Right to protest?

We live in a democracy right?

So we all have the right to be represented. In fact equal rights to representation is the ideology on which our society has (eventually) been built. My rights as a citizen in this country depend upon my recognition of your rights. If I have access to the vote then so should you. If I have access to education then so too you. Especially since we have a first class education system – accessible to all, excellence for all.

Or we did. Until Thursday 9th December at around 4.30pm when a slim majority of 21 MPs compromised their election promises and sided with the coalition government, rather than the students who voted them in. 21 MPs. 21 individuals have made a decision that will dismantle our national treasure – a world famous and public Higher Education. Along with the hike in tuition fees those 21 MPs have forced hundred of thousands of children, the poorest children in our society, to finish school at 16. The fates of 660,000 of our most vulnerable children have been decided by 21 people who promised to represent them.

This is the back-story to the youth protests that have shook our cities and dominated the nation’s press.

Kids have never had it so hard – their future mortgaged to shore up a deficit created by the banks; an ecological debt created because our leaders lack the will and imagination to invest in a sustainable future. For the first time in a long time young people with the smallest voice and the most to lose have got together and coordinated a response.

Cameron responded to their frustration and anger with appaled outrage. How dare these children use any means possible to achieve representation? How dare they smash national treasures he asks whilst he holds the axe to Higher Education, the Independent Living Fund, the nation’s forests, the NHS.

Originally posted by Climate Rush on their blog.

Quite right David Cameron. The violence we saw on the streets during the student fees protest last week was totally unacceptable. The violence by the police was not restricted to a tiny minority.

We saw police charge demonstrators with horses (leaving one girl with a broken collar bone). We saw police beat protesters with batons and riot shields (leaving one man with serious head injuries). We saw people held for many hours on the streets in freezing cold conditions without water or food or toilet facilities.

People have the right to demonstrate in front of Parliament not find their access blocked.

People have the right to expect the police to safeguard their democratic right to protest, not to herd and coral and beat around the head.

Will you be launching a full Public Inquiry into the appalling policing that took place last Thursday?

People expect the police to be there to protect them not live in fear of them.

We want policing by consent, not policing by baton wielding thugs in uniform and riot gear.

This is not a Third World State or a country in the old Soviet Bloc and yet I saw no difference in behaviour by the state security apparatus. What we are seeing is history repeating itself, our Prague Spring, our Orange Revolution, and the knee-jerk reaction of the state is the same.

Will you be launching a full Public Inquiry into the beating of student Alfie Meadows? Who would have died but for his mother finding him.

We demand, not politely request, all FIT film footage to be placed in the public domain and to be handed over to Alfie’s family.

We demand a prompt and speedy and competent investigation. We do not want to see the delays we saw into the death of Ian Tomlinson, that by the time the case reaches the Courts it is too late for a prosecution of those police officers involved.

Has nothing been learnt from the death of Ian Tomlinson? Has nothing been learnt from the illegal kettling?

Sup Julia Pendry blatantly lied when she gave her press conference from New Scotland Yard. As did the Met Commissioner.

Yes, there was violence committed that day, violence that will have long reaching impact, that will scar a generation for life. That was the violence committed on our education system and the youth of our country.

We are seeing the privatisation, marketisation of our education system. We are seeing people who live in slums denied a helping hand. We are seeing massive welfare cuts. We are seeing housing cuts. Next will come NHS, our libraries, our public transport, our museums, sell off of our woods and forests.

An alleged Budget Deficit is being used as the excuse for slash and burn of the public sector. There would not even be a budget deficit if tax dodgers were forced to pay their taxes.

No we are not in it all together. The rich retain their privileges whilst the poor, the disadvantaged, the environment, pay the price of greedy bankers and decades of economic mismanagement.

What you saw on Thursday was the Big Society in action. It may take a long time and a lot of provocation to awaken from its slumber, but provocation has finally roused its ire. Big Society is on the case and does not like what it finds. Big Society does not like the democratic deficit at the heart of the Gothic chamber of horrors.

The anger that erupted on the streets, was as a direct result of the vote in Parliament and the violence and intimidation by the police beforehand.

Had you been with the students and lecturers and school kids as they walked to Parliament, you would have been able to have joined in the party atmosphere, what many described as a carnival. But you would have also have seen the attempted kettles, the blocked roads, to try and stop people reaching Parliament.

You owe an apology for falsely claiming there were ‘scenes of police officers being dragged off police horses and beaten’.

Maybe you should spend some time talking to Caroline Lucas MP as she seems to have a better grasp of reality than either yourself or lying hypocrites Nick Clegg and Vince Cable.

A pity Bruce Kent took part in the Sky News discussion as he clearly did not have a clue what he was talking about. In contrast Tamsin Omond put the case across very eloquently. A pity about the appalling sound quality.

Note: There is a mistake in the Climate Rush report. The vote came through after 5-30pm, not 4-30pm.

Also see

Caroline Lucas MP speaks at student fees protest

A sad day for democracy

Captain SKA – Liar Liar

The Battle for Parliament Square

Taming the Vampire Squid: Take back our banks

Why cuts are the wrong cure

London Student Assembly Press Conference

Alfie Meadows seriously injured in student fees protest

‘Scenes of police officers being dragged off police horses and beaten’

Inside the Parliament Square kettle

Kettled During 9th of December Protest

Britain’s woods and forests for sale

Climate Rendezvous with Climate Rush

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