Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Wondering...

Which cause, which fault, which action, which dilemma?

Each day the news feeds or denies us information about terrorist threats, Iraqi deaths, police powers, police misuse of powers, government intelligence, government stupidity, Muslim extremists, democratic solutions, financial boom and financial bust and all the while we absorb this array of selected informataion - without feeling that we have the power to affect any of it. We are left feeling impotent and overwhelemed.

We are divided too by what we hear and which media we select to nourish us with 'facts'. This division keeps us so very busy as we debate amongst ourselves as to who is right, who is wrong, who we should support and who we should attack. Is it any wonder so many flip the page to read easy sleezy gossip?

The way we, as a species, lead our lives, seems ludicrously wasteful, ultimately purposeless and often - downright evil.

However, 'we' as individuals surely seek a peaceful life? With the freedom to love who we choose, worship who we choose and live as we choose... and providing these choices do no harm to another, these are not unrealistic expectations are they?

An Iraqi mother has the same hopes for the future for her children as I do - despite media to the contrary, she would not choose to sacrifice her child to war... she would choose a peaceful life. Each individual person is not that vastly different from the other - it is our political and religious options that define our differences ... and how incredibly wrong is that?

I have no answers, just disappointment that we can't take a world of resources, share them fairly and all live better. Why must we assume that we are incapable of this?

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

What if no-one had filmed the G20 protests?

Where would we be if 'we the people' hadn't been filming that day?

-Ian Tomlinson would be quietly buried, having died of a heart attack

-The protestors would have been remembered as having thrown a 'barrage of bottles' at those police trying to 'help' Ian Tomlinson

-The images of the G20 protests that we would recall... would be of 'extreme protestors' smashing windows

-The police and government would be talking about stronger powers to avoid more violence BY protestors

No-one wants to believe our police will hide their ID numbers, conceal their features with balaclavas and attack the public - but they DID.

I wanted so much to be at the G20 protests on 1st April, wanted to show my discontent at the way our government uses our taxes and mishandles our affairs. But I couldn't get away from work and could only show my support for those who did take the time and make the effort, by 'monitoring' and sharing online (mainly Twitter)what I was discovering as the day progressed. There were so many wonderful journalists, groups and protestors who were getting the information out and I wanted to help it travel further.

I do believe that the police are not all out to attack prtestors and I want to live in a country where I trust them to do the job of protecting the public and working to make peaceful protest possible... but the pictures are telling a story we can't deny.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Ian Tomlinson, the G20 Protests and rushed results...

The claim that no CCTV caught this (there are photos of 3 cameras in the area); the rushed and convenient first post mortem and the initial police denials of any wrong-doing, coupled with claims of 'barrage of bottles' thrown - are all clear indicators of a cover-up that reached out from the police to other areas including medical examiner and media.

That this has all been revealed because people had camera phones & video, makes me wonder how often this occurs and how many cases should now be re-opened in light of this.

Regardless of Ian Tomlinson's state of health at the time of the incident, NO member of the public (protesting or otherwise) should be subjected to such inhumane treatment and NO member of the public should be allowed to be deceived by those in authority.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Trusting the Watchdogs? IPCC handling of Ian Tomlinson death...

Excellent article offering insight into the IPCC willingness to accept police at their word.How Metropolitan police tried to manage a death http://bit.ly/mSyKX

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Video reveals G20 police assault on man who died

Extraordinary footage filmed at G20 protests in London of baton-wielding police attacking the man who died.

read more | digg story

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Rights of Demonstrators/Police

In light of the G20 demonstrations and police tactics - it is worth looking at who has what rights under these circumstances:
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Some information and tips on the law, your rights, and how to react when police have enforced a "Section 60" order on a demonstration or picket.

At some recent demonstrations, police have cordoned off the demonstration, corralling large numbers of people into an increasing confined area before taking their names, addresses and photographs, eventually releasing them one by one. This was done under the obscure Section 60 of the Criminal Justice & Public Order Act 1994 (originally designed to prevent minor football disturbances).

The S60 order is a new police tactic at major demonstrations used effectively to control, subdue and gain personal information about protesters despite having the extraordinarily limited power simply to "Stop and search in anticipation of violence".

Its effectiveness in the past was due to the fact that no-one knew just exactly what powers the police had under S60. As it turns out, they have very few powers.

In the event of an S60 order being issued these are the important things to remember: The police have the power to search you for weapons (and dangerous instruments). They have no other powers under S60. They can only detain you "for as long as necessary to carry out a search".

