Today was an occasion to celebrate a victory for free speech, and to thank all those who have offered solidarity and support over the last few months – charges against Don had been dropped.
Don and campaign supporters attended Market Street Police Station, Newcastle, this morning to reclaim placards confiscated by police.
Don, a youth worker, was arrested on February 16th after he attended Newcastle’s largest anti-cuts demonstration. At the end of the event, he approached the Labour leader, Nick Forbes, holding a placard, and told him that he thought he had sold out the city. Six hours later, at 10 o’clock at night, police descended on Don’s home and arrested him. You can read Don’s statement here.
Don was offered a fixed penalty notice for threatening behaviour but refused to accept the charge, as he simply told Nick Forbes what he and many other people think about the £100 million worth of cuts. The charge has now been dropped.
The case has raised the profile of the issues of the right to free speech and the right to challenge the cuts, with the campaign slogan being ‘If it could happen to Don, it could happen to anyone’.
The Right to Challenge the Cuts Campaign will continue to support others facing similar injustices.
There are local groups all over Newcastle and beyond working to challenge cuts and to defend the services communities need. You can contact your local group to find out more.