This Petition was initiated by the Defend the Right to Protest Campaign.
Signatories include: Tariq Ali, Gigi Ibrahim (Egyptian activist and blogger), John McDonnell (MP), Mark Serwotka (PCS General Secretary), Ken Loach (Film Director), Owen Jones (Author of 'Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class'), Caroline Lucas (MP), Ken Fero (Injustice Film Director), Liam Burns (NUS President), Zita Holbourne (PCS NEC), Mark Thomas (Comedian), Jody McIntyre (Journalist and Equality Movement Activist) and UKUNCUT.
On 9th December 2010, tens of thousands of students took part in a national demonstration against MPs voting for £9,000 tuition fees in a mass show of unity against this deeply unpopular policy.Thousands who wanted to protest were met with police charges on horseback and kettling.
A senior doctor from Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, who set up a field hospital in Parliament Square, spoke of her experience of being kettled on Westminster Bridge, “It was the most disturbing thing I’ve ever seen – it must have been what Hillsborough was like. The crush was just so great.” She recorded people suffering from respiratory problems, chest pains and symptoms of severe crushing.
Jody McIntyre was pulled from his wheelchair and dragged along the pavement on the same demonstration.
University student Alfie Meadows came on the demonstration after being involved in a campaign at Middlesex University to save his philosophy department from closure. On 9th December, he was struck so hard on the head with a police baton that he needed emergency brain surgery.
Alfie lost his university department and when he protested he received a life threatening injury. But outrageously Alfie has since been charged with violent disorder and faces a trial on 26th March.
This forms part of a pattern of attacks on protest which has seen hundreds of students arrested and scores either charged or sentenced to long terms in prison.
We the undersigned demand an end to political charging and sentencing of protesters and call for all charges against Alfie Meadows to be dropped. We also call for a mobilisation of students, workers and campaigners outside his court hearing on Monday 26th March, 9AM, Kingston Crown Court.
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