Friday, August 30, 2013

Marching against the Criminal Justice Act, July 1994

Doing some research/recollecting the movement against what became the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 with its notorious police 'powers in relation to raves'. There were three large demonstrations against the Criminal Justice Bill/Act in London - on May Day 1994, 24th July  1994 and 9th October 1994.

This leaflet is for the second demonstration, from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square on Sunday 24 July. Estimates of the numbers attending ranged from 20,000 (police) to 50,000 (organisers).

'Supported by Bernie Grant MP, Tony Benn MP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Paul Foot, Arthur Scargill (NUM President), Brenda Nixon (Women Against Pit Closures), Winston Silcott Campaign, Justice, Advance Party, Socialist Workers Party, No M11 Campaign, Hunt Saboteurs Association, Forgive us our Trespasses, Mike Mansfield QC, Squall'


Politically there were a number of tensions - the established Left, the SWP in particular, had woken up to the emerging movement. Their organisational skills may have helped increase the turn out, but some complained that something that was fresh and creative was being funnelled back into the traditional routine of A to B marches with speeches at the end. 

If there were any speeches at the end though, I certainly don't remember them. Trafalgar Square felt like a big party (though I don't think any sound systems were present other than cycle powered Rinky Dink), with people playing in the fountains on a sunny day.







'I squat therefore I am' - the proposed laws targeted squatters as well as free parties


There were some clashes with police in Whitehall, after some people tried to scale the gates guarding the entrance to Downing Street. Police on horseback charged the crowd there, and 14 people were arrested.




(all photos taken by me on the day - anyone got any memories of this demo or the others?  -more to come!)

See also: Report on this demo from Eternity magazine

2 comments:

Jake said...

I went on one of those demos - my biggest memory of the day is being chased around Hyde Park by police horses - scary and exhilerating in equal measures. Quite shocked at how heavy handed the Police were...

Sam James said...

I am current;y writing a dissertation on the visual language of protest, would I be able to use some of your photographs as reference?

-Sam James