classe talking about the successful struggle against fees in Quebec and a session with author Nina Power and Maggie Mitchel, parent of a student defendant, on ‘defending our right to defend education’. Other sessions include reading the riots, police violence & racism – the fight for justice and organising solidarity with global protest movements. For a full timetable click here
We would also encourage you to support our campaigns, including the Justice for Aflie Meadows campaign in the run up to Alfie’s re-trail on 29th Oct
Check out our website and fb for regular updates (defend the right to protest) and follow us on twitter @righttoprotest.
Finally if you are part of a union branch please support our conference and campaign by passing our motion or donating to and sponsoring the conference.
Defend the Right to Protest
Speakers include: Sheila Coleman Hillsborough Justice Campaign, Darcus Howe, Mark Serwotka (PCS General Secretary), Owen Jones, Nina Power, Marcia and Sam Rigg (Sean Rigg Justice & Change Campaign), Janet Alder (Justice for Christopher Alder), John McDonnell MP, Tony Benn, Alfie Meadows (injured student protester), Hannah Dee (Chair DTRTP), Matt Foot (campaigning lawyer), Ken Fero (Film maker/director of ‘Injustice’), Nick Wrack (socialist lawyer), Unjum Mirza (RMT), Maggie Mitchell (mother of imprisoned student protester), Dannie Grufferty (NUS VP), Deborah Coles (Inquest), Jelena Timotijevic (DTRTP convenor and UCU NEC), Fahim Alam (acquitted after post-riot arrest), Susan Matthews (mother of defendant), Estelle De-Bouley (Newham Monitoring Project), Jeremie Bedard-Wien (executive member of CLASSE, Quebec, Jennifer Hilliard (mother of acquitted student), Jules Carey (lawyer representing Ian Tomlinson’s family) and many others