(London Assembly Green Party Group news release)
Green Party Group Press Office: 020 7983 4964/ 07810 156 886
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Wednesday, February 18, 2004

(see the Greens website for a copy of this news release)

“Coach-Napped” Protestors get London Deputy Mayor's Support Judgement to be given in Court Case Against the Police

(10am Thursday 19 February, High Court, The Strand)

Jenny Jones, Green Party member of the Metropolitan Police Authority and Deputy Mayor will tomorrow (Thursday) be supporting demonstrators who were illegally imprisoned on three coaches. The protestors were detained while on their way to an anti Iraq war demonstration at Fairford last year. The 120 demonstrators were not arrested or charged, but were prevented from going to a lawful demonstration, and were instead escorted in a large police operation back to London. They told the High Court in a recent hearing that the operation constituted arbitrary imprisonment and a breach of their rights to freedom of expression and assembly.

The judgement is to be delivered tomorrow at the High Court at 10am. Jenny, who is to attend the case and a demonstration outside beforehand, commented:

Going on a demonstration is as lawful as going shopping or playing football, and the right to do so is fundamental to a free society.

“I am hoping that the High Court takes the same view. I have already told the Commissioner Sir John Stevens, that I take a very dim view of the Metropolitan Police involvement in this case, even though the Met haven’t been taken to court, as it was led by Gloucestershire Police. If the police lose this court case, I will be making strong representations at the forthcoming Metropolitan Police Authority that they need to entirely rethink how they deal with these demonstrations. It is both a flagrant attack on people’s civil liberties to imprison and transport them across the country; and also a grotesque waste of public money to fight the case in the courts.

Notes for Journalists:

John Halford, solicitor at Bindman & Partners 0207 833 4433 representing the Fairford Coach Action, Jane Laporte on 07817 483 167 or Jesse Schust on 07814 587 361 or e-mail thedishbench@yahoo.com www.fairfordcoachaction.org.uk

(Note: The text here is faithfully copied from an e-mail received by the Fairford Coach Action. Phone numbers in Notes for Editors item 1 have been removed, but otherwise the text should be accurate. The Fairford Coach Action accepts no responsibility for errors or omissions. Please contact the London Assembly Green Party Press office for an original of this press release.)