The following letter was sent to the Guardian and the THES, but both have declined to publish it.
We, current and former students and staff of Middlesex University, wish to make plain our disgust at the behaviour of the Metropolitan police at the demonstration against tuition fee rises in London on 9th December. A Middlesex student, Alfie Meadows, sustained life-threatening injuries and underwent brain surgery as a result of an attack by the police. Protesters wishing to leave the demonstration had been told by police to exit via Whitehall, where many were then kettled and attacked. At around 6pm, the police launched a series of unprovoked charges, using horses, truncheons and shields on protesters trapped in Whitehall. Hundreds of peaceful protesters were lined up on the south side of Whitehall and witnessed these attacks.
Over the last month, we have been witness numerous times to police attacks on young protesters, many of school age, with nothing to defend themselves but their passion, anger and sense of injustice. The spectacle of brute, armed force marshalled against the young holds up an unflattering mirror to the society that condones it.
We would also like to draw attention to the disparity between the reportage and the images of Thursday’s protest. Television reporters relentlessly described the students as violent, while continually showing footage of police officers beating protesters. Do the broadcast media think that people are not intelligent enough to perceive the contradiction between what is said by reporters and what is shown via recorded images? The widespread and deliberate police provocation of protesters went largely unreported. It is also a mockery of justice to portray damage to a royal vehicle as having more importance than a potentially lethal assault by a police officer on an unarmed student.
Finally, we hope that the Government will now recognise that the problems its absurd approach to the funding of education are now generating are political problems, and cannot be resolved by the use of police force. If a Government seeks to rely on overwhelming force to maintain its position, then it will not take long for its legitimacy to crumble.
Zain Ahsan, BA student, Philosophy
Ali Alizadeh, PhD student and Visiting Lecturer, Philosophy
Éric Alliez, former Professor, Philosophy
Nisha Amin, MA student, Marketing
Tunç Aybak, Programme Leader, International Politics
Robin Bale, Phd student, Fine Art
Sarah Baker, Lecturer, Media and Cultural Studies
Julia Bard, Visiting Lecturer, Journalism
Richard Barry, Lecturer, Psychology
Anindya Bhattacharyya, former MA student, Philosophy
Richard Bornat, Emeritus Professor, Computing
Sarah Bradshaw, Principal Lecturer, Development Studies
Matthew Bury, Senior Lecturer, Design and Technology
Maggie Butt, Head of Media
Stephen Caldwell, BA student, Philosophy
Matthew Charles, Lecturer, Philosophy
Uracha Chatrakul Na Ayudhya, Lecturer, Business School
Cara Clancy, former MA student, Philosophy
Billy Clark, Senior Lecturer, English Language
John Coles, Programme Leader, Interior Architecture
Noyale Colin, PhD Student, Performing Arts
Katherine Corbett, BA student, Philosophy & MUSU Arts and Education Chair
Delia Cortese, Senior Lecturer, Religious Studies
Elizabeth Cotton, Senior Lecturer, Human Resource Management
Judith Cowan, PhD student, Fine Art
Olga Cretu, PhD student, Business School
Virginia Crisp, Lecturer, Media
Bojana Cvejic, former PhD Student, Philosophy
Anne Daguerre, Lecturer, Human Resource Management
Nadia Dalbani, BA student, Philosophy
Christina Delistathi, Senior Lecturer, Translation
Ferdinand Dennis, Lecturer, Creative and Media Writing
Karl Denson, BA student, Television Production
Mehmet Ali Dikerdem, Principal Learning Development Tutor, Institute for Work
Donna Edwards, BA student, Education and Philosophy
David Etherington, Principal Researcher, Department of Business and Management
Tom Eyers, former PhD student, Philosophy
Kate Fivash, BA student, Graphic Design
Vivienne Francis, Senior Lecturer, Journalism
Rory Gallagher, BA student, Fine Art
Nicola Goodchild, former BA student, Philosophy
Andrew Goffey, Senior Lecturer, Media, Culture and Communication
Raphaelle Gosden, BA student, Photography
John Grahl, Professor, Business School
Peter Hallward, former Professor, Philosophy
John Hammond, Senior Lecturer in Mathematics & Middlesex University UCU
Usama Hasan, Senior Lecturer, Business Information Systems
Sarah Hazell, BA student, Fine Art
Yaiza Hernández Velázquez, former PhD student, Philosophy
Dave Hill, Professor, Education
Johann Hoiby, BA student, Philosophy
Sian Howard, BA student, Fine Art
Elizabeth Lebas, Reader, Visual Culture
Aoife Macnamara, Director of Programmes, Fine Art
Manojkumar Iyer, President, Middlesex University Students’ Union (MUSU)
Gizem Zeynep İnceoglu, former MSc student, Business School
Irem Inceoglu, Research Assistant, Institute for Work Based Learning
Lucy Irving, Lecturer, Psychology
Ian Jakobi, former MA student, Philosophy
Charles Johnson, BA student, Music
Kieron Johnson, former BA student, Sonic Arts
Peter Kapos, former PhD student, Philosophy
Mark Kelly, Lecturer, Philosophy
Christian Kerslake, Senior Lecturer, Philosophy
Eleonore Kofman, Professor of Gender, Migration and Citizenship
Ben Little, Lecturer, Media and Cultural Studies
Jo Littler, Senior Lecturer, Media and Cultural Studies
Rachel Malik, Senior Lecturer, English Literary Studies
Andrew McGettigan, former PhD student, Philosophy
