an attack on one is an attack on all
As reported on the front page of the Herald today, a prominent activist within the FAC campaign and one of our public spokespersons was notified last Friday that he was being charged under the Offensive Behaviour Act. The charge relates to an allegation that he held a banner at a game more than six months ago which criticised the police.
In the more than four years that we have campaigned against this Act, we, as an organisation, have been followed, harassed and intimidated; our representatives have been forcibly prevented from taking notes in an open court and we have had a Section 12 Notice of the Public Order Act served upon us while lobbying the SNP conference. In each case our complaints against the police have been upheld and they have been forced to issue apologies.
This charge against one of our most prominent activists at a time when we are in the middle of a public consultation on the repeal of the Offensive Behaviour Act surpasses all of these in terms of its vindictiveness and the sinister nature of the timing. People will rightly ask how it came about that the police have spent time trawling through six-month-old CCTV evidence to find criticisms of themselves.
We find it hard to avoid the conclusion that this is a deliberate attempt to derail the campaign against the Act and regard this as a subversion of the democratic process.
It is highly ironic that FAC has repeatedly warned of the negative impact on the justice system of this Act and also of the poisoning of relations between football fans and the Police Service of Scotland. The bringing of this charge has made our case better than we ever could and it is not the first time that the police and the fiscal service have done our job for us.
We will continue this campaign and will stand in solidarity with our spokesperson and with all those damaged by this appalling legislation. We call on all football fans and all democrats to do the same and to join with us in ensuring that the current consultation process delivers the strong message that this Act must be repealed.