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Letters—The police put us in danger at protests in Newcastle

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Issue 2748
The police made crowds less safe on protests in Newcastle
The police—an instrument of the state (Pic: Rossographer/

Our demonstration in Newcastle against the police bill and violence against women wasn’t as dramatic as the one in Bristol. But the police made us less safe.

They blocked off the area between the Monument and the Civic Centre, so two groups of protesters couldn’t join up.

At the Civic Centre, people were socially distanced. But then the police started to move in and scared people.

We ended up squeezed together because of the police. We had nowhere else to go.

When the police tried to move us on, we tried to join protesters at the Monument.

We were on a wide road, safely spaced out. Then the police came up on horses and we had to squash together to avoid them. You couldn’t socially distance.

People weren’t being violent towards the police.

But the police were trying to scare us, basically saying you’re going to get arrested if you don’t move.

We ended up going to Exhibition Park. We were nice and distanced. People were talking about their experiences and why it was important we were there. The police then left.

I don’t know if they left because there were a lot of kids and families around.

People were angry but upset as well. But on the protests I’ve been on, there’s an atmosphere of looking out for each other.

You do have to be careful—masks and keeping distance is important.

But the things people care about so much to go out and protest over can also be life and death matters.

We can’t let the government use Covid-19 as an excuse to shut down any dissent or accountability, especially when they’ve not cared about keeping us safe from Covid in the first place.

This time last year, they let the Cheltenham Festival go ahead.

But as soon as anything happens that affects them they talk about Covid-19 safety.



Anti-Asian racism is not new

It was shocking to hear about the mass shootings in Atlanta, Georgia, which killed eight people, including six Asian women.

There has been a surge in anti-Asian hate crimes across the United States since the outbreak of coronavirus last year.

Recent protests in the US and Canada have demanded justice. But many have pointed out that anti-Asian racism in the US is not new.

The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was the first and only ever US federal law to explicitly prohibit immigration for a specific nationality.

And during the Second World War 100,000 Japanese Americans were subjected to brutal treatment in internment camps. This happened even as Japanese Americans fought and died for the US.

Atlanta suspect Robert Aaron Long says he targeted the Asian massage parlours to “eliminate” “temptation”—an example of the violent misogyny directed towards Asian women.

President Joe Biden’s attacks on migrants have shattered hopes that he will move away from the racism of the Trump era.

But Black Lives Matter protests over the last year have demonstrated the power of mass movements in challenging the racist system.

We must stand in solidarity with the Asian community and take to the streets against all forms of racism

Ruby James

East London

Boris Johnson’s rule change lets father holiday

Does lockdown have you dreaming of escaping abroad? Do you spend your workdays fantasising about breaking your routine with a trip overseas? Well now you’ll need foreign property to do so.

The “Stanley Johnson Clause”—part of the new coronavirus regulations—allows travel abroad for the “purchase, sale, letting or renting of residential property”.

The name comes from the father of Boris Johnson, who was criticised for visiting his property in Greece only to say that he was making it “Covid-safe.”

Other travel exemptions include work, study, or medical treatment.

Travelling without the privilege of being an international landlord could land you a £5,000 fine.

Normal people watch while those with more cash enjoy the benefits that wealth affords them. It’s one rule for them and another for us.

Adam Lord


Fight for an anti-racist Pride protest

The advisory board of Pride in London Community (PiL) all resigned earlier this month. They said they were pushed out by a culture of racism and bullying in the organisation.

This group resignation follows after their most senior black volunteer resigned over concerns of racism.

It’s not the first time PiL has been criticised for racism.

PiL also took the decision to allow the Met Police on the event despite calls to remove them at the height of the Black Lives Matter protests last year.

Pride in London has turned its back on its roots. Born from a riot led by black LGBT+ activists, Pride has been co-opted by corporations.

Pride has been a great marketing opportunity for companies to look like they care about LGBT+ oppression.

They slap a rainbow flag on everything for one month and harvest the profits. PiL’s fall from grace can be seen as disheartening for some but there’s also hope.

This should be a new call for people to organise in alternative ways to make Pride everywhere a protest once again.

Claudia Merlo

Tower Hamlets

New low for Galloway

Socialists here in Scotland have watched the unionist election campaign of George Galloway with increasing dismay.

Galloway sunk to a new low last week, however, when he Tweeted to SNP cabinet minister Humza Yousaf, “You’re not more Scottish than me. You’re not a Celt like me”.

His comments should be condemned by every socialist.

Mark Brown


Unemployment is a misery

I am currently out of work due to being sacked after being victimised by management.

I applied to work as a food delivery driver for Tesco. But I was told that more than 170 people had applied for the same role.

It’s important for people to know how desperate so many of us are.


East London

Harsh jail terms don’t end sexism

After reading the article Could Longer Sentences Protect Women? (Socialist Worker, 24 March) I don’t think people who rape think about potential prison sentences.

It’s got nothing to do with punishment.

It’s got everything to do with the mentality that the system propagates.

Owen Eccles

On Facebook

Longer sentences would be nice but it’s just not a deterrent. It’s people attitudes towards women who are raped that is the real problem.

Ellie Hanson

On Facebook

Bosses fear resistance

I’ve read Socialist Worker’s coverage of the Shrewsbury 24 case.

It is clear this is what we face in capitalism.

Bosses will use fear, intimidation and violence to further their greed, and when we push back they throw us in prison.


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