On 7 August the Newcastle 14 (N14) Defence Campaign paid a visit to Etal Lane Police Station, to celebrate the campaign’s victory following the issuing of No Further Action notices to all of the 14 anti-racists arrested in 25 May, indicating that no charges will be brought because there is no evidence for the allegations of ‘conspiracy to commit violent disorder’, and to reclaim property that was seized during their arrests and in the subsequent raids on their homes. For the circumstances around the arrests see the statement here.
While some of the 14 had personal visits from Northumbria Police detectives in the last week to return their belongings, others had to phone the police repeatedly to ask for their things to be returned, and were incorrectly told the case was still ongoing. When these comrades and other N14 campaign supporters entered the police station to demand their belongings, they were repeatedly fobbed off and kept waiting. The campaign responded by settling in for the long haul with a picnic in the station grounds.
Evidently pannicked by such a violent and disorderly picnic, within minutes the police came out to say that everybody could now collect their things.
The protest was followed by a well-attended and productive campaign meeting, where concrete plans were made to expose those behind the arrests and hold them to account, through a series of legal and campaign actions. The campaign is calling for:
- Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird: investigate and tell us what was the basis for the arrests on 25 May, given that the police have now admitted there is no evidence of the alleged conspiracy to commit violent disorder?
- Dipu Ahad and other Labour councillors in Newcastle Unites: tell us who was the named person liaising with the police on behalf of Newcastle Unites on the day of the arrests, given that the police told those they arrested that they were acting because Newcastle Unites had told them FRFI were not welcome on the march?
- Newcastle TUC: investigate and act on the allegations of sexist violence by TUC Secretary Simpkin toward an FRFI supporter at the Newcastle Unites meeting on 7 May; publicly retract and apologise for the statement posted on the TUC website dated 22 May that seeks to smear FRFI with fabricated allegations of violence; lift the ban on FRFI/RCG and TCAR from the TUC Centre Against Unemployment, which was issued on 11 June.