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(en) Britain, Freedom* November 2011 - DEFENDANTS NEED YOUR HELP

Date Sat, 24 Dec 2011 14:03:04 +0200


Witness appeal by legal support groups ---- Anarchists, perhaps more than any other political grouping, have always excelled in solidarity and support work. It is because we challenge the authority of government and the legitimacy of the state that we often face the severest hostility and repression from them, and we understand what is required in supporting others against that same hostility and repression. ---- At the moment there is a massive campaign by the state to subdue the wave of unrest and disquiet being expressed by all sections of society. The use of physical force by police is matched by the use of judicial force in the courts. What we are witnessing through this process is the state re-asserting its own conditions of social participation upon us. This is where politics becomes real – in the mass detentions and arrests, in the prison cells and police stations, in the broken bones and hospital treatment of protesters, and in the propaganda machine of the mainstream press that chooses to vilify and demonise any voice of dissent however expressed.

Legal Defence and Monitoring Group (LDMG) and Green and Black Cross, both organisations with close anarchist affiliations, are at the forefront of legal support for those arrested and charged during the various mass protests and demonstrations and have issued an urgent appeal for witnesses.

March 26th, June 30th
Your help is needed if you attended any of the big student protests, especially December 9th, plus March 26th TUC demonstration (UK Uncut, Piccadilly, Oxford Street, Trafalgar Square) and June 30th public sector strike and march, all in central London. What you saw during these demos might stop more people going to prison.
The job of LDMG and Green and Black Cross is to stop people going to prison by helping people prepare their best defence – but of late we are spending way too much time preparing people for prison instead, and many of the cases could have been so different if we had more witnesses come forward. It is hard to know if you could be useful as a witness but we hope to find that out if you get in touch with some basic information.

It is often the case during a trial that it is simply the police version of events against the defendant and it is often blatantly obvious that the police are lying (yes, shock horror). The judge and the jury often believe the police version of events in most case (yes, shock horror). And it often doesn’t matter if defendants are telling the truth, if they don’t have their own witnesses; they have far less chance of being believed and therefore being found not guilty.

Judges dealing with these cases are being incredibly harsh in their sentencing, harsher than many of us have ever known before, and things show no sign of easing up as the public’s memories of the protests fades.

It seems like the courts are sending out a massive message to anyone who dares to challenge the cuts and the system that is behind them that people dare not protest and we need to support all those going through this court process. It could easily have been any one of us who were arrested and preparing for the possibility of prison right now.

There is no sense or justice in many of these arrests. Some people were trying to protect themselves and those around them when attacked by police in an unprovoked manner, many weren’t even doing that, they were simply ‘in the wrong place at the wrong time’.

So far it has mainly been people pleading guilty that have been sentenced but trials are now starting to take place and the gaps in the defence for some are huge as many defendants believe that if they get up on the stand and tell the truth, they will be found not guilty. Sadly it just doesn’t work like that.

In our experience it is people who have witnesses who are more likely to be found ‘not guilty’.

As we approach the one year mark for some of these protests, many of those facing charges are incredibly stressed and others completely terrified of what lies ahead if they are found guilty and it is heartbreaking to see, especially when you know that it doesn’t have to be like that.

What little justice there is seems to have gone out the window. Their best hope is other people!

December 9th
There is an appeal for specific incidents of the student December 9th demonstration.

People who witnessed the policeman falling off his horse and / or witnessed the police charge into the crowd.
If you were in Parliament Square or Broad Sanctuary (in front of Westminster Abbey) during 2pm and 3.30pm
Witnesses to events near the Treasury from about 5.30pm to 8.30pm.
Get in touch and tell us which protests you were on and where you were. You can leave it that vague for now. We will get in touch with you about specifics if you were in a place where people are calling for witnesses.

If you think that you can help please get in touch with LDMG and GBC
Email: ldmgmail@yahoo.co.uk

LDMG: http://ldmg.org.uk/
Green and Black Cross: http://greenandblackcross.org
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* Anarchist journal
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