Yesterday three environmental protestors were given prison sentences for a direct action, one that disrupted but did not cause any hurt or damage. This is the first time those carrying out such protests have been handed a prison sentence since the 1930s.

Handing out the sentence, the judge said that “each of them remains motivated by an unswerving confidence that they are right”. He added: “Even at their trial they felt justified by their actions.” Of course they felt justified by their actions, they were attempting to prevent fracking that would cause irrevocable and unnecessary damage whilst creating profit for a privileged few.

This is a dangerous, unjust and deeply fascistic move by the British justice system to eradicate our rights as citizens to make our voices heard, to stand up and take action for what we believe in.

But this is only the beginning. On Monday 1 October, 15 people will stand trial for a peaceful direct action protest and they are being prosecuted under a terror-related charge. They could face up to life imprisonment for their action. This is an awful thing to face for these activists, but should be terrifying for all of us who believe in basic human rights being protected — for all UK citizens, refugees, asylum seekers and migrants.

These 15 people are being prosecuted for standing up against an inhumane, illegal and abhorrent deportation system being carried out by the Home Office. The government is saying to all of us that if we try and protect those who are vulnerable by standing up or speaking out, we will risk being accused of terrorism. It’s so unbelievable. But it’s happening and it will take all of us to stop it.

The Stansted defendants actions saved the lives of people who were being forcibly deported on the plane that they halted by putting their bodies on the tarmac. People who were denied legal support, who may have been at risk of being killed when they returned to their country (with a high proportion of these individuals identifying as LGBT+).

SOLIDARITY WITH THE STANSTED DEFENDANTS

The consequences of the Stansted 15 being found guilty of terror-related charges are MASSIVE for all of us. It will set a precedent that will make all protest and direct action more dangerous and will allow us to be quickly silenced when we try to speak out against injustice. We can not allow this to happen.

PLEASE HELP NOW

1) SPEAK OUT

Most importantly, it is vital that we bring this to the attention of as many people as possible. Share, post, talk about it to colleagues. Tweet news websites and help them get as much press as possible. Public opinion will make a huge difference for this case.

2) DONATE

The online crowdfunder is here: https://chuffed.org/project/end-deportations-charter-flight-action-trial-related-costs. If you know people who may be in a financial position to donate - ask them too!

3) TURN UP

  • At the trial: come to Chelmsford to show solidarity, love and rage at the demo on Monday October 1st, or be part of the vigil outside during the event.

  • At VFD - Friday 28 September: we are throwing a fundraiser for the Stansted defendants. All money taken will directly go to the fund. This all might be quite scary, intense and upsetting but Shit Hot Shit Pop seeks to celebrate that we are together and that we are willing to fight for each other. There will be performances from: Jo Sutherland, Owen Jones, Sofie Hagen, Figs in Wigs, Vijay Patel, Meth & More. Tcikets here: https://www.outsavvy.com/event/1753/shit-hot-shit-pop-september-tickets

But I promise this isn’t an elaborate way to get you to come to a party - I really really do want everyone who reads this to be outraged, to share it and to build as much solidarity as possible.

- WITH LOVE & SOLIDARITY, PHOEBE xxx

For more information please take a look at:

— END DEPORTATIONS: https://www.facebook.com/EDeportations/

— DETAINED VOICES: https://detainedvoices.com/ (contains stories and testimonies by those held in UK detention centres)

— LESBIANS AND GAYS SUPPORT THE MIGRANTS: https://www.facebook.com/lgsmigrants/?ref=br_rs