Socialist Worker

Police guilty of human rights abuse at Bolton UAF demo

by Annette Mackin
Issue No. 2369

Hundreds of police were used against anti-fascists blocking the EDL in Bolton in March 2010

Hundreds of police were used against anti-fascists blocking the EDL in Bolton in March 2010 (Pic: Geoff Dexter)

Greater Manchester Police have paid three anti-fascist protesters a five figure sum each in compensation. 

Officers had attacked and then arrested them on a Unite Against Fascism (UAF) demonstration in 2010 in Bolton.

Jason Travis, Paul Sutcliffe and Dane Kelly were among 55 anti-fascists arrested on the 3,000-strong protest against the racist English Defence League (EDL). Most were released without charge.

The EDL planned to march through Bolton’s Victoria Square but anti-fascists blocked them. Police attacked the anti-fascist protesters.

Jason Travis was bitten by a police dog as officers closed in on the demonstration. He has now been compensated for false imprisonment, assault and breach of his human rights. 

Jason told Socialist Worker, “The police action that day was brutal and unprovoked. I was arrested after I had gone for medical attention when I was bitten by the police dog.

“It’s been a long three years but the case shows that it’s right to stand up to police brutality.

“It’s also very important to stand against racism and fascism. 

“We shouldn’t give that role to the state.”

Paul Sutcliffe was grabbed and arrested by a police “snatch squad”. He was charged with “causing alarm and distress” but denied all the charges.

The details on the charge sheet were later changed to include other incidents including attempting to assist another protester to resist arrest.

“I was dragged backwards out of our area and locked up for several hours.” Paul told Socialist Worker.

Dane Kelly, who was subjected to homophobic abuse and false imprisonment, said, “Despite the police paying me compensation, the officer that arrested me has had no reprimand for his violent and bigoted actions against me.”

The men were helped in their cases by Justice4Bolton, which was set up to defend the anti-fascist protesters. 

Justice4Bolton scoured through footage of the day to expose the police lies.

Film maker Jason Parkinson gave footage to Paul’s legal team. This stopped his trial before it was due to begin.

Dr Rhetta Moran of Justice4Bolton told Socialist Worker, “These three men have been extremely patient and tenacious. 

“From the moment they were assaulted and arrested they were committed to getting the truth about what happened at Bolton out.

“This compensation goes some way to upholding that truth and bringing the police to account.

“But what is really needed is a full people’s inquiry into that attempt by the state to criminalise anti-fascist protesters.”

Alan Clough is still waiting for justice

Alan Clough, a UAF supporter who was also arrested on the day, has still not got justice. 

Police charged him with “threatening behaviour” after the protest. 

The case against Alan was thrown out after TV footage of his arrest came to light. 

This showed police officers gripping his neck, punching him in the face and hitting him with batons as he was pulled to the ground.

After an investigation into the “difference between the footage and the account given by officers” two Tactical Unit officers, Inspector Robert Cantrell and PC Alan Glover, were charged with perverting the course of justice. 

But then the judge threw out the case against Cantrell and Glover was cleared.



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