Mayor of Chichester is caged to promote human rights

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Chichester dignitaries spent time behind bars to mark the 50th anniversary of the creation of Amnesty International which campaigns on human rights issues.

Mayor Michael Woolley, the dean of Chichester Cathedral, the Very Rev Nicholas Frayling and the University of Chichester’s vice-chancellor, Professor Clive Behagg, each spent 50 minutes in a cage specially constructed by members of the Bognor Regis, Chichester and District group of Amnesty International.

The cage was placed on the green outside Chichester Cathedral and passers-by were encouraged to write and ask for the release of each prisoner as well as writing on behalf of the group’s adopted prisoner of conscience, Cheng Guangcheng.

Group chairman Kath Shakespeare said: “This may seem a strange way to celebrate our birthday, but this goes to the heart of what Amnesty is about: seeking the release of men and women imprisoned for what they believe in.”

Group secretary Bob Dewick said the event had been very successful. “It went extremely well and we collected more signatures than ever before. I think the publicity of the cage really drew people in – they stopped and asked far more than they usually do.”

As part of the 50th anniversary celebrations, the group will be holding a concert at Fishbourne Roman Palace on July 9. For more details contact Mr Dewick on 01243 823016.