The Socialist

The Socialist 3 December 2014

The bitter pill of cuts to come

The Socialist issue 836

The bitter pill of cuts

Osborne's solution deficit

NHS: the money's running out

Tower Hamlets: Government attacks local democracy

Terrorism Bill: May continues job started by Blair

Them & Us


World health crises show: Capitalism kills!


Care UK: Inspirational struggle for all trade unionists

Hull city council: a tale of two surveys

College UCU strikes against imposed new contracts

Lambeth College strike dates named

Northern line RMT stoppage over sacking

Trelleborg engineering pay victory

Reports from the NSSN bulletin


Angry New Era tenants take protest to Cameron

Sixth form students grill Grayling

Stop academies in Lewisham

Crown drops charges against protest pensioners

No justice, no peace: protest stops London streets

Neighbours defend disabled man from eviction


Help us fund historic election challenge

More socialists needed!


Zero-hour contracts: Demeaning rules and poverty pay

 
 
 
 

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Crown drops charges against protest pensioners

Sharron Milsom, Sheffield North Socialist Party

A protest planned outside Sheffield Magistrates Court is now partly a celebration. Cases against pensioners George Arthur and Tony Nuttall, the "freedom riders" arrested at Sheffield railway station on 23 June, have been dropped.

South Yorkshire councils had withdrawn free train travel and bus fare concessions for elderly and disabled people. Freedom riders protested by catching trains in South Yorkshire and refusing to pay.

Disabled people's travel rights were restored in full earlier this year (see issue 811). But elderly passengers only won back partial reductions in some fares.

George and Tony were arrested after three months of protest rides. When around 60 of us got off a train at Sheffield, we found police and security staff blocking all exits.

George was dragged along the platform and arrested. Tony had five police and guards pressing his head down, pushing him along bent double.

Violence

What were they charged with? "Obstructing a police officer in the execution of his duty" and "travel fraud". So it's the police's duty to assault pensioners? In addition to these violent arrests, several disabled and elderly protesters were pushed over and injured by police, with four going to hospital. A blind woman was pushed over a young man using a wheelchair.

After five months preparing their case, and finding 19 police to act as witnesses, the Crown Prosecution Service decided to drop it. Not enough evidence, apparently!

Undoubtedly they had also felt pressure from protest actions, national media coverage and the backing of several trade unions. The court case would have reignited all this.

We have complained to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, which suspended investigations pending the court cases. Now we'll press them to get moving. Will police be charged with assault? They ought to be. What would happen if a protester pushed a police officer and caused an injury?

Freedom riders were clapping and cheering when Tony announced the victory at our campaign meeting. It's a great boost to us. But we're still fighting for our main aim: to win back free train travel for pensioners, and reverse the restrictions on bus pass use.

  • Protest at 9am on 8 December, Sheffield Magistrates' Court, Castle Street, Sheffield S3 8LU.
  • Lobby of Transport Committee meeting at 1pm on 15 December, Regent Street, Barnsley.

In this issue


Socialist Party news and analysis

The bitter pill of cuts

Osborne's solution deficit

NHS: the money's running out

Tower Hamlets: Government attacks local democracy

Terrorism Bill: May continues job started by Blair

Them & Us


International socialist news and analysis

World health crises show: Capitalism kills!


Socialist Party workplace news

Care UK: Inspirational struggle for all trade unionists

Hull city council: a tale of two surveys

College UCU strikes against imposed new contracts

Lambeth College strike dates named

Northern line RMT stoppage over sacking

Trelleborg engineering pay victory

Reports from the NSSN bulletin


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Angry New Era tenants take protest to Cameron

Sixth form students grill Grayling

Stop academies in Lewisham

Crown drops charges against protest pensioners

No justice, no peace: protest stops London streets

Neighbours defend disabled man from eviction


Socialist Party appeal

Help us fund historic election challenge

More socialists needed!


Reader's comment

Zero-hour contracts: Demeaning rules and poverty pay


 

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