Friday, 11 April 2014

Personal Account from one of the FAC protesters at SNP Conference today (Friday 11 April 2014)

Today a small group of Celtic supporters from Aberdeen and the surrounding areas met at the AECC to protest against the Offensive behaviour and threatening communications act 2012 at the SNP party conference. The reason behind this protest was to not only highlight the continuous criminalisation of football fans in Scotland, but to raise awareness and put pressure on the SNP to conduct an early review into the act as it is clearly not working. MSP's across the land have shown their concerns regarding the bill and would also like to see an early review, yet the SNP believe 5 years is a reasonable time to hold one.

Before things kicked off today there was concerns raised from Police that those in support of FAC today would be in posession of smoke bombs. This was completely untrue and certainly no one attending a protest against the treatment of football fans would jeopardise that in any way. When the group arrived at the AECC, the police were quick to assist them and let them know where they would be allowed to carry out the protest.  We did notice that while the police officer was talking to us, two of his colleagues were filming us from inside the building.  We asked why this was and were told that it is 'standard procedure'!  I suppose it is no more than we are used to now, after two years of this Act.

Throughout the protest there were numerous interactions between the group and SNP members who were quick to come over for a chat. What surprised most was that those who were unsure about what FAC were protesting about, was that they thought the bill hadn't been introduced yet. Not many people outside of football seem to know about this, so educating those today will certainly do the campaign some good. A few of the members also showed support for the campaign stating that the bill is "not fit for purpose" and "football fans should be looked after, not targetted". 

Journalists from "The Financial Times" and "The Scotsman" asked for more information but the group decided it was best left for some of the organisers of FAC to deal with tomorrow. 

Thanks to all who attended today and the effort put in standing for 3 hours waiting for Nicola Sturgeon MSP and her colleagues, who saved themselves the embarrassment of being challenged by FAC supporters by sneaking in a rear entrance to the building. Shame on you!

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