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Beating police repression after the student occupation. « Fitwatch

Fitwatch Resisting and Monitoring Forward Intelligence Policing


Beating police repression after the student occupation.

The remarkable and brilliant student action at Millbank has produced some predictable frothing at the mouth from the establishment and right wing press. Cameron has called for the ‘full weight of the law’ to fall on those who had caused tens of thousands of pounds of damage to the expensive decor at Tory party HQ. Responsibility is being placed on ‘a violent faction’, after the march was ‘infiltrated’ by anarchists.
There are an encouraging number of intiatives to show solidarity with the arrested students – something that is vital if they are to avoid the sort of punitive ‘deterrent’ sentences handed out to the Gaza demonstrators. A legal support group has been established and the National Campaign against Cuts and Fees has started a support campaign. Goldsmiths lecturers union has publicly commended the students for a ‘magnificent demonstration’ .
This is all much needed, as the establishment is clearly on the march with this one. The Torygraph has published an irresponsible and frenzied ‘shop-a-student’ piece and the Met are clearly under pressure to produce ‘results’ after what they have admitted was a policing ‘embarrassment’.

51 people have been arrested so far, and the police have claimed they took the details of a further 250 people in the kettle using powers under the Police Reform Act. There may be more arrests to come.

Students who are worried should consider taking the following actions:

If you have been arrested, or had your details taken – contact the legal support campaign. As a group you can support each other, and mount a coherent campaign.

If you fear you may be arrested as a result of identification by CCTV, FIT or press photography;

DONT panic. Press photos are not necessarily conclusive evidence, and just because the police have a photo of you doesn’t mean they know who you are.
DONT hand yourself in. The police often use the psychological pressure of knowing they have your picture to persuade you to ‘come forward’. Unless you have a very pressing reason to do otherwise, let them come and find you, if they know who you are.
DO get rid of your clothes. There is no chance of suggesting the bloke in the video is not you if the clothes he is wearing have been found in your wardrobe. Get rid of ALL clothes you were wearing at the demo, including YOUR SHOES, your bag, and any distinctive jewellery you were wearing at the time. Yes, this is difficult, especially if it is your only warm coat or decent pair of boots. But it will be harder still if finding these clothes in your flat gets you convicted of violent disorder.
DONT assume that because you can identify yourself in a video, a judge will be able to as well. ‘That isn’t me’ has got many a person off before now.
DO keep away from other demos for a while. The police will be on the look-out at other demos, especially student ones, for people they have put on their ‘wanted’ list. Keep a low profile.
DO think about changing your appearance. Perhaps now is a good time for a make-over. Get a haircut and colour, grow a beard, wear glasses. It isn’t a guarantee, but may help throw them off the scent.
DO keep your house clean. Get rid of spray cans, demo related stuff, and dodgy texts / photos on your phone. Don’t make life easy for them by having drugs, weapons or anything illegal in the house.
DO get the name and number of a good lawyer you can call if things go badly. The support group has the names of recommended lawyers on their site. Take a bit of time to read up on your rights in custody, especially the benefits of not commenting in interview.
DO be careful who you speak about this to. Admit your involvement in criminal damage / disorder ONLY to people you really trust.
DO try and control the nerves and panic. Waiting for a knock on the door is stressful in the extreme, but you need to find a way to get on with business as normal. Otherwise you’ll be serving the sentence before you are even arrested.

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Comments (11) Trackbacks (0)
  1. I think maybe you should also write a bit about what the police can and cant do when they are searching your house… ?

  2. ‘police have claimed they took the details of a further 250 people in the kettle using powers under the Police Reform Act’

    Does anyone have experience of this being used on protesters before? It specifies ‘Name and Address’ only, so people need to know that they need supply no other details, but I bet the cops asked for and got them in this case.

    (1)If a constable in uniform has reason to believe that a person has been acting, or is acting, in an anti-social manner (within the meaning of section 1 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (c. 37) (anti-social behaviour orders)), he may require that person to give his name and address to the constable.

    (2)Any person who—

    (a)fails to give his name and address when required to do so under subsection (1), or

    (b)gives a false or inaccurate name or address in response to a requirement under that subsection,

    is guilty of an offence and shall be liable, on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.

  3. As a tory, can I just thank the NUS for getting the coalition off the hook. It was looking a bit ropey for awhile there. But the soap dodging cavalry came to our aid. Many thanks!

  4. Try behaving within the law next time, better still why bother going on marches where violence is more or less guaranteed.

    Just stay home and get on with some work.

  5. Thing is, Pete, the ’soap dodging cavalry’ made sure that the issues they were protesting about WERE at the forefront of the media and still are. Do you think that, had they not occupied toff HQ, everyone would still be talking about it (in the pub, at work, at school, on TV, in the newspapers, etc.) What this has shown is that this type of protest gets attention, in a way that ponsy marching never does.

    Look out you Tory shits, there’s a storm coming your way.

    And GeoffH, what violence might this be? To the best of my knowledge windows are not sentient beings. However, as stated above, the fact is that this mode of protest clearly DOES get results. It has raised awareness in ways that a conventional march never could. Expect more.

  6. I wonder how the lecturers who have supported the violence in Millbank this week would feel if an action group of taxpayers were to turn up to smash and burn their homes to protest at the way in which they abuse the taxpayers who pay their salaries.

  7. @nevertrustaliberal… Completely agree with you mate!
    Tories/lib dem’s/copper’s interests lay with the supportring of the upperclass i.e not the majority of the student population! Words don’t always get results, actions do and in the case of this protest words and actions came together to show the country that we care about our future and we refuse to be brainwashed and to comply with tory bullshit or to be pushed around by a few batton-happy fascists in illuminous coats and helmets!
    The tort HQ represented what the tories are about, fattening profits and exploiting the poor, and by smashing it we showed our attitudes towards it!

    ‘By any means neccessary’.

  8. Well done – you were beginning to have an impact and politicians were paying attention.

    This ends all that at a single stroke – thanks

  9. Excellent advice! But shouldn’t you be advising blokes to shave off their beards for aesthetic as well as arse-saving reasons? :)

  10. Searching of homes is covered by Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 and it’s code of practice B. See for the former and the min of justice for full texts. But remember rules can be broken and evidence is not automatically excluded if it’s got unfairly. If you have evidence that needs to be preserved but might be destroyed or misused by the police send it to a trusted solicitor.
    s50 police reform act has not been tested in the courts in relation to protest. We certainly will argue that a blanket application without the cop having individual “reason to belive” would be unlawful and have a chilling effect on peaceful protest contary to Euro human rights art 8,10 &11.
    lastly while i would go futher than the article and say trust No One (are you reading this Mark Stone/Kennedy). I was there and I saw no “criminal damage and disorder” from protestors just upright citizens using such force as was reasonable in the circumstances to prevent crime (assault and false imprisonment by the cops) and protect themselves and others after the cops, almost all TSG went bezerk at a peaceful student sit in, the like of which happens all the time with no trouble.

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