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Police drop plan to charge anti-fascists for 'conspiracy' over Bolton demonstration

Issue No. 2227

The police have dropped their threat to charge leading Unite Against Fascism (UAF) members Weyman Bennett and Rhetta Moran, this week.

Weyman, who is joint national secretary of UAF, and Rhetta, joint secretary of Greater Manchester UAF, were both arrested on the demonstration against the racist English Defence League (EDL) in Bolton last March. Ever since they have faced potential charges of conspiracy to incite violent disorder—an offence that could carry a substantial jail term.

Antifascist campaigners argued that this unprecedented use of conspiracy laws was a threat not just to the right to protest against fascism, but could curtail the right to any public protest in a serious blow to civil liberties.

Weyman said, 'This is a victory for antifascists and for the right to protest. It is a disgrace that police were prepared to use such charges against antifascists and antiracists. I’m proud to say that the threat of these charges has not deterred any of us from continuing to stand up against the EDL—racist thugs with fascists in their midst.'

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Thu 11 Nov 2010, 11:30 GMT
Issue No. 2227
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