P.O. BOX 5520, Newbury, Berks. RG14 7YW.
Tel: 01635 45544 Fax: 01635 45545 24 hr info: 01635 550552
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org URL: http://www.gn.apc.org/newbury
Immediate release 4 April 1997
Pardon the Newbury Thousand !
Campaigners move to remedy Acts of Criminal Injustice
Following the admission by ex Transport Minister Steven Norris that Protesters were right to oppose the building of the Newbury Bypass, campaigners are asking for this to be recognised in law. Over the course of the massive local and national outcry against the road, while firebombers have walked free, more than 1,000 people have been charged and convicted.
To commemorate the brave actions of those committed people, activists will be holding a nationwide vigil starting at the Clocktower in Newbury on Tuesday 8th April at 8 pm. Local residents will be lighting candles to represent the convicted individuals, linking to other support groups and individuals around the country, together being more than 1,000 candles.
The vast majority of these convictions were for Aggravated Trespass. Section 68 of the Criminal Justice Act (CJA) criminalised trespass for the first time in our history especially for protests like this. Given that it has been admitted that this work clearly should never have been undertaken, there is no reason not to quash these convictions.
Adrian Foster-Fletcher, from CAMBUS (Businesses against the Bypass) said: "The civil liberties issue has often been overlooked in the massive protests against this scheme. We have a long tradition of peaceful protest in this country and this right amongst others has been completely eroded by the CJA, with people's every move being filmed. The protestors who risked their liberty for their planet should be pardoned immediately."
Rachel Stark, Green Party candidate for Newbury, said: "Historically the UK has a fine reputation for defending the rights of its citizens. We are committed to the repeal of the oppressive Criminal Justice Act of 1994. It is time to defend and extend our human and civic rights.
More than a dozen campaigners will be at the Clocktower roundabout, north end of Northbrook St, from 8pm for an hour, holding candles and placards. On site liaison Martin Jakes