Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/6871
May Day: Lords judgement backs police
LOIS AUSTIN, the appellant in the 2001 'May Day Detainee Case' expressed anger at the House of Lords Appeal judgement, on 28 January 2009, which supported the Court of Appeal finding that the Metropolitan police acted correctly by detaining Lois and several thousand peaceful anti-capitalist protesters in Oxford Circus on May Day, 2001.
Lois said: "I am angry and outraged at the Lords' judgement, which found there was no 'arbitrary deprivation of liberty'. I and thousands of other peaceful anti-globalisation protesters were detained by police for nine hours, in a confined space, and without water, food or toilet facilities. To any reasonable person, this clearly amounted to a deprivation of liberty and the police action on May Day 2001 breaches the European convention on human rights.
"The Lords have judged the police can take such draconian action, as they deem fit, against protesters.
"Since 2001, we have seen the police use similar detainment tactics against other peaceful demonstrators, including against environmental protests and recently against Gaza war demonstrators. These repressive police tactics are an attempt to intimidate protesters and deny the right to demonstrate.
"We will be consulting our lawyers over appealing to the European Court. We will continue to campaign for the right to assembly, to demonstrate and to free speech.
"In the court of world opinion, the ideas of the protesters on May Day 2001 - young people and trade unionists - are vindicated.
"We campaigned against imperialist wars, and against fat cats, neo-liberalism and globalisation. We warned of the catastrophe these policies would bring onto the heads of the poor and working people around the world, despite government and police attempts to muzzle our campaign.
"Our fight against poverty and exploitation continues, as does our campaign to have the basic democratic rights to protest."