Socialist Worker

Police officers give evidence in student protesters' trial

Issue No. 2296

The trial of Alfie Meadows and four other student protesters continued in Kingston Crown Court this week.

The prosecution opened its case on Tuesday, stating that the students were involved in “sustained violence” on the anti-fees demonstration on 9 December in 2010.

James Lofthouse, prosecuting, told the court, that footage shows Alfie, “With others, aggressively confronting police.”

Alfie and the other defendants Jack Locke, Vishnu Wood, Zac King and Colin Goff deny violent disorder on the demonstration.

Jack Locke and Vishnu Wood are also accused of arson, which they deny.

On Wednesday the court heard an audio recording made during the demonstration of police evidence gatherer PC Ackers describing what he could see on the protest.

Both the judge and the prosecution stressed that none of the events on the tape described actions by the defendants, but it was played to give the jury a picture of what happened on the day.

PC Ackers described missiles being thrown at officers and the order being given to wear 'Nato' helmets (riot helmets with plastic visors).

On Thursday Metropolitan police 'silver' (tactical) commander on the protest Michael Johnson took the stand. The court heard how he has a long career in the Met, including being part of the police operations during the unrest in Brixton and Southall in 1981, Broadwater Farm in 1985, Notting Hill Carnival, the Poll Tax riots in 1990, protests over the death of Roger Sylvester in 1999, several May Day protests from 2000 and demonstrations outside the Israeli embassy, G20 protests in 2009 and many football games in Tottenham, Arsenal and Wembley.

He took over silver command of the student protests following the occupation of Millbank Tower on 9 November 2010.

He told of how the situation on 9 December was “fairly volatile” and at certain points “hostile”.

The trial was adjourned and will continue on Monday.

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Fri 30 Mar 2012, 15:30 BST
Issue No. 2296
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