Defend the Dissent!

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24th November has been called as national walkout for schools, colleges and universities. In London, a Carnival of Resistance has been called with an assembly point called for 11am at ULU, Malet Street.

Undoubtedly the cops will be out in force, with a salivating MET keen to be let off their post G20 leash. It seems likely a policing strategy will be implemented to scare and intimidate protesters, especially as it is being headed by G20 Gold Commander Bob Broadhurst.

Forward Intelligence Teams will be prevalent – trying both to track down those they perceive as responsible for the Millbank protests and recording as much information as they can on all protesters for their databases. Whilst they use the excuse of monitoring violent extremists, as Fitwatch has long reported, FIT have a long history of recording information about people who have committed no crime whatsoever other than attend protests.

Frustrate the FIT wherever possible. FIT are generally easily to spot because of the stripe of blue on their high vis jackets. However, they have increasingly been abandoning these as their unpopularity has grown. Look out for the cops on the Fitwatch spotter cards, or any accompanying photographers, or standing in small groups making notes.

Mask up from the beginning of the demo. You don’t have to be anarchist or plan to commit disorder to wear black and mask up. The more people who do, the more protection it gives to everyone, and the less people end up on a police database. Take extra masks with you and hand them out to people who have forgotten or look like they might need them.

Take photographs of FIT and write down their numbers, challenge them if they try and walk through our crowds, and act in solidarity if they target individuals. Block their shots with banners and placards and stop them expanding their protester databases. Publicise their movements on social network sites and follow @fitwatcher on Twitter.

The police have shown time and time again they will use excessive means to quash political dissent. However, the solidarity shown to Fitwatch over the last week has shown how powerful we can be when we stand together and refuse to co-operate.

See you on the streets.

Follow a few tips for staying safe in public order situations and hopefully you won’t need the controversial advice we published last week:

(this is by no means a comprehensive guide)
1.Mask up from the beginning of the demo.
2. You do not have to co operate with having your photograph taken on the street and the police have no powers to force you to comply.
3.Don’t bring identification, diaries etc., to the protest.
4.If you are stopped and searched, you do not have to give any details. If you are not driving a vehicle, the only times the police have the power to arrest you for not giving details are under Section 50 of the Anti Social Behavior Act or if they want to summons you for an offence/issue a fixed penalty notice.
5.Consider buying a cheap pay-as-you-go phone for demos to prevent the cops seizing your phone and going through your contact lists, text messages etc.
6.Buddy up. Have one or two people who you know are watching your back.
7.Take water and high energy foods with you.
8.Remember there is no such thing as a friendly chat with a cop.
9.Watch police movements and formations. Look out for pens – and if you’ve done something, take the opportunity to leave while you still can.
10.Watch for FIT teams. If one arrives at a situation, block their shots and let people know.
11.If you are arrested make no comment other than to give your name and a verifiable address. If your solicitor tries to advise you otherwise, tell them you want them to instruct you to give a no comment interview.

For further information see Guide to Public Order SituationsSpotter Card

10 thoughts on “Defend the Dissent!

  1. Girls should start wearing the burqa/hijab for demos. They don’t have to be black as they come in many designs that are very fashionable. The guys should take to wearing the Palestinian scarf (shemagh, keffiyeh). Another great piece of equipment to take is the umbrella. :)

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