Since the first Kill the Bill protest in Newcastle at the end of March, 15 people have been arrested or charged for taking part in the protests. Resist NCL, a coalition made up largely of young people, have been facing significant police targeting following the protests and are now urgently crowdfunding support for legal costs.
The group have spoken out, saying:
“We have witnessed an unprecedented clamp down on our right to peaceful protest, even before more police powers are enshrined into law. On our May Day protest, minors were arrested and held for over 10 hours for writing statements in chalk, which easily washes off. Protesters were picked off by police after sitting down to rest, and we witnessed levels of police brutality that many of us have never witnessed before at demonstrations in Newcastle.
At least 3 protesters were rugby tackled and pinned to the ground, sustaining injuries, cuts, and bruises as a result of this. Protesters were threatened with arrest and in some cases, arrested for documenting arrests and supporting arrestees. Is this what Northumbria police call a ‘proportionate response’?”
Some of the violence was documented on Twitter (CN: police violence), and members of the group who were arrested were denied their right to have solicitors contacted and someone notified of their arrest, experienced racist abuse from the police in custody and, in one incident, an underage protester who was having a panic attack in their cell was left without any support for hours.
Now, the group have started a crowdfunder to try and cover some of the legal support costs for those facing charges. You can make a donation to the group via GoFundMe, and Resist NCL have thanked people for the outpouring of support:
“We will not be silenced by Northumbria Police’s abuses of power. We will not be silenced by this Government’s authoritarian rampage. Thank you to everyone who has shown incredible support in the face of a power-hungry police force.”