Britain: Case against anti-war protester dismissed

Police treatment of school students was not within the law

Today the criminal case against anti war activist Karl Debbaut was dismissed. 8 months ago, on the day the war began, International Socialist Resistance member Karl Debbaut was charged with ’assault on a police officer in the execution of his duty’ whilst attending a school student strike against the war in Lewisham.

The judge ruled that the police had acted outside the law when they wanted to forcefully remove school students from a London Transport bus and take them back to school. The school students and students had boarded the 185 in Lewisham on their way to parliament square where they would have joined thousands of other young protesters.

International Socialist Resistance and Karl Debbaut himself are extremely pleased with this ruling. It reconfirms that the police attempts to prevent students or school students organising or joining a collective protest were unlawful on the basis of truancy laws. We believe this is a victory for students’ right to protest and against the attempted criminalisation of anti-war activists and political activists in general.


photographs by chris newby

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January 2004