Trenton Oldfield, Boat Race Protester, Describes Himself As 'Political Prisoner'

'I Was A Political Prisoner.. But I'd Do It All Again'

Trenton Oldfield, the protester jailed for six months for swimming in front of the Oxford-Cambridge boat race, has said he was a "political prisoner" and has said he would do it all again in a heartbeat.

In a somewhat disastrous interview with Nicky Cambell, Oldfield, who was freed after seven weeks wearing an electronic tag, told BBC Radio 5Live that Britain had long history of preventing protest, "criminalising, abusing and jailing" activists, and said those who put their heads above the parapet "saw them cut off".

Trenton Oldfield, who disrupted the Oxford- Cambridge boat race

Campbell challenged the Australian-born 36-year-old to name a country whose political system he preferred, but Oldfield refused to answer the question.

When pressed he suggested Britain "should look at the indigenous population around the world, their systems have been very successful."

Campbell asked him to name some he believed were particularly successful, to which Oldfield replied: "I'm not fucking interested in this."

He added: "We need to stop criminalising protests, look at how our culture exists and why we\'ve been doing this, why we are in this situation."

He suggested workers could sabotage "conservative think tanks", people could "accidentally park in front of Nick Clegg to stop him getting out to work."

"People are very afraid of participating in larger protests, they've been brutalised in the past. So this is the methodology used by colonial subjects against British imperialism.

"It's personal power, you don't have to go to jail or put yourself in great danger but it is a slow process of undermining the system.

"I really can't drawn the conclusion it's better here [than being a protester in the Middle East or China]. There were extrajudicial murders by the British government publicised last week, English police are prepared to marry protesters, the Asbos given to families, communities criminalised.

"The biggest problem here is the belief there is not a problem.

Describing his protest and the trial afterwards, Oldfield said: "I chose it because it's just 18 people on a closed river. No workers would suffer, no-one would lose their salaries. It was very profound and symbolic.

"I don't owe them an apology, but do have a lot of sympathy for the rowers and all their training, I do, but their are people in this country, training and working hard to try and build lives for themselves and they are having that destroyed by government policies."

Judge Anne Molyneux described his behaviour as disproportionate and dangerous. "You made your decision to sabotage the race based on the membership or perceived membership of a group to which you took exception.

"That is prejudice. No good ever comes of prejudice,"

Oldfield told Campbell: "It was hard not to burst out laughing when the judge was reading out my political sentence of six months in jail.

"An appeal would have given the impression I still believed in the system, that the system could address it, and in a way you take your hat in my hand and ask for forgiveness.

"Yes I would do it again. I don't have a single regret."


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