Home > activism, anticuts, community, free hetherington, politics > Arrested anticuts activists charges dropped

Arrested anticuts activists charges dropped

Today 9 anticuts activists in Glasgow who were arrested over the last month for political demonstrations have had the charges dropped against them.  Arresting and charging protesters is designed to waste our time, cause us stress and intimidate us from fighting for a fairer world.

As one of the arrestees I am obviously very relieved to not have this hanging over me any longer.  As a healthcare worker I’ve been unable to work as one of my now dropped charges was for police assault.  I’ve been really worried as even though the charges were obviously ridiculous, there’s always a risk when you go to court that you will be found guilty, and that would have meant the end to my career for which I studied for 4 years.

Being arrested and charged, even when you are found not guilty or, as in this case the charges are dropped before trial, is a punishment in itself.  Personally it has meant that I was dragged out of bed early in the morning, handcuffed and put in a police van in front of all my neighbours, spent 5 hours in a police cell, had my full details, photograph, fingerprints and DNA taken, spent hours preparing my legal defence and not been able to earn money for the past month.  In addition I’ve suffered sleeplessness and been unable to focus on my studies.

Arresting protesters, like kettling us, is designed to make activism unpleasant and frightening.  It is an attempt at intimidating us from activism.  And in these times that wouldn’t just mean accepting an unfair status quo, but allowing a privileged minority to destroy our public sector and welfare state.  Thats why we need to keep supporting those who were picked up at demonstrations so that being targetted and arrested is not too horrific an experience and the fear of it puts no one off from making a stand for what they believe in.  Show solidarity; buy them a pint when they get out of the police cell, write them letters while they’re held on remand or in prison, and hold demonstrations to raise awareness of how protesters are treated by the state.  But at the same time we mustn’t allow defence against the police attacks on us to divert all our time and energy away from why we were demonstrating in the first place.

Thats why the demonstration in Glasgow on Saturday against political policing was so correct.  Instead of just campaigning against the arrests, an RBS branch was occupied as part of the ongoing anticuts direct actions against those who caused the financial “crisis”.  Don’t allow the attempted intimidation of protest to succeed!  With our solidarity, affection and friendship for those bearing the brunt of police repression we can turn these attacks on our activism into a source of strength and renewal for the movement for a better world.

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