Saturday, October 18, 2008

Merseyside Police Allow Free Expression!

It was a quiet Saturday afternoon for activists organising as part of Liverpool Freedom of Expression. This was in stark contrast to last week's mass stall in Church Street, which saw police repression and spontaneous direct action from members of the public.

Following the events of 11th October, activists from various radical and protest groups held an emergency meeting in midweek. It was agreed that in response to a police request, a delegation should meet with senior officers. At this further meeting, the officers appeared to make some concessions to the law as it currently stands, meaning activists would be able to exercise their legal right to free expression without the kind of harassment seen last weekend.

Merseyside Police are clearly keen to avoid a repeat of the 11th, when their authority and status as enforcers of the law was effectively challenged by Liverpool people whose only intention had been to walk down a street and perhaps do some shopping. Today the police gave activists no trouble, and even gave them their stuff back!

However, the attack of the 11th was not an isolated incident of police repression. The whole point of last Saturday's mass stall was originally to highlight previous cases, and stand in solidarity with those who have been arrested. Because of this, we cannot rest on our laurels, and assume the threat to freedom of expression has gone away. On the contrary, the unfolding recession will surely see our freedom challenged again and again.
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