STATEMENT by Peter Allen Green Left Co-convenor
Green Left sends its support and solidarity to Francis Fernie, a York-based anti-cuts protestor who is beginning a 12 month jail sentence. On March 26th 2011, Frankie threw a couple of sticks at riot police in full armour, after having been hit over the head by them repeatedly. He pleaded guilty and hoped to be treated leniently due to contrition and previous good character. Frankie is a hard working student, with no previous offences, and a solid background in voluntary and community work. He has been treated extremely harshly for a minor act of “violence” whilst protesting against the far more destructive acts being carried out by the Condem Government in its assault on Public Services.
Owen Clayton, a member of York Green Party and York Stop the Cuts, said: ‘Frankie may have committed an offence, but there is no evidence that he injured anyone. Giving him 6 months per stick thrown is highly disproportionate, given that a police officer in Lambeth recently assaulted a man whom he had handcuffed and was fined £750 and placed on an eight week curfew. Anyone looking at it dispassionately can only conclude that a political message is being sent, which is totally contrary to our legal and democratic ideals.’
Other activists have also been arrested. Charlie Gilmour has been sentenced to sixteenth months for sitting on a car bonnet. Others arrested on March 26th had been peacefully occupying Fortman and Masons. It appears that the police were anxious to “teach a lesson” to these primarily young protesters in an attempt to put them off future political activity. Most of those arrested at F&M have now had their charges dropped. Let us hope that the spirit and enthusiasm they showed on the day will be maintained for the battles ahead.
If anyone wishes to write to Frankie, they should address letters to prisoner A7663CE at Feltham YOI.
You can sign a petition asking the Home Secretary to ‘end the use of political sentencing’ at http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/free-francis-fernie/sign.html
You can also join the Facebook group to support Frankie here https://www.facebook.com/groups/137693436309374?ap=1