A demonstration protesting against political policing has been planned for the 16th of February outside of Newcastle Central Police Station. There have been four arrests made throughout the movement in Newcastle so far, the HSBC 3, Mark Pearson, Patrick Reay, and Toby Hobbs, who were arrested on and around the 18th December 2010, and also a fourth protestor, Ewan Brown, who was arrested when protesting David Cameron’s visit to the Centre for Life on 14th January. Some young Newcastle activists were also arrested on a protest in Manchester on 29th January 2011. Demonstrators argue that none of the arrests were justified, and in all cases it seemed that the police were trying to create a level of intimidation, to prevent people from wanting to continue protesting.
Students Against Cuts released the following statement: ‘Throughout every anti-cuts protest so far, police up and down the country have been shown to use violent, unethical behaviour towards students and workers simply exercising their democratic right to protest. Examples include the case of Alfie Meadows, a student struck on the head by a police officer, resulting in brain damage, or the case of Jody McIntyre, a sufferer of cerebral palsy, who was dragged out of his wheelchair and along the concrete ground by police officers on 2 separate occasions. Both of these examples happened in London, however the police in Newcastle are no different. Everyone who has been on any of these protests will most likely describe witnessing a police officer using violence against a protestor. However, we have a right to demonstrate against government cuts. We demand an end to political policing.’
Chris from Students Against Cuts pointed to the hypocrisy shown by politicians in relation to the protests: ‘Of the protests in the UK, David Cameron has been quoted as saying “the anarchists behind London’s student riot will be hunted down and prosecuted with the full force of the law”, yet he said of the protests in Egypt, “the transition has to start now to demonstrate to people inside Egypt that their aspirations are being understood”. It is clear that the government do not understand their own country’s aspirations.’
The HSBC 3 Defence campaign is gathering support from local organisations and aims to increase the pressure for police accountability in advance of the court cases on 28th and 29th March. Organisations supporting the HSBC3 Defence Campaign include: Students Against Cuts; Counterfire – Tyne and Wear; No Borders North East; Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!/ Revolutionary Communist Group; East Timor Solidarity; Newcastle Student Occupation and Coalition of Resistance – Tyne and Wear.