Lisa Mckenzie, Class War’s former parliamentary candidate for Iain Duncan Smith’s Chingford seat, was today charged with three public order offences for allegedly causing offence to a Texan property tycoon and friend of Prince Harry.
Lisa was arrested by Bethnal Green police on 2 April for allegedly putting a sticker on a window at One Commercial Street and holding up a poster of a graveyard with the slogan “We have found homes for the rich” – a poster that has been used by Class War for over 30 years. The offences were alleged to have taken place on 19 March. The garbled charge sheet was riddled with spelling and grammar errors.
One Commercial Street, which is owned by 29-year-old billionaire socialite Taylor McWilliams, has been the focus of a long-standing “Poor Doors” against social segregation in housing. McWilliams bought the building from Redrow late last year.
In the weeks before charging her, police made numerous visits to her home and frequently changed her bail date, which has resulting in serious disruption to her work as an LSE academic.
She said: “This is a clear attempt to stop protests against the social cleansing of London. Billionaire property developers exercising their muscle through the metropolitan police to stop and silence those of us who fight against social cleansing and social apartheid.”
“I am shocked and upset about the way the Metropolitan police have treated me in the last few weeks since I announced my candidacy for Class War. I believe that this level of police harassment is politically motivated and purposeful to frighten those of us who do not agree with austerity and injustice to stay off the streets.”
Today she had been due to give a keynote speech at a conference in Queen’s University Belfast, but police warned her that she faced arrest if she attended.
On 7 May, a trial of another Class War supporter, Jane Nicholl, collapsed in disarray as the police and the CPS failed to supply CCTV evidence and made last minute changes to police witness statements. She was accused of endangering lives through arson after setting light to an effigy of Boris Johnson outside One Commercial Street.
The police also arrested and assaulted a Class War supporter for holding a large banner which displayed the portraits of the four party leaders and the slogan “All Fucking Wankers”. The banner has remained confiscated for months while police make “further inquiries”, although these have resulted in no charges.