Beating police repression after the student occupation.

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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.

54 thoughts on “Beating police repression after the student occupation.

  1. ‘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.

    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2002/30/section/50

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. @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’.

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

    This ends all that at a single stroke – thanks

  8. Searching of homes is covered by Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 and it’s code of practice B. See statutelaw.gov 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.

  9. Brilliantly stupid really. Anarchists who want more Government intervention rather than less. We needed more of your types of people in Soviet Russia.

  10. Students – please note the country is in a financial mess, and spending needs to be cut. The private sector have had to cut spending over the last couple of years, together with job losses etc., and now I’m afraid it’s the turn of the public sector (in which I am including students). Surely this isn’t difficult to understand?

    Degrees recently have plummeted in ‘value’ anyway (to employers) due to an over-supply. The only way your degree is going to ‘go up’ in value is for this over-supply to be reduced, so actually reducing the number of students will help those that remain (assuming they take a useful subject not a joke one…). Simple economics.

    Costing the economy more due to damage and police costs won’t help either, and certainly won’t help anyone look better in the eyes of those who are currently paying for you to study. It would be better if you were campaigning for other groups, but you are just selfishly in if for yourselves.

    When the economy is back on its feet by all means ask for more hand-outs, but until then try attending lectures, or maybe get a job 😉

  11. @RU’ Do you really not understand that the deficit was caused by the banking establishment and could easily be paid off with proper tax and collection from these people? Spending most definitely does not need to be cut and will actually harm the economy.

  12. Sorry, I’m just not buying this. The police committed a tiny number of officers to the protest. I saw them on Channel 4 News posing around with tastefully applied ‘blood’ and bandages, while one officer bleated to the cameras about “putting himself at risk”, but “it was his job and he had to do it”. He spent a long time talking to them!
    Anybody who has watched NuLab’s enforcement arm carefully enough over the years KNOWS they are a left-wing organisation. They had a token presence at a protest that they FULLY SUPPORTED.

  13. Remember the saying if you can’t keep a secret, how do you know your best friend can.

    “DO be careful who you speak about this to. Admit your involvement in criminal damage / disorder ONLY to people you really trust.”

  14. “Look out you Tory shits, there’s a storm coming your way.” would it ever occur to any of you that some of us are apolitical and are simply working hard to bring up a family in the best way we can in order to give our kids the privilege of a university education, something we never had? there is no such thing as a ‘free education’ someone has to pay. we all have to pay. blaming the banks for the mess is disingenuous, the real reason behind the sorry state of britain is the abuse and mismanagement of the welfare state by successive governments. this has led to a country with a large proportion of people who are/have; not contributing, living on state handouts, high teenage pregnancy rates, binge drinking & overweight.

    it’s all fermenting in a recession hit country that has an overinflated housing market intent on giving out a university degree to all. saddling the youth of the country with massive personal debts and little prospect of home ownership. a tough enough start in life let alone the nightmare of a increasing unemployment and diminishing career options.

    all this promotes extremism which deflects from the main focus of effort which should be to reform the welfare state. support those that need it by the efforts of those that are able. those that are able to work.

    difficult times ahead. stormy yes. not just for tories or socialists. for all of us. sometimes in life, when you are ill, you have to take your medicine, recover, and get on with things. i really feel for the youth today, but fear for their children more if we don’t all work together to recover the country from this awful awful mess.

    by all means protest, you have the right. but please also consider the bigger picture.

  15. The police did not support the protest, even less having heavy objects thrown at them from the roof.
    Their problem {police} was that their “senior management teams” lost their bottle and did not plan on the building being vandalised and occupied.
    Anyway, here is some advice from the police:

    http://nightjack2.wordpress.com/2008/07/24/a-survival-guide-for-decent-folk/

    Oh, and the government were losing the “war” on educations cuts; were, but not now.

  16. You lot had credibility before the events at Millbank took place.

    With the actions of the “Brilliant and brave”, all hopes of us students getting lower tuition fees are now gone.

    I hope you feel bloody happy with yourselves. Tossers.

  17. I have sympathy’s both ways, I know the police are corrupt and also in many places / occaisions ignorant. I also know that the country does not need more overqualified idiots that do not know common sense. Further I also believe that education should not be for the rich. What to do? for example a school report giving the achievements of a youngster, the bent of him ie use of hands etc. all should be used to guide the young person, not give him carte blanche to go and have a jolly at the states expense for umpteen years. Police need serious monitoring and investigation. Activists bent on damage should be weeded out.
    I did electrical, had an extreme interest in parts of it. Compare that to a guy who had a degree in geography, lost interest and became a forklift driver. (Believe it or not he also used to get lost in the wharehouse complex!) Whos training was a waste of money. Why do we need coppers with degrees in sociology, another waste of money. A very large UK organistaion exec who had no university rubbish said one day to me that they were no longer taking on anybody under 32, why? because they by then had sorted their lives out and become skilled at something.

