Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Maybe the Met has just got it in for Alfie?

REMEMBER Alfie Meadows? The 20-year old Middlesex University student inadvertently became famous last December, not for doing anything special or outrageous, but for having it done to him. Alfie was a participant in the student fee protest on Thursday, December 9, and was caught up among a large group that had been “kettled” — corralled indiscriminately by the police.

He attempted to leave the kettle with some friends, philosophy lecturers, Nina Power, a colleague of his mothers at Roehampton University, and Peter Hallward, who teaches at Kingston University. A police officer batoned Alfie over the head. It was the hardest blow the young man had ever felt, but he did not realise at first how badly he had been injured.

Alfie tried to make his way home, but fell unconscious, and was taken to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, accompanied by his mother, who had been elsewhere in the crowd. On arriving at the hospital they were told that he could not be admitted, because they were treating injured police officers, and the police objected to demonstrators being brought in to the same hospital. It was only when the ambulance driver who had brought him in angrily protested at this that they agreed to admit Alfie. (The Metropolitan Police later denied that officers had objected to Alfie being treated).

Alfie, one of 44 demonstrators whom the ambulance service took for hospital treatement that night, was suffering from a head injury causing bleeding on the brain. He was later taken to Charing Cross hospital for an emergency brain operation, which lasted three hours. Fellow students mounted a vigil outside Charing Cross Hospital.

Fortunately, Alfie Meadows fully recovered.

The Police Complaints Commission was reported to be holding a investigation into why he was struck over the head. I don't know what has happened over this.

But today I heard from a friend of the Meadows family that police have brought forward bail dates and charged Alfie and others with 'violent disorder', and 'criminal damage', and banned them from central London for the whole weekend from the Royal Wedding through to May Day.

"Is there anything more unjust than charging people you've almost killed with bullshit charges?" she comments. "Will be all over press tomorrow no doubt..."

In fact I have been looking through the papers online editions tonight and can't find anything,

I don't know whether Alfie or other students were planning anything for the wedding day on Friday, but I think they would be welcome to join trades unionists and international workers on the May Day march on Sunday. I see there is to be a student activist on the platform, along with Tony Benn and Ken Livingstone among others.

If it is true that Alfie and friends have been barred from coming into town, that is something that I hope the speakers or chairpersons will mention.

London May Day March - Sunday May 1
Assemble 12 noon Clerkenwell Green, EC1 (nearest station Farringdon)

March to Rally in Trafalgar Square.

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At 10:16 AM, Blogger Maju said...

This is soooo typical: Spanish and Basque police do it all the time: you sue them and they sue you, as laws do not admit that a commoner testimony is equal to that of a police agent (not at all), you are more than likely to end in jail, fined, etc. while they typically are not even scolded.

This is the path we are heading all through Europe: arbitrary detentions, beatings, fines and prison (and in some cases at least also torture). We are descending the slippery slope of fascism at a very fast rhythm.


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