Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Beating police repression after the student occupation.

The following piece is one that led to Fitwatch website being suspended, so in solidarity with them and with the students at Millbank and all who deemed it time to fight the cuts thought I'd reprint their last post.I leave it up to you to read it and consider the implications of police officers demanding the closure of blogs and websites without due process. The words contained in the following apparently attempt to "pervert the course of justice", judge for yourselves . I would not want to encourage any perversions ,well of justice that is. Please reproduce and circulate Spartacus style.....

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 "a violent faction", after the march was "infiltrated" by anarchists.

There are an encouraging number of initiatives to show solidarity with the arrested students - something that is vital if they are to avoid the sort of punitive "deterrent" sentences handed outto the Gaza demonstrators. A legal support group has been established and the National Campaign against Cuts and Fessa has started a support campaign. Goldsmiths lecturers union has publicly commended the students for a "magnificent demonstation". This is all much needed, as the establishment is clearly on the march with this one. TheTorygraph 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 deatails 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;

.DON'T 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.

DON'T 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 hve been found in your wardrobe. Get rid of all clothes you wre 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.

.DON'T 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 throwthem 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 strssfull 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 yo are even arrested.

Once again - we can't let them get away with this. They - the police, the government, and all the other insruments of power which seem to get confused about this on a regular basis - are sworn to serve us. They are there for our convenience and protection. Not vice versa ,no matter how much they wish to believe so. Accordingly if they start acting like they're in charge and w'ere just there to give them a nominal raison d'etre, then at the very least they have abused the power we have granted them - and at worst, they have committed treason and crime against humanity. They must be stopped - if nothing else, for their own protection. We cannot allow them to lose the humanity their jobs and orders continually threaten to chase into oblivion; we must look after them, and stop them if they go too far. It's what the Big Society is about, after all...
Seems like plain old common sense to me.

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