This open letter was published in the Guardian on Friday November 18th:
This week, the first 10 defendants from the blanket arrest of people joining the UK Uncut protest in Fortnum & Mason’s were found guilty, despite their actions being described by the senior police officer on the scene as “non-violent and sensible”(Report, 18 November). The judge ruled that the simple act of “demonstrating” is potentially intimidating, and therefore a crime. Read the rest of this entry »
Today, the 10 of us who were on trial have been found guilty of taking part in a protest.
A protest that was dubbed ‘sensible’ by the senior police officer at the scene.
We were standing up, or more accurately sitting down, against our government making harsh cuts to public services, whilst letting companies like Fortnum and Masons get away with dodging a total of tens of billions of pounds of tax every year.
Then we are put on trial, whilst it’s clear the real criminals are the tax dodgers, the politicians and the bankers who caused this financial crisis and who continue to profit.
We are supposed to have a democratic right to protest yet people like us, exercising that right and expressing our discontent feel the force of the law and receive harsh and disproportionate sentences.
We have been convicted of Aggravated Trespass, an example of a law created in the 1990’s as an attack on our rights to protest and which is used in situations like this one to turn protesting into a crime.
We will, of course, continue to fight this and will be appealing the judgement.
As the government’s cuts continue to destroy the economy and people’s lives we will not be put off by these attempts at humiliating and punishing us.
The defendants recieved ‘conditional discharges’ and fines, and a collective total of £10,000 debt towards ‘prosecution’s costs’.
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