During the last two weeks of protests, FIT and EGTs have been busy around the country trying to document all the new ‘domestic extremists’ suddenly flooding the streets.
Fitwatch have received reports and photos of police teams working across the country from Cornwall to Scotland. However, everywhere they go people are challenging what they are doing and documenting their actions. This post is a round-up from some of the reports we’ve received.
In Leeds on 24 November, fitwatchers were repeatedly threatened with arrest after they took photos and blocked cameras. The police were particularly unhappy when they blocked them filming a group of three local anarchists who were pulled out of the crowd to be searched, and when they tried to capture a group of Asian males who had joined the protest. One fitwatcher had a piece of black cloth confiscated under S60 on the basis it could be used as a mask.
Evidence Gatherers were also present at the Leeds University occupation on 27 November and were particularly perturbed to hear their photos would be going to Fitwatch. The same cameraman was also spotted at the UKUncut demo on 4 December.
For anyone in West Yorkshire, we have the names of two evidence gatherers – PS299 – R Moore and PC5413 Dawson. Please remember to say hello if you see either of them.
In Brighton large numbers of EGTs/FIT were also spotted at the protests on 30 November. Officers present included CT131, CC735, F301, CH570, CS076, CH590 and CC718. Photos to follow, but if anyone has information on these officers please let us know. Protesters in Brighton may also want to check out this spotter card prepared for a Smash EDO demo.
Meanwhile in Oxford, FIT have once again been proving their love of violence, pulling batons on school children protesting on 30 November. During 4 December UKUncut protests, FIT were present with one officer not displaying a number and refusing to provide identification.
FIT have obviously been out at all the big London demos but have often been spotted without the blue flash on their uniform. On 24 November, Fitwatch favourite CO2558 Steve Discombe was seen in normal high vis, but on 30 November he was spotted in both uniforms at different times of the day, and is reported to have lost the 2 from his number. Others such as the two pictured in earlier post (CO5358 and EK 280) were very shy and upset at having been noticed hiding amongst their colleagues and resorted to hiding in a hotel after being followed by fitwatchers.
Finally, G20 Thug Delroy Smellie – now U5042 – has been seen back on FIT duty at the London UKUncut protests. It is a sign of the contempt the Met has for protesters that not only are they letting him police our demos, but they are sending him out on FIT duty. We should be angry he is back and we should not tolerate his presence on protests.
We have always said fitwatching is a tactic which can be done by anyone, anywhere and can be as passive or militant as you want. Fitwatch is not about a few people, but about everyone, everywhere. Huge thanks to all who have taken action, passed on information, and enabled this to happen – if there’s info here people want credited please let us know.