Rail protesters say they will continue to fight against travel pass cuts – despite being arrested controversially at Sheffield station on Monday.
Video footage showing Barnsley Retirees Action Group chairman Tony Nuttall, aged 66, being arrested at the station platform has swept the internet.
Tony told The Star today: “I am feeling very annoyed, apart from quite sore. It was disgusting and completely over the top – what amounted to bully tactics.
“It was obviously planned. They picked out two people – the secretary and press officer of Barnsley Retirees Action Group.
“We were trying to make a peaceful protest on a legitimate subject and some were very elderly – there was a 79-year-old man who was nearly pushed onto the train tracks.”
George Arthur, aged 64, secretary of BRAG, was also arrested.
He said: “The day must go down as on of the most disgraceful scenes ever at a British railway station.
“We had a rally on the platform, sang songs and chanted. Eventually two grabbed hold of me and said I was arrested.
“I was dragged down the platform with other protesters trying to get me free.
“Some people might have thought the Freedom Ride campaign wasn’t really going anywhere, but now people are coming forward to show us their support.
“We need to think carefully about how we do that so we don’t get blockaded at rail stations.”
The pair must now appear at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court on July 7, charged with failure to pay for a travel ticket and obstructing police. They told The Star they will plead not guilty to the charges.
The Freedom Ride protesters are planning a fresh protest outside the court on the same day, and outside the South Yorkshire Transport Committee in Regent Street, Barnsley, on Monday.
A meeting will also be held to discuss BRAG’s future campaigning at 1pm on Thursday at Barnsley Library in Wellington Street.
Mr Nuttall added: “We will carry on fighting and we are even more determined and I think even more people will want to get on board.”
n A rail firm which threatened The Star’s reporter Alex Evans with arrest under the Terrorism Act has apologised. A member of Northern Rail’s contracted security forced Alex to delete his footage.
Northern Rail’s head of crime management Martyn Guiver said: “I want to apologise on behalf of Northern Rail. I can categorically state that it’s not something we would expect to happen.”
*Videos submitted by Star readers Jen Dunstan and Grace Parry.