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More attacks on right to campaign
Salford Socialist Party members
We tried a campaign stall at a recently redeveloped Salford shopping centre. We were putting forward ideas to fight the destruction of the NHS and made a great start. A nurse gave £2.50 for a copy of the Socialist and quite a few others donated and bought the paper.
Then the security staff arrived: 'Private property, bla, bla, bla etc'. So we moved forward beyond the bollards, and carried on. Then another security guard said we were still on company property - though it looked like the pavement to us! We refused to move this time. A third guard came and after a wrangle they said they would call the police.
We told them to go ahead and to stop harassing us, we'd see what the police said when they arrived.
One police officer came eventually and he went to see the security staff, for what seemed like a long time. We were thinking about packing up anyway but weren't doing a runner just because he'd come, or let them think they'd won.
So we carried on - cars hooting support, more signatures, more donations. When the officer returned he said he'd told security that we were on the pavement and weren't causing an obstruction. They'd asked him to make us move to the other side of the street but he wasn't going to do that. How long were we planning to continue? "Another ten minutes after you've gone."
"That's fine, then, if you want to do a stall just ring us on the non-emergency number and let us know where you'll be and for how long and then if they get onto us we can say we know about it." Result!
As he was leaving we said that we were opposed to job cuts and that we'd sold quite a few papers at the recent police protest in London.
He grinned and said it had given him great pleasure to see Tory home secretary Theresa May on TV squirming in front of the placards about 20% cuts.
He said that he was the only officer available on a Saturday morning from his station for an area the size of six wards; five years ago there would have been eight.
After he left one Socialist Party member made the point that there were more security staff in that one shopping centre than police officers for the whole of the surrounding area! The owners of private property look after their stuff, the public don't count.
In The Socialist 23 May 2012:
Fighting the cuts
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