Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Free Hetherington condemns arrests of teenage anti-cuts activists

The ongoing Free Hetherington occupation at Glasgow University has condemned the arrest of three young anti-cuts activists in Glasgow by Strathclyde Police earlier today. All three arrests were made in relation to demonstrations in Glasgow city centre on the day of the Parliamentary vote to raise tuition fees, on Thursday 9 December last year.

Those facing charges are a 14 year old school student, a 17 year university student and a 17 year old school student, who was previously arrested in the botched eviction attempt of the Hetherington occupation at Glasgow University, for which the police were widely condemned for being heavy handed. One is currently being held, two have now been released on a Breach of the Peace charge with draconian bail conditions.

This follows the conviction of student activist Dominic O’Hara at Glasgow District Court yesterday, on a trumped up charge of police assault.

Occupation spokesperson Ewan Gibbs condemned the arrest as part of an organised campaign of police intimidation. He said: “After four months, the police chose the day after the outrageous conviction of Dominic O’Hara to swoop on the homes of two young school students. A further student was then arrested outside Baird St police station, having gone to offer support to one of the earlier arrestees. The Free Hetherington condemns this as a clear, politically motivated attack on the right to organise and protest in Glasgow. As resistance to cuts and austerity steps up, the police have made their position clear – they are willing to victimise young students and criminalise protest.”

The occupation has offered its backing to the Glasgow Defence Campaign (GDC), recently established to defend democratic rights and organise against a visible increase in political policing in the city. GDC supporter Dominic O’Hara will be appearing at Glasgow District Court again on Tuesday 19 April, over charges relating to an anti-cuts demonstration in the city centre on 29 January. Those charged during the botched eviction operation at Glasgow University will be appearing at Glasgow Sheriff Court on 21 April.

The GDC and the Free Hetherington are calling on supporters to attend protests outside the courts on the dates listed above. We refuse to be intimidated by the actions of Strathclyde Police today, and are calling a demonstration against political policing for this Saturday 16 April, assembling 12 noon outside RBS on Gordon Street.

Statement jointly issued by the Glasgow Defence Campaign and the Free Hetherington. 

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