Alfie Meadows, a twenty-year-old philosophy student at England’s Middlesex University, spent three hours in surgery last night after a police beating left him with bleeding on the brain.
Meadows, a participant in yesterday’s fee protests, was part of a large group that had been “kettled” — rounded up indiscriminately and confined by police. When he attempted to leave the kettle with a group of friends — including two sympathetic professors — he suffered a blow to the head from a police baton.
There is no indication that Meadows attacked police or engaged in any acts of violence. There had been an announcement earlier that peaceful protesters would be allowed to leave the kettle if they approached police checkpoints, and this is reportedly what Meadows was attempting to do when he was beaten.
Although the wound bled immediately, it wasn’t until hours later that neurological symptoms appeared. That night he suffered confusion and vomiting, and later inability to speak or move his left hand. He was rushed to the hospital, but collapsed en route.
According to his mother, who was also present at the protest, he is now conscious and able to speak, though she said he is expected to be hospitalized “for quite a while.”
Police have offered no defense of the beating, which is said to be under investigation.
There will be a vigil against police brutality held this afternoon at Charing Cross Hospital, where Meadows is being treated.
Update | Meadows’ Facebook profile photo is a poster for the “campaign to save philosophy at Middlesex” University. Clearly we’re dealing with a dangerous revolutionary here.
December 12 | Meadows’ mother says police attempted to prevent her son from being treated at the hospital to which he was taken by ambulance. It was only the invention of an ambulance worker that protected him from a transfer that could have resulted in his death. On the upside, she says, “He’s amazingly jolly now. I don’t know it that is from a sense of having survived or the morphine.”