You might be feeling pretty exhausted right now. Or worried. Or angry. Whatever you're feeling, it's important to know you're not alone in it. We acted as a group inside the store and we are still a group now. And an amazing group at that: a group that stood up (or sat down!) for what we know is right. A group that made decisions together, who stayed together and who left together. Who together committed to a creative act of civil disobedience, without violence or vandalism. No amount of political policing can hide these facts.
This was not the first time that the police have gone too far in their actions at UK Uncut protests. In January we witnessed an officer use CS spray to unjustifiably devastate a group of protesters outside of tax-dodgers Boots.
On Saturday, their choice to make so many arrests of peaceful protesters, and to subsequently bundle us up with others who were arrested for 'violence', are clear examples of political policing: before we left the senior policewoman inside the store said our actions were “nonviolent” and “sensible”. The excellent Green and Black Cross legal team got this all on film. We were shocked to be arrested following these comments, following statements that we had been kept inside the store for our own safety, following assurances that we would not be detained upon leaving the store.
The night in prison was a nasty experience. We were split up into individual cells, had our clothes seized, some of us were detained for almost the longest time permitted without charge. Many had to leave in white overalls as late as 9pm the next day. Some have shared their stories of this experience elsewhere.
While we were forced to go through that experience alone, it's important we don't stay alone now that we're out. Sticking together, we can get emotional and practical support going forward.
To start this process going, the amazing legal observers at Green and Black Cross have organised a meeting:
This Saturday (2nd April), 2.00pm, at ULU (Malet Street, WC1E 7HY)
The meeting will be a chance to share our experiences and feelings with each other, as well as to sort out proactively where we go from here. Coming together could help your case, and will definitely help your confidence. More details and an agenda will be up here, or on the Green and Black Cross Website, as soon as we know them
Before Saturday, it's important that you let the Green and Black Cross know that you have been arrested / charged, and are out of custody. You can call them on 07946 541 511 or email email@example.com. Furthermore, if you want a chat about anything before Saturday, call 07415063231.
We did good. Our action was part of a growing movement that has been scoring major wins in our struggle against unfair tax avoidance and the reckless, greedy banks that caused the economic crisis. That movement will continue, but right now our priority is to come together and look out for each other. So don't go through this alone; get in touch, and we'll see you on Saturday!