Draconian sentencing is an attack on the right to protest
The 32 month custodial sentence given to Edward Woollard in the Millbank protests is an outrage.
It will not only see Woollard spend the rest of his teenage years behind bars, but is a politically motivated attack on the entire student and anti-cuts movement.
Woollard handed himself in to the police, had never been in trouble with the authorities before, pleaded guilty to the offence, and had 30 statements of good character. He made a terrible mistake in throwing the fire extinguisher off the roof of Millbank tower, but the judgement handed down to him is not about his individual action. In truth, it is about the courts sending a message to wider society that the state will not tolerate resistance to the biggest attack on working people we have seen in living memory.
Judge Geoffrey Rivlin QC was quite clear that this was a “deterrent sentence” designed to send out “a a very clear message to anyone minded to behave in this way that an offence of this seriousness will not be tolerated”. Woollard was simply not judged on his individual actions which thankfully led to no injuries. Far more serious acts of violent disorder routinely receive shorter sentences.
We the undersigned will campaign vigorously for the rights of all arrested protesters.
We recognise the biggest criminals of all are those wielding the axe to our public services.
A broad and powerful protest movement is now taking shape on the streets and in the workplaces.
We will not be intimidated by draconian sentences or any form of police repression.
If you would like to support the statement, join this facebook group or email againstfeesandcuts [at] gmail.com
Jon McDonnell – Labour MP (Hayes and Harlington)
Lindsey German – Convenor of Stop the War Coalition; Coalition of Resistance
Joana Oliveira Pinto – NCAFC; School of Oriental and African Studies
Sean Rillo Raczka – NCAFC; Chair of Council, Executive Officer Birbeck College Students Union
Luke Cooper– Revolution; Sussex University
Clare Solomon – President of the University of London Union
Patrizia Kokot – NCAFC; LSE and Aberystywth University
Andrew Burgin – Coalition of Resistance
Edward Maltby – NCAFC; Alliance of Workers’ Liberty
Michael Chessum – NCAFC; Education and Communications Officer University College London Union
Ashok Kumar – NCAFC; Education Officer London School of Economics Student Union
Louis Hartnoll – President of SUARTS (University of the Arts London)
James Haywood – EAN; Communication and Campaigns Officer Goldsmiths College Student Union
Flaminia Giambalvo – NCAFC; Goldsmiths College
John Bowman – NCAFC; Revolution
Greg Brown – NCAFC; University College London
Maham Hashmi-Khan – School of Oriental and African Studies
Jess Raw – Aberystwyth University
Sean Ambler – NCAFC; Revolution; Oxford University
Jo Casserly – Revolution; University College London
Edwin Clifford-Coupe – University College London
Paul Webster – Aberystwyth University