Charges against Newcastle 14 dropped

On 1 August, after a ten week police investigation, the Newcastle 14 (N14) received letters from Northumbria Police stating that no further action would be taken against them. The N14 are anti-racist activists, including FRFI supporters, who were pre-emptively arrested before a national English Defence League march on 25 May. They were investigated under suspicion of ‘conspiracy to violent disorder’. Northumbria police used this as a justification to raid the homes of the 14, seizing computer equipment, mobile phones, cameras, literature and notebooks. It is clear that the primary purposes of this exercise were intelligence gathering and intimidation.

The Newcastle 14 Defence Cam?paign (N14DC) was set up to fight this politically. Through demonstrations, letter writing campaigns and other events, the campaign was instrumental in showing Northumbria police that they will not get away with criminalising anti-racist protestors. On 7 August, a victory rally and picnic was held outside Etal Lane police station, where all seized property was returned. The N14DC called the outcome ‘a huge victory against political policing’.

The campaign is not over. As no charges have been brought, the defence campaign is now focusing on a) taking action against the police, and b) exposing those who colluded with the police in the arrests.

In the N14DC victory statement, they ask: ‘Who can be held to account for the unjustifiable arrests of 14 anti-racist-protestors?’ In the run up to the march, Newcastle Unites, an anti-racist coalition including Labour Party councillors, and the Socialist Worker Party, consistently blocked the involvement of FRFI supporters and other activists who had dared to criticise the racist, pro-cuts, pro-war record of the Labour Party. The extent of their collusion will be exposed.

Victory to the N14!

No to political policing!

Toby Harbertson

For more information: http://defencecampaign.wordpress.com/

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 235 October/November 2013

 

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