Saturday, 6 August 2011

Free Frank Fernie

Hello lovelies

Today I went on a march/rally/protest (in the pouring rain!) for to support the Free Frank Fernie campaign. Frank is one of the ever increasing victims of political sentencing that are being used as martyrs to scare people out of their right to protest. He has no previous criminal record but has been sent to prison for 12 months for throwing 2 sticks during a very violent protest (violence mainly being administered by the police who’d been hitting and beating him for a significant amount of time before). The sticks the threw were a) extremely light and b) didn’t hurt anyone. One clipped a police officer in full riot gear. That was it. People who beat their wives, knock people over in their cars, get into bar fights and break peoples noses get less time in prison than Frank has. The judge himself said he was using Frank as an example.
For more information about how you can get involved in the Free Frank Fernie campaign, visit and spread the word via retweeting or mentioning this if you read it.


  1. How horrible. I wish I could protest but my anxiety is so bad. I admire you :)

  2. Lillian - it is isn't it? This is the first protest I've been on for years - previously my anxiety had held me back too but I decided it was time to stop letting it control me and just go for it :) It was way less scary than I expected it to be!

  3. " People who beat their wives, knock people over in their cars, get into bar fights and break peoples noses get less time in prison than Frank has." those examples are not attacks against people just doing their job. If people do not respect the police then we have lawlessness.

  4. Sinjy - are you saying that the Police deserve better protection than innocent wives in their own homes or people just walking down their street or innocently enjoying a drink in their local pub? In the eye of the law, they should all be seen as victims, but in this case the police most certainly were not 'victims'. 2 sticks being thrown at a policeman in riot gear worse than a man assaulting his wife in her own house and putting her in hospital? I think not.

    I admire you for posting this Emily & going to the protest, I completely agree that the police & judges are making examples of these people in the wrong way and it is affecting our right to protest and freedom of speech. Take for example the man who put a shaving foam pie in Rupert Murdoch's face getting time in prison! When people have done similar things to politicians, nothing happens. Murdoch didn't even WANT to press charges but they went ahead anyway to make an example of him. It was not harmful to Murdoch, just a bit embarrassing I suppose. It does NOT warrant time in prison for an innocent person. It is simply a waste of tax payer's moneys when there are real threats to society on the street because they are running out of space in prisons.

  5. People should never be afraid to exercise their right to protest peacefully. People who turn peaceful protests into riots are causing a lot of harm to a lot of very worthy causes by making protestors look disorganised and petty.

    My Fiance is a Police Constable and reliably informs me that the majority of the police officers would be as happy to see the end of police violence as anyone else. Often arrests where the person being arrested look more brutal than they really are. Police Officers are trained and have to go through the process themselves so they know how it feels, how to remove any threat of violence as quickly and effectively as possible. The Police Officers also have to be pepper sprayed so they don't rush to use the spray too easily. When a person is going to resist arrest and may cause injury (i.e they are involved in a violent protest or riot) then several police officers are seen to pile on them. When done correctly (and I don't presume that it is always done right of course) this looks unpleasant but is designed to restrain each limb of the person being arrested, preventing them from injuring themselves or the arresting officers. In a violent protest it can be hard to tell who is a threat, so many people end up being moved this way.

    To avoid getting injured in a protest if you are worried the best thing to do is to remain calm, avoid becoming involved with any violence and move away from anyone doing so, reporting trouble makers to the police so that the legitimate protestors can continue happily and safely. If you get caught up with violence and become arrested by far the best thing to do is to remain calm and go quietly. In the midst of chaos with everyone screaming that they are innocent even if they aren't it's almost impossible for anyone to determine who the ring leaders are to target them. If you are able to explain that you were exercising your legal right to protest peacefully, were not involved in violence and were picked up in the midst of chaos you will be released quickly, without problem and with apology.

    I'm not saying that things never go wrong and that there aren't police officers who have become so jaded that they use their position of authority in an unjust way, those people do need to be apprehended, as does anyone behaving in a way that endangers the public. I feel sorry for this young man and I think his sentence is unrealistic however I do not think that this is the same as being totally innocent. Throwing things around in a panicked situation is a breach of the peace and public safety and is a crime, in a situation that could have escalated out of control I can understand his arrest but I do think that a warning would have been sufficient sanction given that as you say, far more dangerous acts are carried out by worse people with lesser punishments.

    Do try to remember everyone that the police and the courts are not one and the same. The police are just as frustrated, if not more so than we, having gathered evidence and a case against wife beaters etc only for the court to give them a slap on the wrist and send them home. Bear in mind that this is the same court that Police who commit crimes have to go to. Contrary to what the newspapers believe the Police do not want a bad reputation and are happy to throw the book at officers who have behaved in a brutal manner, but when the cases are brought to court, this is the same court system that claims there isn't enough evidence to prosecute shoplifters caught on tape shoplifting and arrested with pockets full of stolen goods!

    I'm sorry for the long post!


Your comments and thoughts are really appreciated :) Thank you for taking the time to chat xx