Petition Launched For Trenton Oldfield To Stay

The university boat race protester faces being deported from UK

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A petition has been launched for University Boat Race saboteur Trenton Oldfield demanding that the Home Secretary Theresa May withdraw the threat to deport him from the UK. The activist is to appeal the decision of the Home Office in the next six to eight weeks.

The 'Defend The Right To Protest At People's Assembly' group said that Trenton Oldfield's protest in April 2012 was a "peaceful direct action to draw attention to rapidly increasing inequalities that were occurring as a result of austerity."

Earlier this month Oldfield, who received a six month jail sentence for causing a public nuisance , was told by letter from the Home Office that his application for a spousal visa was refused. Born in Australia, he has lived in the UK for more than 10 years but never applied for British citizenship. The Home Office informed the 37-year-old in its letter that his continued presence in Britain would not be "conducive to the public good".

In a number of media interviews last week Mr. Oldfield said he would be appealing against the decision on the grounds that it breaches Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, guaranteeing the right to a family life. His wife Deepa was about to give birth to their first child and it would break up the family unit if he were not allowed to remain in the UK. He said they were hoping that it might be a "mistake".

He has received support from his local MP Rushanara Ali, who represents Bethnal Green and Bow in east London. "I don't condone what he did, but it seems disproportionate to say that someone whose offence was to disrupt the Oxford v Cambridge Boat Race is a threat to our security, whose presence is not conducive to the public good."

Campaigning journalist John Pilger said: "He is not a criminal or a terrorist. He was a protester acting on principle, whether or not you agreed with his action. What the Home Office is really saying is that all forms of protest are now potentially criminalised."

The Home Office said that people who come to the UK must abide by the country's laws.

In an interview with the Guardian this weekend, Trenton Oldfield was asked if, with the benefit of hindsight he would " think twice" about diving into the river, and he replied, "No".

He has written a prison diary about his time in Wormwood Scrubs which is now on sale as a book.

June 29, 2013