Socially distanced G7 protest threatened by police and security staff

A socially distanced protest calling for global justice, aimed at the G7 meeting in Cornwall took an unexpected turn on Friday 11th June.

Kevin Pattison, Vice President, Leeds Trades Council & Leeds Socialist Party

As we gathered on the Parkinson Steps, the usual place for demonstrations at Leeds University, we were met by police and security staff. They claimed that a recent risk assessment deemed it unsafe. One protester said he had been attending protests there for 30 years without a problem. No-one from the UCU or student groups had been shown the risk assessment or told of any safety issues on the steps.

Leeds Town Hall has similar steps and hosts protests and weddings without apparent safely issues.

We suspect that the real reason is the visibility to the passing public, some drivers hooted their support and passing students took leaflets and some joined the protest. We were offered a place round the corner. However the 50 strong group decided to go ahead with the protest on the steps.

The protest called on the G7 immediately to release the £100 billion promised to developing countries for vaccinations and green transition.

We stayed for an hour listening to speakers from Leeds Trades Council, UCU,NEU, Unite, Keep Our NHS Public, students and environmental activists.

This is no doubt a foretaste of the attack on the right to protest that the movement will face if and when the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill becomes law.

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