"I have long argued that the giving of offence, and even hate speech, should be a moral matter but not a matter for the criminal law. That is as true on the football pitch as on the streets. We should always challenge racism. We should also always challenge attacks on liberties in the guise of faux antiracism." Kenan Malik

Local Labour Party Activists Urge For Enquiry Into Police Tactics


So if you’re in the Labour Party and just happen to be passing-feel free!

Statement

As a member of Norwich Labour Party I …………………………………….. would like to add my voice to the call for a full public inquiry into the policing tactics used yesterday outside Parliament. Eyewitness accounts now emerging on the internet, through the main public news networks and now in the press, suggest that the official government position that the near breakdown in public order in London last night arose not from a small well organised ‘anarchist’ group intent on damaging life, limb and property but was a direct result of the police practice of ‘Kettling’. From last nights violence it is clear that this relatively new practice of policing, legitimate public protests, is rapidly leading to grave public order issues.

Tonight we have news that a 20 year old student called Alfie Meadows, sustained near life threatening head injuries in the battle that erupted outside Parliament. Fortunately he was found by his mother wandering the streets by Parliament taken to hospital by ambulance where he immediately had an emergency operation that undoubtedly saved his life. If he had not been discovered and had passed out it is entirely possible that today we would be discussing not simply the protest of the students that accompanied the debate on raising tuition fees in the house of commons but the cutting short of the life of a person who’s only crime was that of exercising his democratic rights.

Regardless of the issue that surrounds the question of how to fund further and higher education we can not accept the curtailment of our right to protest through fear of what the state might do, or more precisely, the limits set by the metropolitan police practice of ‘Kettling’. Therefore a public inquiry into what were the causes of last nights violence is urgently required because it is now impossible to determine the validity of the statements of either the metropolitan police or the government. More over it is of vital concern locally as there are serious implications for policing of future protests in Norfolk.

On Monday (6th) a lobby of Norfolk County Council by students from Norwich City College protesting at the cuts to their travel subsidy took place and was publicly applauded by the Tory County Council leader from the steps of County Hall. However from eyewitness accounts by County Council employees and a Labour Councillor, we now know that the ‘riot police’ with police dogs had been garrisoned in the County Hall car park out of sight of the 300 plus students assembled on the grass in front of the building. Neither the students nor the media who had dutifully turned up to record the march, lobby and reception (BBC’s Look East) were aware of this. Of course the argument is that the ‘riot police’ are there to restore order but at this stage, following the disturbances in London, it is impossible to say whether they were not in fact the cause. If the ‘riot police’ had been used on Monday it is entirely possible that it would have been Norfolk and not just London that would be in the national and international news tonight.

Signed ………………………….. Date …/…/… Organisation ……………………..

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