The Socialist 21 July 2009 |
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BNP get police to arrest socialists
On Tuesday 14 July I was arrested, along with two other Socialist Party members, on alleged public order offences following a complaint made by local members of the fascist-led British National Party
Dylan Roberts, Wrexham Socialist Party
The BNP's allegations were entirely without substance, and were a poor attempt at intimidation. The complaint related to campaigning on Saturday 30 May, when we were running a stall in Wrexham town centre.
We were promoting the No2EU-Yes to Democracy European election challenge and campaigning against the BNP. We had spent two hours campaigning prior to the local BNP mob arriving and setting up a stall a few yards away from us.
The BNP outnumbered us, but we did not rise to their deliberate attempts to provoke us. A member of the BNP approached us and made a number of racist comments, while another BNP member filmed us for several hours.
One Socialist Party member was arrested at his home on 14 July at around 9am. I went to the police station of my own accord at around midday, where I was arrested. The third Socialist Party member went to the station after finishing work at 5pm, and he was also arrested.
We were detained for up to two hours each. We were asked to provide a statement, and then subsequently to provide fingerprints and DNA, and we were photographed. We also spent time in the 'custody suites'.
North Wales Police (NWP) treated us courteously, and the arresting officer behaved in a very professional manner. Nonetheless, the police had no evidence whatsoever, which leaves the question of why NWP chose to arrest us for what was evidently a fabricated charge.
We were bailed unconditionally, to appear back at Wrexham police station in August. The following morning we were contacted by the arresting officer, who advised us that there would be no further action.
We had to spend a fair amount of time in custody, and our DNA will be retained for 12 years, despite not being charged.
We were told that we had been arrested because NWP had a duty to investigate the complaint, and that the only way in which the police could investigate was to arrest us. It is not acceptable for the police to detain socialists and anti-fascists simply for campaigning against the BNP.