We have come across a deeply shocking piece of footage from 9th December student demonstration (See our “Home” page) that shows a very peaceful demonstration that the police cavalry charge into causing the crowd to turn ugly. It is clear to see from this footage that it was the police who provoked a violent reaction and not the demonstrators who were there intent on violence.
The police have always maintained that they came under sustained attack all day and that their response was proportionate. This footage was taken at around 3pm and shows otherwise and we would like your help to send it out to all the politicians in the UK.
Please could you
1. copy the email below, enter your contact information, add your own comments to the start of the letter and send it, with the link to the footage, to your MP – MP’s tend to ignore standard emails so please take a few minutes to add your own comments
2. If you are a student at university please send it to both the MP for your home constituency and the MP for your University accommodation constituency
3. Invite all of your friends to do the same
If you do not know who your MP is then go to this website http://findyourmp.parliament.uk
and type in your postcode. The contact details for your MP will then be displayed.
[Please insert own comments and contact information]
I have recently become aware of a disturbing piece of footage on YouTube that was filmed at around 3pm on 9th December at Broad Sanctuary in central London during the student demonstrations of that day.
The police have repeatedly reported that their policing of this demonstration was proportionate however those at the demonstration that day have consistently challenged the police’s account of events and stated that the violence was instigated by the police and not by the demonstrators. While they acknowledge, as is often the case, there were a small number of trouble makers amongst the demonstrators – they maintain that the vast majority of those attending that demonstration went to do so peacefully.
The footage (in the link below) shows a very peaceful demonstration in Broad Sanctuary, there is little pushing against the police lines (the pushing shown near the start of the clip occurs when the police drag Jody Mcintyre out of his wheelchair the first time) and the atmosphere appears to be quite relaxed. After some minutes a murmur can be heard to spread across the crowd and the camera turns to look up the road beyond the police cordon and there are in excess of 20 horses performing a military style cavalry charging into the crowd. Understandably the crowd react to this attack by mounted officers. Please take a few minutes to watch this footage.
I am shocked and disturbed to have seen our mounted British police officers charging into a peaceful demonstration with such ferocity. I believed that we lived in a democracy and not an oppressive police state as this footage would suggest we do. These are the kind of actions that we have come to expect from totalitarian states who our government are so quick to criticise and condemn for their poor human rights records in relation to public demonstrations and yet this is what has been witnessed on the streets of our capital city.
I would not only like to draw your attention to the actions of the police at that time but also to highlight that there were a large number of demonstrators arrested at that demonstration and a significant number of them have been charged with Violent Disorder, which means that the CPS believe that they went to that demonstration with the intention of committing violent acts. However as can be clearly seen in this footage the actions of these peaceful demonstrators changed dramatically when provoked by the police and I can’t help but question how many of those facing such charges would not be doing so had the police not acted so violently towards what was a relatively well behaved crowd.
I cannot see any justification for the action taken by the police at that time as shown in the footage and I would appreciate your comments on the matter.
Parents For Real Justice was set up by Jennifer Hilliard who has never been an activist or campaigner nor been involved in or attended a demonstration. However as she has watched a family member go through the process of being arrested and charged she also became aware and incensed by what the legal process is doing to our youth.
We are a small but growing group of parents, family and friends of people who got caught up in the student demonstrations of 2010 and 2011. We are deeply concerned by what is happening to our children and other students/people who attended a demonstration to exercise their right to demonstrate and their need to be heard.
We saw the students speaking out for what they believed in and wanting to be heard and we feel that we now, as parents, family and friends have to stand firmly behind them and make sure that the events of those demonstrations cannot be used to put students behind bars and to intimidate future demonstrators.
Many of us have witnessed first-hand events and actions by the police, CPS and the legal system that have left us not only disappointed but also shocked and appalled.
Many of those arrested are facing disproportionate charges of Violent Disorder when only a few years ago they would have been charged with Affray. The escalation of charges within the Public Order Act of 1986 and the way it is being applied is alarming in the extreme. These young people who, in the main, have never been in trouble before are now facing lengthy prison sentences in category 2 prisons amongst hardened criminals.
We are campaigning to publicise what is happening to these students. To raise awareness of the political motivations behind the charges they are facing – often charges that are excessively punitive, which as we have seen, are resulting in lengthy custodial sentences for relatively minor offences. We are campaigning to change public and political opinion that has been swayed by the distorted representation of events in the media and by police accounts.
As we have seen from the sentences handed out to those who have pleaded guilty the establishment has no intention of showing leniency and we do not feel we should sit back and let this happen to our youth who are the future of this country.
In the coming months there will be many more trials and potentially many more students receiving custodial sentences so we need to act now to raise the public profile and make this about what is wrong with the system (and was wrong with the policing) not what the students did or did not do wrong.