Support and Solidarity needed in Oxford
Some of you may be aware of developments in the campaign to stop the building of the Oxford Lab. In recent months, following a spate of arrests for relatively minor alleged offences, the police have been (ab)using the bail act in an attempt to silence the protests at a crucial time in the campaign.
The police and the courts have imposed severe bail restrictions on around 20 activists, who have now been banned from entering Oxford City at all, mostly on charges of breaching Section 14 and 12 of the Public Order Act, the maximum penalty for which is only a fine. The excluded activists include many of the most active SPEAK campaigners, including Mel Broughton the main spokesperson for the group. Of course now that the activists are 'bailed away', the police and the courts are in no hurry at all to bring the cases to a conclusion, the next hearing isn't scheduled for several months until January, and it is very possible that the cases will be delayed even further.
The activists intend to firmly deny all charges and expect to be acquitted, and indeed we would not be surprised if after many months on bail restrictions the charges were withdrawn. We are looking into challenging the legality of this latest attack on the campaign. In the meantime the police and the courts have achieved their objective of removing the most active SPEAK campaigners from the city, as part of an overall strategy to undermine the protests by various means.
Now is the time for others in the movement to step in and show solidarity and support for the Oxford demos, and show the authorities we will not be silenced. There are still demos every Thursday outside the site on South Parks Rd, as well as other demos in the city which are planned from week to week. Please try to turn up say once a month for the demos, and if possible let us know when you or your group plan to attend. We intend to step up the demos and other events in Oxford in the run-up to the National March and Rally on October 21st. Check the website or join the email alert list to be kept up to date with the latest news and events.
Remember that but for all of our efforts as a movement during the past 2 and a half years, the research centre would have been completed last Autumn 2005, and tens of thousands of animals would have been tortured and killed behind those walls by now. The battle is still very much on to stop the lab, see you in Oxford soon...
Tel: 0845 330 7985