He couldn’t breathe. We couldn’t speak. My resignation from Lydney Town Council | Cllr Zac Arnold

“In January 2019, I was unlawfully arrested for breach of the peace at Lydney Town Council for refusing to allow those in control of our town to escape scrutiny – simply by asking questions. On 14 January 2019, my human right to peacefully protest was ripped away by Lydney Town Council and Gloucestershire Constabulary. This became the turning point for me to stop talking about what I think is right, and start trying to implement what I think is right based on principles of human rights, equality and actual real-life democracy. In May 2019, 384 people in Lydney East supported these well-publicised values and I became a member of Lydney Town Council and a Trustee of Bathurst Park and Recreation Trust.

“In June 2020, the Mayor of Lydney and the Chairman of the Trust ripped away the human right of everyone to peacefully protest – with strict social distancing measures, a Police presence and free PPE distribution, to prevent the permanently ongoing oppression and murder of minority groups of all kinds in this country and around the globe. They did this without even a vote by other Trustees or Councillors. They did this, primarily, due to a campaign orchestrated by a few members of the community based on a contempt for opinions other than their own, manipulations and selective memory. The same individuals that attempted to lobby the rich land and property owners of Lydney and predominantly elderly, straight, white males to “use their influence” to buy Lydney Town Council out of permitting the human right to peacefully protest.

“384 people voted for my defence of my human right to peacefully protest and hold our representatives to account. Now, some of the same people are saying it is ‘childish’ and ‘just a power game’ for me to stand by these same values. Clearly because rather than supporting the protection of human rights, they merely seek the protection of their rights.

“Regardless of what is said about me, the delusions that are fabricated or the allegations that are thrown my way that I do not support the right to disagree with this protest – I couldn’t care less about what you have to say because it is not the truth. My protection of the rights for the Black Lives Matter cause, is also a protection of your rights to disagree or protest about another issue in the future. Rights that could be at risk when dangerous precedents are set in desperate times.”

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