students get the upper hand

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Students in London today did a brilliant job of avoiding and evading police kettles, keeping the coppers on the run for most of the day. Rapid movement and a spontaneous route kept the demo ahead of police lines. The Met, clearly run ragged, whinged that the demo had started too early and caught them out!

It’s easy to understand why demonstrators worked so hard to keep out of police kettles. Last week the Met kettled students and schoolkids for seven hours in freezing conditions, with bugger all concern for anyone’s health and safety.

Today there were clashes with the police as students refused to be controlled and contained. All credit to them for their determination to hold their protest, and their refusal to be ground down and dispirited by kettling tactics.

The Met’s revenge has been to carry out mass arrests of over 100 people for breach of the peace. Over the course of the day there have been a reported 153 arrests.

Elsewhere in the country there have been occupations and demonstrations, and numerous reports of kettles, clashes and police aggression. It will take a while to unravel all the accounts, but the emerging picture is that the police are looking pretty desperate, and it is the students that have the upper hand.

11 thoughts on “students get the upper hand

  1. A good description of what I followed on TV (I thought the BBC coverage was good at last).

    You could have gone further because the otherwise good day ended very badly when the Police introduced a kettle in Trafalgar Square (yes it was a kettle). Until then there was no vandalism or violence reported but the kettle managed to stimulate it.

    I believe they then imposed photos and id recording on all leaving. And had to arrested a large number who wouldn’t comply and then released them when they got the data.

    Many young people now believe that all legitimate protest naturally involves physical confrontation with the police.

    Contempt for the law and good relationships by the police has got a lot of spectators very concerned. Including many, like me who don’t support the aims of the protest. But I’m thinking of joining the next.

    Peaceful protest is an important right. The police have a job to defend that right and not intimidate and detain those exercising it.

    It is vital they find a way of dealing with the minority and not punishing the peaceful majority.

    It is better that 100 guilty go free than one innocent man is falsely criminalized. They have this the wrong way round.

  2. “Why was there army officers around london watching the demos today? We need to prepare for the possibility….”

    Um, because there this small thing called the Ministry of Defence based in London, which amongst it staff has Army Officers. Think back to 2004/5 when the Army was deployed to the airport – Army Officers wouldn’t be out dicking – they’d get the intel from the police.

  3. Nice photo, good to see that banner out there. Cops stole the Green&BlackCross ‘no comment’ legal support banner on DayX.

    Amazing day. Shame people eventually got herded back in to Trafalgar to be kettled but people seemed much more aware of their rights etc this time round.

    Those mass arrests were so bullshit, I wouldn’t be surprised if those 139 people get nice little compensation payouts. Clearly there is no chance of prosecution and the arrests were just an unlawful scam to get peoples names/address/DOB/DNA etc

    Next time round I suspect the FIT team will need to hide even more as a new generation of protesters have learnt to hate them.

  4. Great to see some pro-active thinking. Not just a “war of movement” that PC Plod cannot win (too many kebabs) but also looking at their lines and realising that the weakest part is either end. Certavi et vici.

  5. Great – they avoided kettling – stormed parliament and had the student fees policy changed!

    Anything less would be a defeat – wouldn’t it?

  6. A game-changer, well done to the students. By keeping on the move – and moving unpredictably – they literally ran rings around the old bill. If Plod are gonna kettle EVERY demo in London, they should not be surprised if demonstrators refuse to stand around and wait to be kettled.

    Never again should demo organisers ‘co-operate’ with Plod over routes and timings – if Plod will not facilitate peaceful protest in the UK, then fuck ’em.

  7. I am a disabled graduate and I would like to thank all the students who protested for giving people the lead. As disabled people face horrific cuts that would force those currently living independently into care homes or in the case of those found ‘fit to work’ who cannot find work into dangerous poverty or onto the streets we too must protest. we need able bodied people to support our cause since many of us are housebound or unable to travel. What kind of world are we living in that disabled people need to protest and yes, we too may face police violence and our disabilities will be no protection (on an unrelated issue I have suffered rough handling by officers who refused to accept my disability)

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