Freedom of Speech? Liverpool, 11th October
A witness report explains:
‘Last Saturday (11th) Merseyside Police broke up a legal political mass stall by various organisations on Church Street in Liverpool city centre that had been planned for some time, arresting two political activists in the process. The mass stall was arranged by various groups after the wrongful arrest of a Liverpool political activist in August for distributing leaflets and selling political newspapers on Church Street, allowed under Government legislation and Section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998.
Last Saturday, various groups arranged to meet on Bold Street before heading to Church Street to set up stalls at one o’clock in the afternoon. Upon our arrival a police officer was already present harassing the Cuba Solidarity group. After seeing the various groups arrive the officer then called for backup and within fifteen minutes there were several officers on the scene removing stalls and literature from all groups present without any warning. This caused a major protest in the street and led to the heavy handed arrests of an Anarchist Federation member and an animal rights activist. The AF activist was arrested for simply refusing to stop handing out leaflets before refusing to give his details to the police. As well as this, the police were also heavy handed towards other activists and forcefully attempted to arrest two female activists later on.
The police action led to members of the public joining activists in successfully blocking the police car with the activists inside for nearly an hour, preventing the officers from leaving Church Street and heading to the police station. The police officers then called for even more re-enforcements who arrived and forcefully moved the protesters back, resulting in the police cars finally leaving Church Street with the two activists inside.
The disgraceful behaviour of the police managed to attract the attention of a good amount of passers by who joined in the protest and the police were completely humiliated and outnumbered.