  18. Pity Nedal Nib doesnt leave his name, it would be nice to succumb to his desires and after he could to mine it would be only fair.
    Ooow, to sink my teeth into his bits and bite it off.

  19. Some more tips: in the event that your peaceful protest is infiltrated by a nastier minority who are really in it for the carnage:

    DO attempt verbal dissuasion.
    DO record their actions on your mobile, post them to youtube. Better than a police database, let the public decide if these are mindless morons or not.
    DO NOT attempt physical dissuasion. It’s dangerous.
    DO cooperate with police.

    Trickier is what to do if people you know are starting to get caught up in the excitement and sense of invincibility / anonymity of a riot and lose their bearings. Ultimately, verbal dissuasion is all you have, unless their actions get really really off the charts. This is a real dilemma – not sure how to handle it myself, thoughts?

    The last thing the voice of the student massive needs is to be associated with these criminal thugs, nor getting sabotaged from the inside by choosing a serious demonstration which will impact our futures as a place to let off steam

  20. Interesting letter in Private Eye about the ‘student ringleader’ CCTV images. according to the letterwriter who claimed to work in Millbank, two of the images show his colleagues at an architectural firm.

    These ’13 ringleaders’ are doubtless pictures picked out at random either because the person was on CCTV inside the building, or because they are wearing a hoody and look a bit like a ‘ringleader’ might. The idea being to scare everyone that was there that day, and who is thinking about coming on the next protest.

    I would be very surprised if anyone except Fire Extinguisher Boy ever gets charged for anything to do with that day.

  21. I had a copper at my door on Tuesday asking me to state my plans for the next student protest due to views I’d posted on a public website. I told him to do one but does anyone know where I stand in a situation like that? What rights do the Police have when going door to door?

  22. None. Don’t let the fuckers in the door. No warrant, no access. No ‘friendly chat’ and tell them to stick their advise where the Sun doesn’t shine.

  23. I would like to start a campaign… It is called the Tesco Shit Bag Campaign and works thus…. A few people (more the merrier) take hundreds of ‘Free’ plastic bags from Tesco (purchasing nothing else from the Israeli scum bags) as they are free – no crime.
    Then distribute at all demos making it clear that they serve the purpose of relieving oneself in the event of illegal kettling or ‘false imprisonment’ by Police.
    Then, seal the bags after the ‘shit-in’ and engage the services of the best bowlers. Give the Police one warning to disperse and alert them of your intention to free yourselves, when they fail to comply throw the bags over the cordon… Unfortunately, some will miss and hit the Police in the face. You will see the Police line disperse, and any officer who subsequently attempts physical contact after being stung will face charges for assault. WIN WIN WIN…. Give unto Capitalism what is Capitalism…. I want the Police to fear Tesco bags, just like Pavlovs dog was conditioned….. 😉 Eventually, as Foucault tells us…. the mere image of a Tesco bag will control the PIG.

  24. fight fire with fire use their own tactics against them, link arms like they do, with alot more grunt and muscle power you can over power police line, a 2 deep line of police should not be able to hold back thousands of people, concentrate pressure on select areas, when they advance to grab hold of people to arrest pull them in to the crowd, isolate them, scare the living shit out of them but don’t harm the fecker unless he swings out rip their ASPs off them, hey can be hidden in socks for the next protest!

  25. In a tough economy, the Govt ALWAYS finds money to enslave you. You’d think now Osama is dead its time to repeal the harsh anti-terror laws, just like the harsh laws in WWII were repealed after it ended. But NO, the laws are getting worse – evidence the war on terror is a war on your rights & will never end until you say “NO.” Good on you & I wish more people would wake up to what I’ve said.

  26. Might be worth knowing, when the police ask for your address you do not have to give them YOUR address. You only have to give them an address that you can be contacted at. ie. if they were to post a summons to you, you must give an address that you will receive that posted summons. That doesn’t mean it has to be your HOME address.

  27. This link was tweeted tonight by flitwatcher to help the “protestors” in London today. If you think these people in London are protestors, you are a complete fuckwit

  28. “protestors” and “anarchists” are not being helped by these leaflets. Scum, thieves, robbers and real criminals are. The kind of criminals who destroy other people’s livelihood for their own short term gain.

  29. Try and give the student bar a miss. You’ll be surprised how much money you save, or just save time and leave education sign on, and sit up a tree… or chain yourself up to the gate of a traveller site.

  30. Try and give the student bar a miss. You’ll be surprised how much money you save, or just save time and leave education sign on, and sit up a tree… or chain yourself up to the gate of a traveller site.

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