Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/11051
EMA protest in Leeds attacked by police
A 'Save EMA' protest of 75 school, college and university students in Leeds on 26 January was attacked by police. Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) is a grant that has been paid to help poorer students through college. The Con-Dem government wants to scrap EMA, and has already bulldozed this plan through parliament.
The protest was kettled by police. At one point, a police officer made it clear that they were kettling our demonstration to make it less visible to the public, less likely to get news coverage, and to have less resonance.
A video (link below) shows the police attacking protesters. Matt Dawson is seen being arrested without any provocation whatsoever. Matt has been charged with possession of an offensive weapon. According to the police, Matt's trouser belt looked like a knuckle duster.
Ian Pattison, Leeds University Against Cuts press officer, said: "This is a blatant attack on the democratic right to protest, and an attempt to intimidate demonstrators. The government can see there is growing anger to austerity Britain, and are trying to undermine legitimate opposition. These are failed police tactics. We can't forget that they led to the death of an innocent bystander, Ian Tomlinson, at the G20 protests in 2009."
Leeds University Against Cuts (LUAC) was formed in October 2009 in response to the announcement by Leeds University of compulsory redundancies as part of a £35 million cuts package. LUAC mobilised students in support of staff who were balloting for strike action and organised several demonstrations against cuts on campus. Last year LUAC activists played a key role in the occupation of Leeds university and the protests that have taken place throughout Leeds.
For more information please contact Ian Pattison (Leeds University Against Cuts -press officer) on 07766585543