Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/547/6378
Protest against harassment!
Issue 546 of The Socialist reported that Socialist Party member Tony Aitman was arrested for so-called "wilful obstruction", ie selling the paper and collecting petition signatures in Liverpool's Church Street.
A protest was called for last Saturday to show that we will not take this harassment of political activists lying down. The arrest is part of a series of threats and harassment by the police and council wardens. Only a few weeks ago, one of our young members was threatened with arrest for giving out Love Music, Hate Racism leaflets!
Despite the short notice, the 'mass stall' was a great success. Six different groups, and many individuals, came out to defy the attempts to prevent free speech and to show solidarity. The Church Street crowds were swelled by hundreds coming in to see the giant mechanical spider unleashed as part of the City of Culture celebrations. They were met by a long line of stalls down the centre of the street campaigning against rising food and fuel prices, against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, against animal testing and against the blockade of Cuba.
The two stalls run by the Socialist Party and the Campaign for a New Workers' Party were the most colourful and lively, with a tremendous turnout by Socialist Party members to show we would not be intimidated. Our two petitions, one on rising food and fuel prices, the other on the right to free speech and to campaign were met with anger and disbelief - anger at a system that allows prices to rise in the way that they have, and disbelief that someone could be arrested for daring to campaign on the issue. The only criticism was from someone who was surprised Tony was arrested for political activity rather than the state of his beard - and who then gave a campaign donation! In all, 29 copies of The Socialist were sold and a further £21 campaign donations collected.
This response shows the police and the council that we will not be intimidated off the streets. We may have to hold further protests such as this - but the campaign will continue. Please send messages of protest to the council leader at firstname.lastname@example.org and to the Merseyside Police Authority chair at email@example.com.
Send support and copy protests to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Merseyside Socialist Party
In The Socialist 10 September 2008:
War and occupation
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party campaigns
Environment and socialism
Socialist Party review
International socialist news and analysis