Some 50 campaigners, defendants and families gathered outside Wandsworth prison in south London last Saturday for a “noise protest” against the imprisonment of young people.
The protest was in solidarity with all young people behind bars. Some were arrested in connection with the 2010 student protests, others with the summer riots last year.
Alistair Farrow, a student at Kingston university, was on the protest. He told Socialist Worker about the case of James Heslip, a student from Kingston who was held at Wandsworth for six months.
Defend the Right to Protest and Kingston students initiated a petition to make sure that James could continue his studies.
“We’ve learnt that solidarity is crucial if we’re going to make a change,” said Alistair. “We have to resist collectively.”
Protesters chanted, “Our passion for freedom is stronger than your prisons.”
Cheers and shouts in response could be heard from inside the prison walls.
Many from the Wandsworth picket came to a benefit gig later that night to support the Stop Criminalising Hackney Youth campaign.
The campaign was formed following the riots last year. It highlights issues such as police stop and search and “dispersal zones” that allow police to harass young people.
Almost 100 people came to the gig and raised £200.