The high court has decided that it is perfectly ok for the cops to gather as much intel about anyone they like who is in any way connected to the Smash EDO campaign – or any other that uses direct action or civil disobedience.
Yesterday they announced that the domestic extremism unit, in holding personal and profiling information on John Catt (aged 87, no criminal record), had done nothing wrong. John had associated with ‘violent and criminal’ Smash EDO protesters, so getting a police record was merely a ‘predictable consequence’ of hanging about with the ‘wrong sort’ of protester. The police, the court held, had a ‘need to identify relationships within protest groups’.
Here at Fitwatch we have always believed that we have to take our own action to protect us from spying, disruptive and manipulating cops. We think there is now an urgent need to send out the message that we, still, will not tolerate this type of policing. So this is a call for Fitwatchers, old and new, to stop the cops from filming, photographing and gathering data on Smash EDO protesters on Monday.
To help new Fitwatchers along, we have published a spotter card just for the occasion, focusing particularly on ‘intelligence’ cops we’ve dealt with in Sussex in the past (see below!). Remember, anyone can Fitwatch. Take a placard, a banner a scarf or even an umbrella, and make it plain that we do not volunteer to be filmed by them. Block the shot, stand in the way, hold up that banner.
Act in groups to be safest – cops are less likely to arrest if the FIT teams are confronted by larger groups of FWers, and more likely to simply withdraw to safer territory.
Take your camera, take their pictures and post a link below so we can see them on the site. Turn the tables, and do a little counter-surveillance of your own!