Harassment style policing at J30 protest

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One of the most striking feature of today’s J30 protests was the unfettered intimidation and harassment dished out by the Met. They blatantly targeted a large scale stop and search programme at anyone they decided they didn’t like the look of, often young men, who were pulled from the crowd if the police noticed they were wearing black clothing. Black youths got special attention, especially if wearing a keffiyeh.

Searches were not only subjectively targeted, they were also used aggressively, yet again, to get names and addresses. People were told they were required by law to provide their details, and some were threatened with arrest if they declined. The search powers used, s60 CJPOA, gives the police no powers to demand identification.

FIT teams had a field day. They filmed and photographed stop and searches, individuals within the crowd, and even a bunch of activists who had gone down the pub. They were, in the words of one activist, ‘in your face’.

The police will no doubt claim that this is preventative action to deter ‘hooliganism’. It’s better described as mere thuggery designed to deter protest. What better way to undermine protests against cuts than to intimidate, frighten and harass the younger, more militant part of the movement.

The Met have claimed thirty five arrests today, a ridiculous number for a protest without violence or disorder. One man was reported to have been arrested simply for wearing black clothing. Many of these arrests will never get to court, but have been used, like the stop and searches, as a weapon of intimidation.

These are tactics the Met have used before, and to good effect, to undermine political movements, Building effective resistance to them is crucial, not just for the anti-cuts movement, but for all of us who dare to challenge the status quo.

7 thoughts on “Harassment style policing at J30 protest

  1. fit were wearing normal police uniforms,there were also tons of plain clothes out..they were stopping and serching all that were wearing black…sometimes 5 or 6 times to keep them away from others,then they sent in snatch squads..this was done on the main march…nobody had done a thing..kettled in whitehall they then rushed the protesters and viciously arrested..many protesters were dragged away bloody and never resisted…couldnt with ten coppers on top of you,one female was dragged face down on the floor.

  2. After witnessing the activities of some of the police deployed for on March 26th this new information about recent experiences of protester/strikers in London is at the very least “quite worrying”. We are currently witnessing an erosion to our freedom and civil liberties that I don’t think any alive today have yet witnessed in their life times? It would be interesting to find out what the average police constable thinks about this information? I know from some that I have spoken to that they are more than willing to distance themselves from the antics of the Metropolitan Police.

  3. All four of the people I was with were arrested I was stopped 3 times within 200 metres of the march,and by the time I caught up we were all kettled in Whitehall.Only a 300 metre dash,and a timely bus kept me out of nick.I wnet to Hackney,and bought a red hoodie,because wearing black was enough to get you nicked.Pre crime is alive,and well in our so called democracy.

  4. How to criminalise innocent people? This is a very interesting method of managing a society isn’t it? If you don’t like what the mob is saying , doing or even thinking, the best thing to do is quickly criminalise them? Thus marginalising them, punishment for their thought crimes? Given the fact that our nation is run and has been run by a lot of criminals for quite a while now (war crimes if nothing else? Oh, and of course the obligatory fiddling of expenses) what would any one expect? Even the head of the Police Federation has publicly Denounced the criminal nature of those that run our society! I’ve been laughing a lot recently at the plethora of video evidence of several seemingly incompetent police officers in London who don’t know the laws that they are trying to abuse? I refer to the footage of people being stopped and harassed for no real reason whatsoever. Quite comedic! The police force of this country is being dragged into the realm of ridicule when constables exhibit such ridiculously unprofessional behavior. What kind of a nation do we live in? Britain is going to the dogs when our police become so ridiculous in the supposed exercising of their duties. They can not possibly believe that their masters are in any way correct in making expectations of them to behave in this manner? So this is the way things are going, “do what we order you to do!”, “SHOW ME YOUR PAPERS!!!” I swear as god is my witness nobody will force me to carry an ID card or identification papers of any kind in this country. I dont trust them. I dont trust them, I dont trust them, I dont trust them I’d like to see them try this kind of treatment with a Holocaust survivor! I think the police need to be shown that this is no way to treat the citizens that they are paid to protect and serve!

  5. The policing was clearly intended to intimidate. They wanted to push the line that dressing in black will be treated as intent to take part in criminal activity. Although they’d be hard pressed to find that in any statute book.

    I hope anyone that has happened to will sue (if anyone wants info on this, feel free to get in touch!). It probably won’t change anything – the police will consider that a few thousand in compo will be worth it to ‘put the message across’. But those affected may as well get a few quid out of it.

    @Stephen Cairns – would love to hear more about what happened to you and your mates. You can e-mail us at info@fitwatch.org.uk. In confidence. I’d also suggest your mates get in touch with GBC/LDMG if they haven’t already.

  6. I believe demonstrators have the right to cover their faces if the police elect to film them whilst the protestors are engaged in lawful, peaceful protest. If the police want a protestor to remove a mask or hat in accordance with section 60 then it should be with the agreement the protestor will not be filmed unless he/she becomes engaged in a criminal act.

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