Yesterday, Edd Bauer was released on bail after ten days in a criminal prison, for the crime of unfurling a banner. Today, his employers at Birmingham Guild of Students unilaterally suspended him from his job.
Edd Bauer, the Vice President Education at Birmingham Guild of Students, spent ten days at Winston Green Prison in Birmingham without trial. During that time, he shared a cell with a convicted murderer. His supposed crime was unfurling a banner from a bridge that read “traitors not welcome”, to mark the start of the Liberal Democrat Party Conference. He is still awaiting trial.
Without consultation or a vote from students at his union, Bauer has been suspended from his job as a sabbatical officer. Unelected staff members have removed him from his post so they can carry out an investigation and decide what disciplinary action he should face. His supporters are demanding that any decision about disciplinary action should be taken by a democratic vote of students.
There is no evidence that Bauer posed any risk to the public. At his trial, Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming, who witnessed the banner-drop, described the protest as “peaceful” and said no harm was done. He added: “It is an abuse of public funds to keep him in prison.”
Bauer said: “I never thought I’d be treated so badly by the Guild. This is a clear attack on union democracy and the right to protest. A lot of people are clearly trying to scare people out of protesting. It’s important that we keep up the fight, now more than ever.” Edd Bauer, aged 22, was elected by over 2,000 students but runs the risk of being removed by three unelected staff members.
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