It’s been three days shy of a year, but for seven UK Uncut protesters and a legal observer, justice has finally been done. The verdict arrived this afternoon – NOT GUILTY.
We’re obviously on top of the world, but we feel the need to emphasise our solidarity with the twenty-one protesters who stood in court before us and who didn’t see the same verdict.
We hope that our verdict shows that it was a peaceful protest and we clearly did not intend to ‘intimidate’ anyone, and that today’s result should cast a light on the upcoming appeals of our fellow demonstrators.
The fight isn’t over though. New legislation this week is making tax dodging more and more appealing to those who can afford the accountants, at the same time the austerity measures are taking their brutal effect.
Stay tuned. Stay active. Stay activists.
This drama about UK activism tells the story of what happened when radio producers got a little too close to the action.
With recordings of the protests mixed with drama recordings, actual participants mixed with actors, Occupied creates a world of sound that is both authentic and original.
The play is made in collaboration with artist and activist John Jordan; as well containing sound from within the Fortnum and Mason sit-in it also documents the actual moments when a crowd of activists decide to make camp outside St Paul’s cathedral.
What emerges is not only a play about three people trying to make a play – it’s about how and why people protest in the UK.
You can listen to the radio play on the BBC website.
It hit the airwaves on 17 February 2012, 14:15 on BBC Radio 4.
25th November: 7pm-1am
RESISTANCE RIDDIMZ brings inspiration and solidarity through a fantastic mix of talks, poetry, comedy, live bands, Hip Hop and DJs.
Go to the event page on Facebook
Heres an introduction to just some the people and groups that will be performing or speaking.. Read the rest of this entry »
Tommorrow, 10 UK Uncut activists begin their three week trial at Westminster Magistrates Court over their alleged involvement in a tax avoidance protest inside Fortnum and Mason.
Of the 145 people originally arrested at the luxury store on March 26 this year, 29 face trials which will be conducted by the courts in three separate groups, ending in March next year.
The Crown Prosecution Service have charged all the defendants with Aggravated Trespass, alleging that each had an “intention to intimidate”.
Across the three weeks of this first trial Chief Police Officers will be cross examined and the defence are expected to challenge their controversial decision to use ‘mass arrest’ tactics. Information will be revealed about the alleged misleading of protesters by the police  and claims that arrests were made for intelligence gathering purposes , as part of what the protestors brand ‘political policing’. Read the rest of this entry »
Can you help to promote the workshops outside court on the 10th?
Just print out the fliers and the poster below and hand them out to whoever you can!
Your support is greatly appreciated – we need as many people as possible to come along and learn more about our right to protest and the threats against it.
Thursday 10 November is the first day of the trial for the Fortnum145. Come and show your support outside the court for a demonstration with workshops, talks and music.
City Of Westminster Magistrates Court
181 Marylebone Road, NW1 5HB
London, United Kingdom
Thurs 10 November
12 – 2pm
Tell us you’ll be there via the Facebook event
As 11 defendants face their first day on trial for a sit-in protest at Fortnum and Mason last March, we’ll be there to show our support. As well as the usual banners and chants there will also be workshops on topics from Tax Justice and the Cuts to the History of Civil Disobedience and Knowing your Rights; Talks from well known political figures and live music.
We will be exploring the injustices that motivated the protest in the first place and discussing the disproportionate and political nature of the response received from the police and the government, from mass arrest to trial.
This demonstration will show those on trial that we support them, and is a space to raise the important issues that bring them to the court room. And if you work in London, it’s conveniently timed so you can pop-along during your lunch break!
Trial begins 10th November.
Come and show your support outside the court.
You can also help by handing out flyers and posters!
On 19th August, the second half of the defendants remaining from the occupation of Fortnum and Masons will appear in court to enter their pleas and have their court dates set.
(See the Facebook event here)
Our support is both an incredible morale boost for those facing the daunting prospect of the courtroom and also sends a clear message to those few that want to quash the right to protest.
City Of Westminster Magistrates Court, 70 Horseferry Road, London
Friday 19th August 2011
Time to meet
You all know the story by now…
The F&M occupation was described by a senior police officer on the scene as ‘sensible’ and ‘non-violent’. Another description of the sit-in reads: “the perfect accompaniment to my tea and scones” – a sit-in to draw attention to the £10m/year tax-dodge by Wittington Investments, the owners of Fortnum & Mason while the rest of the country faces deep cuts to public spending and services.
After being assured that they could leave safely and unhindered, the protesters were kettled by riot police. They were then arrested one by one – some none too gently! despite the lack of resistance on the behalf of the protesters – handcuffed and flung all across London for detention. The arrestees had their clothes and property confiscated, their DNA and fingerprints taken and stored. In possible breaches of arrest protocol, the arrestees were not intereviewed and some went without food for the 23+ hours that they were held. Protesters were finally released after up to the full maximum 24 hours detention in all white tracksuits/paper suits in unfamiliar areas of London – a sizeable number of arrestees being from far outside London.
Lynne Owens, the Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, has admitted that the arrests were made for intelligence purposes.
The arrests have been universally condemned – as ‘confusing political anger with criminality’ and ”threaten[ing] the right to peacefully protest’. A coalition of unions and NGOs released a statement of support for the protesters saying that they ‘were treated in a political and deceptive manner by the police which sends an ominous message about the right to protest’.
Tax avoiders should be on trial, not protestors who raise awareness of their scams so please come and support the second half of the remaining defendants.
In July MumsUncut held a tea party in Southampton to raise funds to help with the FM145 campaign. It was super fun and we raised £148. We hope our fundraising campaign continues well, and it’s a good job that we have a lot less work to do now (that they’ve dropped 115 cases)!
Have you seen this? The Daily Express has posted this disgusting article, slandering protesters.
We wanted to be able to get you all to submit an official complaint to the Press Complaints Commission, but apparently the Express will no longer be covered by Press Complaints Commission as they’ve stopped paying into Press Standards Board of Finance, which funds the regulator.
Ah well. Social media seems to be the regulator of today, anyway.
How about we let the Express know what we think of them via Twitter instead?
EDIT: You could also phone up their newsdesk, if you feel like you have anything to say to them: on 0207 098 2982