Police ban cuts activist from royal wedding
A leading Birmingham activist named Tom – who has asked we don’t use his last name – was among 145 people arrested for aggravated trespass and charged under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1990 on the largest union-organised event for twenty years.
This news comes as police announce a clampdown on the possibility of anarchists disrupting the royal wedding procedures, with a full-scale police crackdown prior to the wedding being considered by authorities.
Tom said: “I went to the ULU Education feeder march, and met up with other activists from Birmingham. This march left shortly after 11am, and we joined up with the main TUC march near Temple Street tube station. The march was moving slowly and after a brief discussion we decided to leave it and head for Oxford Street for the UKUncut actions taking place from 2pm.”
More than 600 coaches and dozens of trains were hired, including transport organised by TUC (Trade Unions Congress). Tom estimates that thousands of people left the march and came onto Oxford Street to take direct action against banks and tax avoiders.
“Oxford Street was closed to traffic because of the number of people demonstrating there, and we sat down in the middle of Oxford Street to have lunch, near a sound system where people were dancing around and having an impromptu street party.”
Tom said he managed to rejoin with other people from Birmingham and then made their way to Oxford Circus to join the UKUncut action against a secret target.
“At around 3:30pm, UKUncut flags were hoisted and we made our way down Regent Street. I was handed a card telling me that green was my colour, and followed the green umbrellas down to Piccadilly, having no idea what the target was.
“As we approached Fortnum and Mason, I saw the umbrellas go into the doors and followed them. At no point did I force entry as has been alleged by the police.”
Tom told of the moment when he was arrested: “At 6pm we decided to leave and had assurances from the police that we would be let go, were told that Green Park tube station was the nearest station and that it was open, and all linked arms and left the store, into a police kettle, from which we were individually arrested.
I was taken in a police van along with one other protester to Romford police station, where I was told I was being arrested for aggravated trespass and criminal damage.”
Tom’s possessions were removed, including his outer clothing, and his fingerprints, DNA and photo were taken to add to the police database. He was placed into a cell where he remained for around twenty hours until he was able to see his solicitor at approximately 4pm on Sunday.
His solicitor advised him that the police were not going to interview anyone and that he was going to be charged and bailed. Tom was read a statement by the police about the course of events on the day to which he replied “no comment” on legal advice.
“I was then returned to my cell and waited to be released at around 7pm. The police retained my outer clothing and phone for evidence.”
Tom said he thought he had been arrested because the commanding officer for Oxford Street became concerned about the low number of arrests.
Tom has no plans to attend the Royal Wedding and Mayday demonstrations, and believes he is fighting a just cause taking direct action against tax avoiders because closing the tax gap forms part of the alternatives to cuts.