Farah Mendlesohn, Reader, Media
Whitney Mensah-Parker, BA student, Philosophy
Gregory Meredith, BA student, Philosophy
Kevin Morris, Deputy Director, Professional Development
Claudio Morrison, Senior Research Fellow, Human Resource Management
Kathleen Mullaniff, Senior Lecturer, Fine Art
Ozlem Onaran, Senior Lecturer, Economics and Statistics
Ngozi Onyejeli, Lecturer, Human Resource Management
Peter Osborne, former Professor, Philosophy
Dan Ozarow, PhD student, Business School
Rosa Nogués, former PhD student, Philosophy
Manuel Padovan, Chair of the School of Health and Social Sciences
Carola Palacios, Senior Lecturer, Theatre Arts
Constantina Papoulias, Senior Lecturer in Culture and Communication
Wesley Phillips, former PhD student, Philosophy
Keith Piper, Reader, Fine Art and Digital Media
Sebastiano Piva, BA student, Film, Video & Interactive Arts
Nina Power, former PhD student, Philosophy
Dáša Raimanová, BA student, Fine Art
Gianni Raineri, Senior Lecturer, New Media
Leena Robertson, Principal Lecturer, Education
Ian Roper, Principal Lecturer, Business School
Maria-Louise Rosbech, BA student, Philosophy
Stella Sandford, former Senior Lecturer, Philosophy
Nic Sandiland, Lecturer, Fine Art
Ian Saville, Visiting Lecturer, Theatre Arts
Tracy Sealey, BA student, Philosophy
Sylvia Shaw, Senior Lecturer, English Language
Edgar Schröder, Senior Lecturer, German
Javed Anjum Sheikh, MUSU Postgraduate and Research Students Officer
Kulwant Singh Sandhu, Senior Lecturer, Business Information Systems
Tamara Sivanandan, Head of Dept of Social Sciences
Matt Stern, BA student, Television Production
Vangeesa Sumanasekara, former BA student, Philosophy
Aaron Tan, former MA student, Philosophy
Hannah Tattersall, BA student, Philosophy
Spyros Themelis. Lecturer, Education
John Timberlake, Programme Leader, BA Fine Art
Demi Tofallis, former BA student, Primary Education
Pompilia Tudor, BA student, Journalism and Communication Studies
Jan Udris, Middlesex UCU Branch executive
Martin Upchurch, Professor of International Employment Relations, Business School
Hoi Yen Voong, BA student, Philosophy
Rebecca Walker, BA student, Dance
Josefine Wikström, former MA student, Philosophy
Rebecca Woodford-Smith, PhD student, Performing Arts
Sara Wright, Resources Officer, School of Health and Social Science
The incident of Alfie Meadows vs Police Officer.
The Police Officer who struck the blow should be charged with GBH. If he/she was a citizen this would be reported at such in the media, but the assault is deemed ‘lawful’ as the offender had a helmet and police uniform and his baton as uniform issue. The victim had his skull as his only protection for his brain the offender was ‘going equipped’ to cause harm not to use as ‘much force is necessary’.
This is wholly unacceptable and the Police should be held accountable for the assault brought about by Kettling tactics, it is like herding cattle in for slaughter.
I was on the demo and saw some aggressive and provocative behaviour on both sides, but the police were out of control on several occasions and its surprising that there weren’t more casualties of this kind. The BBC reporting of the event was shameful and their handling of the complaints has been poor.
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Thank you for your statement, i have published the letter on my blogs in hope to raise awareness, kindest regards Antony
I watched live streaming of this and generally what I saw was people throwing sticks at the police.
Did you realise the royal car had someone in it by the way ? Like the future head of state ? You’re not seeing the obvious – and much as I agree with your cause, the general public are seeing the obvious, and are losing sympathy with the cause because of stupid tactics at protests.
Swinging from the Union Jack at the cenotaph is like pissing on the grave of the nations’ grandfathers – how the hell are you supposed to turn that into good publicity ?
This young man has been injured because he’s been hit by a truncheon. Truncheons do injure people – not usually so seriously – but it’s hardly a surprise.
Have you tried Indy? Maybe via johann hari ? Cd be because of investigation they won’t publish did they not say?
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Nils Boray says:
15 December 2010 at 20:58
should have been born 50 years ago in the Soviet Union.
I am not British, but come another country in Western Europe and can with honesty say that I am disgusted with the way handled the situation. Clearly Nils Boray is the kind of person that is think he is able to justify police and state violence domestically and internationally. In any sane country, the nations’ grandfathers would have burned the Union Jack themselves, if they’d seen how that flag is being used!
Shame on you Nils!
I’m sorry to here that my friend Alfie Meadows has been hurt in which I must say had to have been an unprovoked attack on Alife. This is because he is such a kind hearted and liked soul by everyone that has ever met him and I think that the Police in question should be disgusted with their behaviour!
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NCAFC posted the letter on their blog
And so did Barnet Alliance for Public Services
Best wishes, Vicki from Barnet TUC
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The Right to Peaceful Political Protest is a Fundamental Human Right.
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