Defend Matt Dawson! sign now

Please sign this petiton, pass it through your organisation and come to the rally outside Leeds Magistrates Court on Wed 9th Feb at 1pm.

Defend Matt Dawson

On January 29th, an unprovoked attack by police on a student demonstration led to the arrest of REVOLUTION member and Leeds City College student Matt Dawson.

School, college and university students had gathered to protest against the scrapping of EMA. The demonstration moved peacefully through town picketing tax-dodging companies and bailed-out banks to demand that young people aren’t made to pay for a crisis we didn’t cause.

When students arrived at Lloyds TSB, police moved in to break up the demonstration. After assaulting peaceful students, and attempting arrests, the demonstration attempted to march to the university to avoid further attack.

At this point several officers moved to arrest Matt, while others set about systematically beating any students they could reach with their batons, inflicting a number of injuries.

The demonstration was then kettled before being ‘allowed’ by the police to march to Leeds Met, and ordered to disperse from there.

After checking for injuries and collating reports of what had happened, students marched to Leeds Bridewell police station to express our solidarity with Matt and demonstrate that we weren’t intimidated by police violence.

After about an hour we heard that Matt was in interview with his solicitor. At this point we decided to return to the Met to await his release. As we dispersed, more police arrived and attempted to intimidate students by asking ‘to speak with them’ trying to get students to reveal their names. Fortunately students were not provoked by their attempts to inflame the situation, and we left peacefully.

Matt was released on bail that afternoon charged with an offence under Section 5 of the Public Order Act (swearing at a police officer) and with Possession of an Offensive Weapon (a belt-buckle in the shape of a miniature knuckle-duster.

We believe that the actions of the police on January 29th in Leeds demonstrates that they now have the confidence to try and crush the student movement through violence. Undoubtedly the police are also under pressure from the billionaire tax-dodgers and bankers to take a hard line on the increasingly successful blockades of banks and businesses.

Students up and down the country have been assaulted and kettled for protesting, and if this is the approach the Tory government is willing to take to one group of people trying to stop their cuts then they will be willing to use this violence against others. It is in the interests of everyone fighting the cuts to defend the right to assemble and protest, whether it is on a student demo, a picket line or a May Day march.

We say that Matt Dawson is not guilty of both offences, and that this attempt to intimidate the anti-cuts movement must be met by a campaign to drop the charges and defend the freedom to protest.

REVOLUTION (Leeds)

Socialist Youth Group

www.socialistrevolution.org

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Latest Signatures

  • 19 February 201148. Joseph Allan
    I support this petition
  • 08 February 201147. george mitchell (unverified)
    I support this petition
  • 08 February 201146. Eleanor Broadbent (unverified)
    I support this petition
  • 08 February 201145. Emily Connor (unverified)
    I support this petition!
  • 08 February 201144. Ian Pattison
    Defend Matt Dawson. Defend the Right to Protest
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    I support this petition and think it is disguiting how matt
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  • 04 February 201133. jack Tweddle (unverified)
    no justice, no peace
  • 04 February 201132. Calum Norval
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  • 03 February 201128. Lucinda Jones
    Against incompetent, violent police officers!
  • 03 February 201127. CHARLOTTE SPENCER
    I support this petition.
  • 03 February 201126. Angela Hook
    I support this petition. Police bullying stinks!
  • 03 February 201125. michael lumpkin (unverified)
  • 02 February 201124. Daniel Lee Morris
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Defend Matt DawsonBy:
Justice, rights and public orderIn:
Petition target:
Government

Tags

court, demonstration, police violence, protest, repression, student

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