Liberty condone policing and condemn protesters.

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A Liberty legal observer consults with senior police officers in Trafalgar Square

It’s not surprising, or in the least unexpected, but in a report they released yesterday, Liberty have made it quite clear their sympathies lie far more with the police than with any protester engaging in civil disobedience. The policing of the demonstration on the 26th March, said Liberty, was ‘proportionate and restrained’. The black bloc, on the other hand, were nothing more than ‘violent individuals and groups’ who ‘infiltrated’ the TUC march.

Liberty has refused to comment in their report on any aspect of policing away from the TUC march. Apparently civil rights only apply to people on authorised demonstrations. Their legal observers had long gone home by the time the Met waded in ‘proportionately’ and with ‘restraint’ to terrorise, hit, kick and kettle people in Trafalgar Square. Liberty didn’t see people forced to stand in front of FIT teams while they were filmed from head to toe, or thrown in the back of police vans only to be kicked out in random locations and left to find their way home.

They were also looking the other way when 138 people arrested for aggravated trespass at Fortnum and Masons, unaccountably had mobile phones and clothes seized and kept by police. Liberty are ‘unable to comment’ on any of that.

They were a bit concerned about the Met’s fixation with kettling, but only on the basis that it fails to distinguish between the ‘innocent’ and the ‘guilty’. Liberty does not seem to mind what sort of treatment is handed out to the ‘guilty’. Although it was amusing to read their account of the ineffectiveness of trying to kettle the black bloc:

“At various points in the afternoon kettles were authorised by those in the SOR [Special Operations Room] in order to contain those responsible for damage to property, only for the authorisation to be withdrawn for practical reasons because the location was not suitable for a containment or because most of the violent group had moved off. “

They did comment on how friendly and helpful the police were, and how they refused to retaliate against groups of protesters who were ‘tormenting’ them. They noted how well the police communicated with demonstrators by the use of social media, and how efficiently they moved aside a group of people that attempted an act of civil disobedience in Westminster.

The Met, of course, have been quick to pick up the propaganda coup that Liberty have handed to them on a plate. They have officially ‘welcomed’ Liberty’s endorsement of their ‘proportionate’ policing operation. If Liberty have said the policing of protest is fine, anyone complaining about it must surely be one of those nasty extremist types.

The information Liberty have gathered could also be used directly against protesters. They have made it clear they are prepared to hand over their notes to the police wherever that is justified. Considering Liberty observers have made detailed notes of protesters ‘abusing the police verbally’, or throwing missiles, that is incredibly disturbing.

While pretending to be the protectors of civil liberties, Liberty have in fact set themselves up as apologists and stooges for the Metropolitan police. Whether they have done so deliberately, or as a result of being naively manipulated by the Met, doesn’t really matter. They cannot be trusted.

10 thoughts on “Liberty condone policing and condemn protesters.

  1. isn’t this line rather more worrying:

    “This is to be contrasted with circumstances in which the police surround a group with reasonable grounds to arrest each individual in the group and for the purpose of arresting them. We do not consider this to be a ‘containment’ and nor would it violate the right to liberty protected by Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights.”

    They don’t make this clear, but it seems to imply that the mass arrests at fortnum and mason and at the G20 in toronto were fine. I could be misinterpreting it, but it seems to give the police way too much wriggle room.

  2. Hard to tell one arrogant cunt in a high viz jacket from another in this little snap. Liberty is watching You! They are a joke, a rather sick one unfortunately. The word ‘collaborator’ springs to mind.

  3. “Liberty didn’t see people forced to stand in front of FIT teams while they were filmed from head to toe, or thrown in the back of police vans only to be kicked out in random locations and left to find their way home.”

    I haven’t heard of the tactic “arresting and dumping” being used recently. Can anyone provide links to witness testimony.

    Thanks.

  4. that bitch in the pic looks so neo con. another paid group for big brother and their elitist masters. what a joke

  5. This is a deeply disturbing turn of events. There is no justification for the abuse of human rights. Liberty have been contacted by many people demanding an explaination, with no answers coming back from Liberty.
    The following link shows the indiscriminate violence used on peaceful protestors by the police.

  6. @Saul We have received a number of independent accounts from witnesses who were ‘arrested and dumped’ on Saturday 26th March.

    It is possible that they simply ran out of police cells – they had arrested 145 people in Fotnum and Masons, as well as a handful of black block and ‘others’.

    If this is the case, it is perhaps worth noting what a relatively small number it took to overwhelm custody suite capacity!

  7. Yaaaawwwwnnnn. As always, when it doesnt go the way you want, you bitch about it. If Liberty had said the police had been heavy handed you would have held them up as paragons. It’s all a little predictable and somewhat boring. Why don’t you get on and do what you are supposed to do…..Watch the watchers, rather than bitch about them.

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