Last week’s STUC annual congress in Ayr unanimously passed the following motion, condemning the recent spate of political arrests of student activists in Glasgow, and the attacks on the right to protest more generally:
That this Congress expresses its concern at recent actions by some police forces in Scotland, which appear to be designed to intimidate anti-cuts activists, particularly young people and students, as opposed to fulfilling any legitimate law and order function. These include incidents such as those at Vodafone and the Hetherington in Glasgow.
1) notes the public concern expressed on these cases by, amongst others, John Pilger, Ken Loach and Peter Mullan
2) Recognises that some form of non-violent direct action is a legitimate tool of political campaigning
3) recalls its existing policy concerning local authority impositions on the routes and timings of legitimate protest marches
4) resolves, in the context of heightened and possibly long-term political opposition to government policy, to call on the general council to raise these concerns with the Scottish Government and local authorities and to exhibit appropriate solidarity with those it considers targeted by these tactics.
All those arrested during both the Free Hetherington eviction and the subsequent arrests relating to last December’s tuition fees protest have now been “liberated”, with the crown not pressing charges for the meantime. The draconian bail conditions have also been dropped. A full statement from the Glasgow Defence Campaign is here.