Warwick For Free Education suspects have their bail conditions extended
They aren’t allowed to talk to each other for another month
A peaceful protest was held outside Coventry Police Station yesterday to show solidarity for those arrested during the reform group’s clash with the police last month.
Appearing before police at Coventry Central Police Station, Daniel Dawson, Alistair Robinson and Luke Dukinsfield – the free education activists arrested during last term’s violence on campus – were not alone.
In what was a rather laidback but determined show of camaraderie, members of Warwick For Free Education shared vegan chocolate and crisps with one another in the reception waiting to hear whether their friends’ bail conditions were to be dropped or extended.
Activist Hope Worsdale explained the show of solidarity. She said: “Today isn’t a demonstration, it isn’t a protest, precisely what it is is literally just a show of solidarity and friendship”.
Despite this, she was scathing in her criticism of how last term’s confrontation was handled. She added: “They’ve had ridiculous bail conditions put on them which is definitely a deliberate attempt to stop them from engaging in any protest or activism which is outrageous because that’s their fundamental right.”
The gathering was quiet and warm with only about ten close activists attending.
Dan Crowter, of Coventry Socialist Students, also attended. He said: “They’re people who are committed activists and they’ve been basically arrested as part of a tactic to suppress protests on and off campus and I want to show solidarity and support for their cause.”
The mini protest is part of a wider movement for socialist reform among students. Warwick For Free Education has grown since December’s demonstrations, with around 40 people attending this term’s first public meeting.
The mood died slightly as it emerged that Daniel, Luke and Alistair would find their bails renewed.
Charged with obstructing a police officer, graduate Dan Dawson explained the conditions of his bail. He said: “I am not to go to any university buildings or campus facilities in the Coventry district. [And] not to contact in any way Alistair Robinson or Luke Dukinfield.”
Despite his bad news, Dan was grateful for the support of his friends. He said: “It means a lot and with our politics it’s what we do. Solidarity is what we do.”
As the group went their separate ways, Hope spoke for the defiance and confidence of all them. She said: “You can’t just silence us by calling the police on us and CS spraying us in the face.”
One of the suspects, Luke Dukinsfield, said: “The stress, anxiety and emotional turmoil of the past few months have today been renewed.
“It is to disconnect me from my campus, isolate me from a caring and wonderful activist community, and to inflict me with the fear that if I do not I can and will be violently arrested.
“They have succeeded in inflicting this fear, they have succeeded in ensuring I dread going to campus every day, but they will not succeed – not now, nor ever – in subduing my will to struggle.
“To those who attended the police station with us today, to those arrested with me, and to all those who have contributed towards this fight – you provide me with a strength no cop nor university manager can suppress and I love you all.”
Warwick For Free Education remains a prolific and determined group on campus, organising something of an ironic ‘payday party’ for Vice Chancellor Nigel Thrift.