They have no legal power to force you to give them your name and address. Under no circumstances give it to them: it will be kept on file for seven years. When asked, say "no comment".

They have no legal power to force you to have your photograph taken. Do not allow them to do this. This too will be kept on file for seven years. Keep your head turned away, or put your hand in front of your face.

They have no legal power to ask you to remove any item of clothing in public view, other than that which is concealing your identity. Any facial masking can be confiscated.

If you are asked to remove coats/jumpers etc, refuse outright. They have no legal power to search wallets, purses, inside small pockets etc. This is an S60 search, for weapons only. If they ask to search wallets, purses, inside small pockets etc, refuse outright.

If you have a bag they will search that, but again for weapons only. Any other items, documents, potentially incriminating articles are off limits.

Do not allow them to examine any of your personal possessions (cash cards, student cards, diaries, organisers etc). This is not part of S60. Under Article 8 of the UK Human Rights Act 1998 your privacy is assured. Make sure they know this. They can only confiscate weapons and facial masking.

They have the power to use "reasonable force" but ONLY if you do not submit to a search. No other force can be used for any other purpose.

They must tell you their name, number, station they're based at the reason for the search. Ask them for this. Not only will it piss them, off but if they don't provide this information the search will be illegal. Remember: in an S60 situation, you are accused of nothing and you have done nothing wrong. Do not answer any questions, however insignificant or polite. Say "no comment" to everything.

Most of all, don't be scared by them! They know the law, and now so do you. Use it!

Legal advice: Section 60
Contrary to information being circulated, the legal basis of the tactic of police cordoning off demonstrations and forbidding large numbers of people to leave from inside the cordon - as used at J18, N30 and Mayday2K - is NOT s60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.

Police, indeed anyone, can use reasonable force to detain people to prevent a breach of the peace where they fear one is imminent. This was the basis of the effective mass imprisonment at previous demonstrations. It is not an arrest.

The powers in s60 have been used to search people individually as they are being released from the cordon and this is where the confusion stems from.

S60 can be used where a senior cop reasonably suspects there will be incidents of serious violence or that people are carrying dangerous weapons or offensive weapons in a locality (inserted by s8 Knives Act 1997).

1. Once police have released you from the cordoned area, they can then only detain you "for as long as necessary to carry out a search". While in the cordoned area they can detain you as long as they have reasonable (i.e. objectively justifiable) grounds that this is necessary to prevent a breach of the peace.

2. While performing a search they can ask you to remove outer clothing, such as coats and jumpers in public. In addition, s60(4A) - inserted by s25 CDA 1998 - allows the police to force you to remove anything they reasonably suspect you are wearing wholly or mainly to conceal your identity. There is nothing to stop you putting something else on after you have taken off a mask or had it confiscated.

3. The s60 search is for "offensive weapons or dangerous instruments". This is not limited to large things such as samurai swords and stun guns (taking examples from certain Sunday papers) but can include razor blades. They can search inside wallets, purses, small pockets for these.

4. They can search personal possessions for dangerous instruments that might be hidded inside and they can also seize prohibited articles such as drugs. While it is true that Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) contains a qualified right of respect for your private life, and that under s6 of the Human Rights Act 1998 public authorities such as the police will be acting unlawfully if they breach any right in the ECHR, it is wrong to see this as doing something as absolute as assuring your privacy.

Before police start searching through personal possessions, e.g. address books, cards in wallet, warn them politely that if they do start trying to read what's in your address book or on the cards in your wallet rather than performing a cursory search, i.e. seeing if razor blades fall out onto the ground from your address book, they will be acting outside their powers and you will stop them.

8. Before conducting the search, an officer must take reasonable steps to communicate their name, number, station, etc. They also have to provide you with a written record of the search, which you should ask for. If they can't provide one straight away they must tell you which police station you can get it from. Police dislike form filling and paperwork particularly when it leaves less time to bash anti-capitalists and then fit them up.

9. Under the Data Protection Act, anyone holding personal data relating to other people (this includes video and photographic footage) has to provide copies to those people for £10, as demonstrated by Mark Thomas on C4. If substantial numbers of people on the Mayday demonstration exercise this right, the police will have to spend their resources on finding footage with those individuals on, in order to collate it and send it to them, rather than gathering intelligence and preparing for arrests.

Taken from the UHC Collective website
Edited by libcom.org, last reviewed 2006