Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/651/10817
Youth democratic rights campaign: defend all victimised protesters
Ian Pattison, Leeds University Against Cuts press officer and Socialist Students National Chair, was recently told by police that he had 'legal responsibilities' and 'personal liabilities' for a demonstration on 8 December through Leeds city centre.
The police visited Ian's house to hand-deliver letters informing him of this, in a clear attempt to intimidate leading activists. Ian was not the organiser of the demonstration and had been selected for this police attack because of his prominence in the campaign.
But the police were met with a determined defence campaign for Ian. YFE and the Youth Democratic Rights Campaign organised a campaign of complaints to the West Yorkshire Police to make it clear that Ian is part of a national movement and that any intimidation will be met with determined opposition.
YFE also put Ian in contact with a solicitor to prepare for any legal action. Ian, and the anti-cuts campaign which was separately being threatened with eviction from occupation by university management, received many solidarity messages from student and trade union activists around the country.
The demonstration went ahead peacefully in the end, and so far no further action has been taken against Ian. This is one of many clear illustrations of the lengths that the police will go to, but also how important it is to defend every activist against even the threat of arrest or victimisation.
In The Socialist 15 December 2010:
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party youth and students