Forfar court demo - Solidarity with activist arrested for representing claimant

Solidarity at Forfar CourtSolidarity at Forfar Court

Demonstrators from around Scotland gathered at Forfar sheriff court today 9th June to support activist Tony Cox, arrested for representing a claimant at Arbroath Jobcentre.

An even bigger protest is anticipated for 23rd June when Tony will stand trial on charges of  “threatening behaviour, refusing to give his name and address and resisting arrest”. 

Scottish Unemployed Workers Network activist Tony Cox was arrested on 29th January after Arbroath Jobcentre management called police to stop him representing a vulnerable jobseeker.  "We must fight back against this clear attempt to intimidate claimants and deny us the right to be accompanied and represented," say SUWN.

UPDATE 22.6.15

The latest news is that when the case calls at Forfar sheriff court on 23rd June, it is likely to be adjourned to a future date.  Thus the demo at the court on 23rd is cancelled, but Scottish Unemployed Workers Network are still calling for protests and leafleting at Jobcentres to show solidarity with Tony.  See up-to-date news on SUWN Facebook

Members of ECAP travelled north to Forfar, to join members of the Scottish Unemployed Workers Network, Dundee Against Welfare Sanctions, Glasgow Anarchist Collective , newly formed Stirling Anarchist Group and supporters from round Angus and elsewhere.  

Speakers from DAWS and Glasgow Anarchists stressed the need for direct action to resist the attacks on our class.  The Dundee Trades Council speaker pledged his organisation's support for Tony.  ECAP told how in Edinburgh too Jobcentre managers had called on the police to evict ECAP reps from Leith and High Riggs jobcentres - but each time the DWP had been forced to back down, apologise and reaffirm that people did have the right to be accompanied.

Tony himself spoke and emphasised that no matter the verdict in the forthcoming trial, the vital work of advocacy and accompanying claimants would continue.

Solidarity at Forfar CourtSolidarity at Forfar Court

Solidarity protests were due to take place at several Jobcentres round Britain on 9th June including Govan in Glasgow and Kilburn in London.

Despite the  complete lack of evidence against Tony - CCTV footage from inside the Jobcentre has mysteriously disappeared - the sheriff at the intermediate diet on 9th June decided the case would go to the full trial on 23rd June.

This trial is very important as it has relevance and repercussions for all accompanying and supporting claimants in jobcentres and at workfare providers, and for all taking action against sanctions, workfare and benefits cuts.  This is an attack on the rights of claimants and all working class people, and needs a Britain-wide response from all involved in resistance to austerity and all concerned with human rights.

On Tuesday 23rd June please join us outside FORFAR SHERIFF COURT, Market Street, Forfar, Angus DD8 3LA from 9.30am onwards,  or show support outside your local jobcentre with banners and placards and distribute leaflets to claimants on Tony’s case and the right to be accompanied to all benefits interviews.  

And remember - you have the right to be accompanied at all benefits interviews, whether at the jobcentre, disability benefits assessments, at workfare providers, at council offices, etc.

And as, post-election, the Tory government steps up its attacks, people's resistance needs to build towards mass collective direct action which can make austerity unworkable in Scotland.  The links being made in Dundee between the striking Ninewells hospital portersDundee Against Welfare Sanctions and the Save Menzieshill High campaign are an encouraging example of  waged, unwaged and community struggles coming together, something much needed.... 

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Please also Sign the petition: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/advocacy-is-not-a-crime-1

Messages of support can be sent to
admin@scottishunemployedworkers.net

Report from the Forfar court solidarity protest on SUWN Facebook

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UPDATE 22.6.15

The latest news is that when the case calls at Forfar sheriff court on 23rd June, it is likely to be adjourned to a future date.  Thus the demo at the court on 23rd is cancelled, but Scottish Unemployed Workers Network are still calling for protests and leafleting at Jobcentres to show solidarity with Tony.  See up-to-date news on SUWN Facebook

 

 

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EDINBURGH COALITION AGAINST POVERTY is based at the Autonomous Centre of Edinburgh (ACE), an open campaign space & infoshop providing resources and solidarity. Resources available include free computer/internet access, cheap copying, free leaflets, books, pamphlets and mags for sale, and a library. Every Tuesday from 12 to 3pm support and solidarity is available for benefits, debt hassles, housing and other problems. Please contact us at Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty c/o ACE, 17 West Montgomery Place, Edinburgh EH7 5HA, 0131 557 6242 or ecap@lists.riseup.net. We invite you to join our solidarity phone tree and get involved. ACE is also open at other times for particular events (but the support and solidarity sessions are only on Tuesday).