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Lib Dem conference protester remanded in custody after banner drop

Alasdair Thompson (reposted) | 21.09.2011 08:56 | Policing | Public sector cuts | Repression | Birmingham

The three men remanded in custody for three days over the weekend, after a banner drop at the Liberal Democrat conference, appeared in court on Monday. The men were remanded as their membership of an “organization” showed that they could not be trusted not to cause danger to the public.

At court all three men pleaded not guilty denying entirely that they caused danger to road users. Even the prosecution accepted in court that “no damage or injury was caused.” Two of the men were bailed on the condition that they do not enter Birmingham City Centre but the other one – a 22 year old from Fleet in Hampshire – was refused bail on the grounds of a previous conviction for aggravated trespass, as well as his continuing trial for the peaceful occupation of the Fortnum and Mason shop on March 26th of this year. He has been sent to prison awaiting a review of his bail.

Clair Lister, a witness, said:

“The banner drop was very peaceful and no disruption or danger was caused to Motorists. When the police arrived at the bridge the men left immediately and went willingly into custody.”

One of the men arrested gave this quote:

"The actions of the police and CPS show a dangerous disregard for the right to peacefully protest. Sending someone to prison, before trial, for the crimes of dropping a banner and sitting down in a shop is an unacceptable waste of police resources and denial of our human right to protest. That our custody officer explicitly explained that the reason for remanding us in custody was our membership of an “organization” shows that the police are misusing their powers to suppress dissent.”

Michael Chessum from the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts and NUS national executive said:

”It is appalling that students taking part in peaceful protest are being victimised in this way. It is ludicrous that anyone would be remanded in custody for a minor traffic charge – and it’s clear that the behaviour of the police and the court is an attempt to intimidate and muzzle protests against the Liberal Democrats’ betrayal of education. Whether it’s kettles, intimidation, or tactical charges – it is becoming increasingly difficult for students and young people to say that they have a meaningful right to protest.”

Alasdair Thompson (reposted)
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  1. See you in Manchester — Antigen
  2. Prisoner support — Leeds ABC