Against the draconian sentencing of Edward Woollard

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

SIGNED:

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 RawAberystwyth University
Sean Ambler – NCAFC; Revolution; Oxford University
Jo Casserly – Revolution; University College London
Edwin Clifford-Coupe – University College London
Paul Webster – Aberystwyth University

Press Release 24 November 2010 Walkout and Day of Action (Latest Updates)

STOP PRESS Last Minute Press Release 24 November 2010 Walkout and Day of Action

Reports 23 May 2010

MIDDLESEX UNIVERSITY STUDENTS AND STAFF SUSPENDED

From the Save Middlesex Philosophy blog:

Some Middlesex University Philosophy students, along with Philosophy professors Peter Osborne and Peter Hallward, were suspended from the University this afternoon. Hallward and Osborne were issued with letters announcing their suspension from the University with immediate effect, pending investigation into their involvement in the recent campus occupations. The suspension notice blocks them from entering University premises or contacting in any way University students and employees without the permission of Dean Ed Esche ([email protected]) or a member of the University’s Executive.

The Campaign,
Friday afternoon, 21 May 2010.

The response of Middlesex management to peaceful protest is typical, and it is likely that anti-cuts campaigns across the country will face more brutal retribution as the movement gains strength.

The blog has a leaflet and petition that can be printed and distributed at your university. It’s very important that the higher education community all over the country makes it clear that we will not stand by while university managements victimise students and staff who are standing up for education.

There is a rally in support of the suspended staff and students on Thursday 27 May at 4pm, at the Hendon Campus. Please write, call, and email the Board of Governors at Middlesex to let them know that this victimisation will not stand!

Follow the Save Middlesex Philosophy campaign on Twitter: @SaveMDXPhil

RIGHT TO WORK CONFERENCE

Members of the National Campaign attended the Right to Work emergency conference on Saturday in London, putting forth two proposals in the Fighting Education Cuts workshop: 1) to fully support any occupations and direct action taken by staff and students fighting cuts and 2) to pressure the NUS, which promised to arrange a demonstration against cuts, to actually do so. Full report to come later.

Follow the Education Activist Network on Twitter: @edactivistnet

SUSSEX SIX SLAPPED ON THE WRIST

The six students at Sussex University who were suspended last term and then reinstated after massive public outcry faced their disciplinary panels on 18 May. Faced with a ludicrous lack of evidence, the panel found the six students not guilty of riot and intimidation but guilty of disruption.

Their punishment is a fine, which the students plan to appeal, and letters to members of Sussex House staff acknowledging that they may have felt intimidated. The result of these panels is a clear indicator of just how weak the case against the six students was.

Faced with increasingly resistant students and staff, university managements are escalating their tactics, as Middlesex and Sussex have found. It is vitally important that anti-cuts movements across the country show solidarity with each other and demonstrate that we will not be bullied into submission by ham-handed authoritarian responses.

Follow Sussex Stop the Cuts on Twitter: @stopsussexcuts

And follow the National Campaign on Twitter: @imAFC

Solidarity beats Westminster Uni victimisation

Westminster University management’s attempt to victimise activist Simon Hardy over his part in March’s anti-cuts occupation was defeated today after Westminster students and lecturers protested outside. (We were joined by a handful of non-Westminster supporters, including one NCAFC activist who had come all the way from Brighton!)

Chants of “Workers and students unite and fight” and “They say cut back, we say fight back” from the street outside could be heard in the board room. All ‘charges’ against Simon were promptly dropped.

The lesson, as with the Sussex Six, is that solidarity can win.

PRESS RELEASE – Defend Students’ voice – Support Simon Hardy!

Read the press release here.

Defend Simon Hardy: protest 1pm, Friday 7 May

Westminster Uni anti-cuts activist Simon Hardy is being disciplined for his part in the recent anti-cuts occupation.

Join the protest: 1pm, Friday 7 May, University of Westminster Regent Street campus
www.westminster.ac.uk/about/how-to-find-us/regent-street2

Facebook event here.

More details from Westminster activists below…
[Read more...]

Breaking News – New occupation at Sussex to defend the Sussex 6

This just in from Sussex. More information to follow as we get more updates from the occupied lecture theatre:

hot news from the south coast - defend the sussex 6!

At 1pm, a demonstration of several hundred marched around the campus at Sussex University. It was the largest demonstration yet, and included many members of staff– some of whom spoke directly in front of Sussex House, the home of management.

As of right now, there are 200 people gathered in a lecture theatre (where no lectures are scheduled), drafting a list of demands for VCEG, the Vice Chancellor’s Executive Group. They are refusing to leave until Vice Chancellor Michael Farthing or another member of the VCEG comes in person to pick up the petition demanding the reinstatement of the six students who were suspended, and until he meets their demands.

Sussex Occupiers Suspended! Help needed urgently!

Sign the petition against the suspension of the Sussex occupiers here:

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/nosummarysuspensions/

Please post messages of support in the ‘comments’ section below

This from the defendsussex.wordpress.com blog:

Suspensions:

Following the non-violent protest and occupation of Sussex House on Wednesday 3rd March and the violent repression of students on campus by scores of riot police armed with attack dogs, batons and pepper-spray, the management of the University of Sussex have taken further regrettable action directly against the students of the University.

As of 3:30pm on Friday 5th March, the Stop the cuts campaign has been made aware of at least 4 notices of suspension for students involved in the occupation of Wednesday 3rd March. These suspensions come directly from the Vice Chancellor Michael Farthing without recourse to any disciplinary process, effective immediately. The terms of the suspensions specify that students will not be allowed to attend lectures or be on University property for a minimum of 30 working days. In addition, students have also been threatened with expulsion.

High Court Injunction:

Furthermore, University management have been granted a High Court Injunction prohibiting “protest action (without the consent of the University of Sussex).” This injunction can be interpreted as meaning that further protest action could be considered a criminal offence.

The witness statement on the injunction provided by Registrar and Secretary John Duffy contained false information claiming that students were holding staff “hostage,” which was refuted to police at the scene. Staff within the building were given leaflets explaining why the occupation was happening and were allowed to leave safely.

As staff were leaving the building, the head of Sussex security, Roger Morgan, stopped senior managers and some other staff, including John Duffy, from exiting and herded them into an office in the VCEG corridor, which was then locked. Roger Morgan and John Duffy presented this to the police as a kind of hostage situation, requesting a police escort out of the building despite the occupiers guaranteeing the safe exit of all staff inside.

More information: http://defendsussex.wordpress.com/2010/03/05/what-actually-happened/

Don't let Vice Chancellors victimise students - it could be your campus next


Videos of police brutality at Sussex

Riot police back up job-cutting uni bosses

riot cops back up job-cutting uni bosses

Videos of the shocking police attacks on peaceful student protestors at the University of Sussex are available on the sussexnot4sale Youtube page, here:

http://www.youtube.com/user/sussexnot4sale

Students and staff should not tolerate the use of police violence on our campuses! It is not acceptable for Vice Chancellors and the government to break strikes and anti-cuts demonstrations through police violence!