Mumia must live!
Roundup by Sam Ashman
AROUND 1,000 people marched through central London last Saturday as part of a day of action to stop the execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal, on death row in the US for 17 years after being framed for murder.
The demonstrators were disgusted that a dictator like Pinochet is now free while Mumia, who speaks up for the oppressed and exploited, still faces execution. The march included many delegations of school and FE students. Andrea, studying at sixth form college, said, "We need more protests like this to get justice."
The campaign is urgent. A judge is currently assessing whether Mumia should be granted a retrial. If that appeal fails, Mumia could soon be executed. Another international day of protest is planned for 13 May. Other activities around the country on Saturday included:
- MANCHESTER: 200 people joined a brilliant protest that began with a rally addressed by the vice-president of the National Union of Journalists. Protesters then marched through central Manchester, first blocking the entrance to McDonald's, then occupying the offices of American Express.
- EDINBURGH: around 120 people gathered on Princes Street on Saturday morning and held a rally before marching to the US consulate for a spirited protest.
- LEEDS: 80 people, mainly from the university, gathered for a rally at the town hall. A coachful of demonstrators then travelled to join a 400-strong protest outside the Menwith Hill spy base with comedians Mark Thomas and Rob Newman.
- BIRMINGHAM: 100 demonstrators joined a lively rally. Speakers included Leroy McGowan, a relative of the two hanged men in Telford, and the brother of Satpal Ram.
- BRADFORD: protesters hung a 20 foot banner "Free Mumia Abu-Jamal" outside McDonald's.
- SHEFFIELD: around 100 people joined a protest outside McDonald's.
- NOTTINGHAM: Over 80 people joined a young and lively protest. Students made a display linking together the lives and struggles of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Mumia.
- BRISTOL: 150 people marched from a park into the city centre.
- CARDIFF: 80 people, many of them students, joined a lively protest.
- COVENTRY: Around 20 protesters leafleted and petitioned in the city centre.
- CAMBRIDGE: Amnesty supporters and local socialists held a vigil, chalked all over the pavements, petitioned and read Mumia's poetry.
- BRIGHTON: around 20 protesters petitioned and leafleted in the town centre.
- OXFORD: 60 people joined a protest.
- LEICESTER: 50 people joined a protest.