Three anti fascists receive payout three years on from suffering police brutality at Bolton EDL protest

Three anti fascists who suffered violence, abuse and dog attacks from police at a Bolton EDL protest in 2010 have finally received compensation after waiting for more than three years.

Police recently began an investigation into the events of the rally which saw Jason Travis, Dane Kelly and Paul Sutcliffe compensated after being subjected to reckless police abuse in March when anti fascists and EDL members clashed.

The news comes just days after an EDL protest in Bolton on Monday in which Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd praised residents for their restraint.

“The EDL is neither wanted nor welcome in Bolton or Greater Manchester and it’s really about time they realised that. They have repeatedly tried to provoke and have repeatedly failed,” he said.

However Mr Travis, who was seriously injured by a police dog, questions UK policing of rallies particularly using the example of New Zealand protester Blair Peach who died at a London demo in 1979 as a result of a blow to the head by a suspected rubberised police radio.

“Over 30 years since the murder of Blair Peach, has policing fundamentally changed? It seems not,” Jason said after receiving compensation for false imprisonment, human rights breach and assault.  

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

“Furthermore, the police have offered no adequate justification for their reckless, unprovoked aggression and violence at the Bolton demonstration.”

After the demonstration in 2010, Justice4Bolton was set up to defend anti fascists who were arrested that day in an attempt to open a people’s enquiry into what happened and defend those who were manhandled by police.

“Justice4Bolton discovered footage of my arrest and, after viewing the footage and ‘having a word with the officers’, the prosecution solicitor at the Court decided to offer no evidence,” Mr Sutcliffe said after his arrest by a ‘snatch squad’ saw him falsely imprisoned.

“The police have had to confront the reality that surveillance is a two way street, even if currently the state’s side of the street is a good deal wider.”

The men have waited more than three years to receive compensation but other protestors, such as Alan Clough, whose assault at the hands of the police on that day led to two Tactical Aid Unit officers from GMP’s riot squad being charged with perverting the course of justice, are still waiting.

Michael Oswald of Bhatt Murphy Solicitors, who acted for the men, said:  “It is a reflection of the bravery and tenacity of our clients that, more than three years after the attempts made to criminalise their peaceful opposition to the racist EDL, they have by way of these settlements finally been able to achieve the accountability and vindication they have sought.” 

From Mancunian Matters . Report by Danielle Wainwright. 30.08.13.

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