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Heavy handed policing


“The Health Committee were debating some related item and the Leader said ‘I would shoot 90% of them or gas the bloody lot of them’, and the Labour leader then said ‘I can understand your sentiments and I share them’. As a result, a group of young people from the , a national campaigning group, who heard about this, travelled over in a minibus at the end of a conference in Nottingham in December 1986, and picketed outside his house. Twelve of them were arrested and held locked up on remand for two weeks over Christmas and New Year at Prison and Risley Remand Centre, claiming that they couldn’t identify them. One person was threatened with attempted murder, when she saw her girlfriend being manhandled into the police van and having her head knocked against the side, she spat at the policeman who regarded that as attempted murder: she was a lesbian, therefore must have AIDS, therefore that was an attempt to kill them!”

“I heard about it and arranged a civil rights lawyer called , to contact them and they managed to get some legal representation. They first appeared in Wombourne Court and we got , a Walsall solicitor, well known for his involvement in the National Council for Civil Liberties, as it was then, to defend them, and he was amazed. They were kept hand-cuffed in the dock, and as he said, he’s defended rapists and murderers but never had his clients hand-cuffed in the dock before. You just couldn’t believe the degree of hysteria from the police!”

Contributed by: Lyn David Thomas, 47

Click here to read the full interview with this contributor