The magnificent protests that rocked London on Saturday 26 March will have at least one major downside – mass arrests, with more to follow. Those arrested deserve and need our support.
So far it seems just over 200 people have been arrested, mainly, but not all, at either the Fortnum & Mason shop occupation, or later at night in Trafalgar Square when the cops kettled a party crowd of protesters. Most, but not all, are now out on either police or court bail. A few have taken a caution, a few released without charge, a few remain in custody. No doubt as cops trawl cctv and photo footage in the next days & weeks there will be more arrests.
If you or someone you know has been arrested and you haven’t had legal advice yet, then get it fast. Ring the legal & arrest support helpline on 07946 541 511, or if you got indpendent legal advice elsewhere contact them anyway so they have your details – they may be able to help you anyway.
Legal & arrest support on the day for those participating in direct action was provided by the Legal Defence & Monitoring Group (LDMG) and Green&Black Cross (GBC). Check their websites now for more info, including useful London solicitors. You will also see they have a Defendants Meeting on Saturday 2 April, at 2pm, in central London, which will be worth attending if you can.
As well as LDMG & GBC, you will also find useful info on the Fitwatch site, and this article also provides details on some of your rights.
People can also do much to support any friends & comrades who were arrested. Help then get legal support. Help with fares and other costs. Make sure they dont feel isolated or alone, check in with them regularly and provide what emotional and practical help they may need. If anyone is remanded in prison facing a trial, they too will need support – letters and visits are good, additional funds to ease prison life help too.
The legal support and defence campaigns & groups will also need your support. They need more people to get involved in their work. They need funds too, so if benefits/gigs are your thing, put one on to raise funds that can provide more legal info as well as practical assistance with legal costs and fares. In Bristol there is already a small Bust Fund set up, with a further fundraiser set for April 9 in east Bristol – full details to follow.
Lastly, dont give up, keep fighting in the ways you feel most comfortable doing. The bosses and the state rely on arrests/prison to scare people into doing nothing, so dont let them win. Keep fighting the cuts, keep fighting the injustice system, keep fighting the prison society that grows around us. Solidarity!