ELITISM protester Trenton Oldfield has compared life in a British prison to his time at a Sydney boarding school.
The 36-year-old Australian was jailed for six months in October after a jury found him guilty of causing a public nuisance by disrupting the annual Oxford-Cambridge rowing race on London’s River Thames in April.
His wife Deepa Naik, 35, has spoken in support of Oldfield and his “political protest”, in an interview published with London’s Evening Standard newspaper on Tuesday.
How is her husband faring in prison?
“He said it couldn’t be worse than the boarding school he was sent to. But he’s not afraid,” teacher Ms Naik answered.
During his trial the former Sydney schoolboy rower, who “hated” his four years at boarding school, said severe budget cuts in Britain had tipped him over the edge ahead of his stunt during the famous boat race.
Teaching in Saudi Arabia at the time, Ms Naik found out about Oldfield’s act by email.
“I immediately understood that it was a political protest, in a tradition that this country has of direct action … (like) anti-apartheid protests at cricket matches,” she said.
Oldfield’s wife of two years insists he posed no threat of harm by swimming among the racing oars as they churned toward the finish line.
She said her husband is a strong swimmer and had carefully planned the protest so it did not disrupt weekday workers.
“He wanted to make a direct action with the maximum amount of exposure and the minimal amount of damage,” she added.
“There are two positive things that are coming out. First, people are talking about the criminalisation of protest. And second, they are talking about the culture of elitism in Britain. That’s precisely what Trenton wanted to address.” – AAP