Wednesday, 2 February 2011
Anti-cuts protester in Glasgow freed on bail, 31 January
GLASGOW DEFENCE CAMPAIGN
Press release / Glasgow / 31 January 2011
Anti-cuts activist freed on bail
Dominic O’Hara, a 20-year-old student at Strathclyde University, was arrested on 29 January 2011 as he left a protest in Glasgow against education cuts and in defence of local services. Forty people picketed Baird Street police station immediately after he was detained, demanding his release. After over fifty hours in custody, Dominic was today released from Glasgow’s Justice of the Peace court on bail, with the Crown’s attempt to ban him from attending “organised demonstrations” dismissed by the judge. A legal complaint is also being pursued by his supporters after six police officers aggressively installed themselves in the court’s public seating area before Dominic went up before the judge. In a statement to the Glasgow Defence Campaign on his release, Dominic said: “I am emerging from this latest arrest more determined than ever. We refuse to let the courts and police criminalise our struggle and we stand in solidarity with all those arrested on protests across the country.” The Glasgow Defence Campaign is outraged by the police’s treatment of a young protester as a dangerous terrorist for participating in legitimate protest activity.
Dominic’s arrest was clearly an example of targeted political policing. On 9 December, he was violently arrested on student protests in Glasgow and charged with police assault and breach of the peace. On 29 January, he was the only person arrested as he was snatched off the streets by a van-load of Strathclyde police officers after leaving the demonstration. He was charged again with police assault and obstruction. Dominic is a supporter of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! (FRFI) and two other FRFI supporters are facing criminal trials in March relating to their political activity, including the selling of a political newspaper. GDC spokesperson Miriam Kelly stated: “These activists, along with hundreds of others in Glasgow and tens of thousands across Britain, have taken to the streets to resist the attacks on public provision by this country’s parasitic elite. We should ask: when did protest become a criminal act, to be met with violence, targeted arrest and possible jail terms?”
The Glasgow Defence Campaign is determined to organise in defence of democratic rights and against political policing. It is not only the right, but the duty, of people to take the streets against the government’s brutal cuts and we applaud the young people who have led the way in recent months. We stand in solidarity with all those attacked and arrested by the British state for their part in the protests and are determined to increase organisation and unity against police repression in Glasgow. The police’s aggressive response to recent demonstrations and direct actions is an expression not of strength but rather of profound weakness, in the face of a growing and militant movement with justice on its side. As the inspiring events in Egypt show, the tiny minority which stand in the way of the vast majority’s interests will in the end be swept aside.
The GDC is calling on individuals and organisations to send messages of support for Dominic and other activists facing trial in Glasgow to firstname.lastname@example.org. For further information call 07961 040 418 or see http://glasgowdefencecampaign.blogspot.com.
Defend democratic rights!
Fight the cuts!