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From The Socialist newspaper, 3 September 2008

Arrested for selling The Socialist

TONY AITMAN, a long-time Socialist Party member was arrested on 30 August for selling copies of The Socialist on a stall in Liverpool city centre. The tradition of political stalls in Church Street and its continuation Bold Street in Liverpool city centre stretches back over 30 years. Now, with the 2008 Capital of Culture title, the city council is trying to 'clean up' the centre, and remove any signs of opposition from the streets.

Over the past few months, there has been growing harassment of stalls and sellers on Liverpool's streets, from both the police and the council's wardens. Following threats of arrests, a "mass stall" was held a few weeks ago. Around 12 different organisations, including the Socialist Party, the CNWP, the Stop the War Coalition, CND, Animal Rights, the SWP, Cuba Solidarity, a cycling group, Merseyside Anarchists and the Fight ID Cards campaign set up stalls in defiance of the threats to our free speech.

Last Saturday, at the pitch we have used for years, Socialist Party member Tony Aitman was arrested for "wilful obstruction" after refusing to stop selling papers and collecting petition signatures on a stall against food and fuel price rises.

Tony is well known to Socialist Party members throughout the country; an activist for over 45 years, he is prominent in the CNWP and is a Unison shop steward, a member of Liverpool Unison branch committee. Our stall and papers were also confiscated. What seemed to annoy them most was when one of our (female) members called one of the police "love"!

We will not take this attack on our rights lying down. We have called for a further mass picket this Saturday, 6 September, meeting in Church Street at 12 noon.

By Merseyside Socialist Party members.

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