Supporters of two protestors are holding a rally outside Sheffield Magistrates’ court on 1st December at 9am.
Natalie Bennett, former Leader of the Green Party, will address a rally in support of tree protesters’ right to peaceful protest.
Activists have criticised the use of anti-Trade Union laws used against 2 people for demonstrating their wish to retain mature trees on residential streets.
The 2 people arrested were charged under s.241 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 – “Intimidation or annoyance by violence or otherwise.” The demonstration was entirely peaceful.
Responding to the charges, Natalie Bennett, said,
“The right to peaceful protest is an important part of living in a democracy.”
“There have been a number of tree-related protests involving non-violent direct action, due to the way local residents feel they have been routinely ignored by both Amey and the Council when it comes to maintaining their streets. There has been no violence and this is the first time protesters have been charged.”
“The Green Party believes the right to use nonviolent direct action when official bodies are refusing to listen to or respond to the will of the people is necessary.”
“When this case comes to court on Thursday 1st December I will be joining Green Party members and others in showing my support for the two peaceful protesters and my disgust at the use of this repressive legislation against them.”
“Using the police to arrest members of the community for trying to prevent the environmental vandalism of mature street trees by a multinational company that cares more about maximising profit than the beneficial amenities these trees provide is unacceptable. We need the council to provide leadership to find a resolution, not inappropriate laws and strong arm tactics.”
- The two people arrested, Simon Crump and Calvin Payne, are summonsed to appear at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court at 10am on 1st December 2016.
- The charge is that they “compelled another person to abstain from doing or to do any act which that person has a legal right to do or abstain from doing, wrongfully and without legal authority.”
- Section 241 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 states:
(1) A person commits an offence who, with a view to compelling another person to abstain from doing or to do any act which that person has a legal right to do or abstain from doing, wrongfully and without legal authority—
(a) uses violence to or intimidates that person or his spouse or civil partner or children, or injures his property,
(b) persistently follows that person about from place to place,
(c) hides any tools, clothes or other property owned or used by that person, or deprives him of or hinders him in the use thereof,
(d) watches or besets the house or other place where that person resides, works, carries on business or happens to be, or the approach to any such house or place, or
(e) follows that person with two or more other persons in a disorderly manner in or through any street or road.
- Several protests have taken place previously but all ended peacefully and without arrests.
- Three people were arrested at Rustlings Road on 17th November 2016 under the same provision.