The royal ban on Free Speech and Protest – April 29

Love Police Statement on the Pre-Crime Political Arrests

By Charlie Veitch

THE ARREST

Charlie Veitch, the founder of the peace activist group ‘The Love Police’, was pre-emptively arrested on Thursday the 28th of April 2011, around 1615h, on an allegation of a conspiracy to cause public nuisance. As the video evidence shows, Charlie was not read his rights, and no warrant was presented for his arrest or for the search of his living space. He was held for 16 hours at Parkside Police Station in Cambridge. Outraged locals, students, and activists protested outside the station, and concerned citizens from around the world inundated the station with phone calls to voice their concern of this totalitarian police behaviour. Parkside police were obstructive to his lawyer, family, and partner, let alone friends and supporters, by not providing any information of his wellbeing or whereabouts.

At around 1000h on Friday the 29th of April 2011, Charlie was collected by the Metropolitan Police from Parkside and taken to an undisclosed police station in London for 8 hours. Efforts by his lawyer, family, and partner to locate him were made in vain – he had effectively been ‘disappeared’ into the police system. Charlie was denied his right to a phone call from London, again continuing the obstruction of his access to his lawyer, family, partner and supporters. He requested that the police telephone his partner to inform her of his whereabouts, which was promised but not performed. With his family in the dark as to his whereabouts, concern was considerably growing. Charlie was eventually released on bail 23 hours and 45 minutes after his arrest at approximately 1600h on Friday 29th April from Edmonton Police Station, London – just within the 24 hour limit that a person can be lawfully arrested and detained without charge.

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Royal Zombie Flashmob Arrests

By Hannah Chutzpah

After maybe twenty minutes the people who I’m lazily referring to as anarchists (probably republican but other than that I have no idea what their aims/objectives/sympathies were) cut a ‘zombie wedding cake’ – I finally came in closer to get a picture. Eventually I stood on a bench to get a decent shot past all the other press, but I noticed that many cameras were trained on me, not the cake, as they were there to report on zombies and I was the only one who looked like a sodding zombie. The maybe-anarchists handed out slices of cake (chocolate sponge with some jam on top – very nice.) They kept saying anyone could have some cake, “even plainclothes police officers” – and they took great delight in pointing one guy out. He was slouched on a park bench in a hoodie (hood up) with his arms folded.

“The main thing we’ve been doing is plainclothes policeman-spotting. They‘re the ones that look shifty and uncomfortable” – Martin Wheatly, freelance photographer with Sinister Pictures There was a hell of a lot of wandering around aimlessly, talking to bored journalists and posing for bored photographers. No one seemed to really know what was going on – we’d all turned up to see a thing which, as far as we could tell, wasn’t happening.

At around 11:45 about three or four cops came into the Starbucks and asked us to come outside. We picked up our stuff and followed them out. They lined us up outside the window of Starbucks and informed us we were being stopped and searched. We asked under what grounds – they said Section 60. This meant nothing to us so we asked what it was – they said they had reason to suspect we were going to disturb the peace. I have since looked up Section 60 and it relates to having cause to suspect a person is carrying a weapon. This was clearly not a risk from us in the first place, and was even more clearly not a risk once they had searched our bags and found nothing more incriminating than cameras, bottles of water, facepaint and books.

I said if dressing like a zombie was a breach of the peace then I breached the peace every hallowe’en. The police in question clearly knew it was a bit ridiculous, and made quite pleasant chit-chat throughout. Constable Loughlin (EK477) who was searching Erich, upon hearing his accent asked “you over here on holiday? You enjoying it? Shame today’s a bit cloudy, isn’t it?” The officer searching Amy made chit-chat about the book in her bag (A Million Little Pieces) “Have you read that book?” We asked if we could go now. They said they had to still hold us as the way we were dressed indicated that we may disturb the peace. We kept pointing out that we’d just been drinking coffee in Starbucks. They said that this was true but we might go on to meet others and create a disturbance elsewhere.

Cllick here to read the full article

Crushing the Right to Protest (Alfie Meadows Charged with “Violent Disorder”)

By chtodelat news

Take a deep breath, and don’t let it out until you’ve finished this sentence: the Metropolitan Police are charging Alfie Meadows with ‘violent disorder’. Now you can collect your jaw from the floor. Alfie Meadows is the student who was beaten so badly by police that he had to undergo serious brain surgery. He was also, reportedly, denied an ambulance by police for a considerable period of time. When he finally boarded an ambulance, police attempted to prevent the ambulance from delivering him to Charing Cross hospital on the grounds that the hospital was reserved for the treatment of injured rozzers, not their victims.

This happened on the afternoon of 9th December, Day X 3, the day of the parliamentary vote on tuition fees when tens of thousands protested in Westminster and across the country. It was on that evening, you may recall, that police engaged in a particularly nasty, punitive ‘kettle’ of protesters on Westminster Bridge. Alfie Meadows was beaten across the skull by a policeman with a baton, but is being charged for an offence that carries a maximum sentence of five years. Eleven people have been charged with various offenses under the Public Order Act by the ‘Operation Malone’ unit of the Metropolitan Police. The unit in question was set up with 80 officers solely to investigate the student protests, and as such represents a massive outlay just to arrest people who are either innocent of any crime, or at most guilty of very minor ones.

The inclusion of Alfie Meadows on the charge sheet is clearly politicised, bearing in mind the IPCC’s ongoing investigation into the case. One also has to take into account the recent High Court decision that the kettling of G20 protesters was illegal, which could and should result in thousands suing the police. But it’s also typical of the police’s way of handling cases where they may be vulnerable. You might recall the example of Jake Smith, who was arrested after the Gaza protests in 2009. The case collapsed when it was disclosed that the footage showed, not Jake Smith engaging in ‘violent disorder’, but rather the police engaging in a violent attack on Jake Smith.

Cllick here to read the full article

Anti-royalists banned from London royal wedding protests

April 26, 2011

Scotland Yard will deploy 5,000 officers backed by the military on Friday and promised that criminal activity will be met with a ‘robust’ response. Marksmen from the Met’s specialist CO19 firearms unit are understood to be on a ‘shoot to kill’ footing and special forces are expected to infiltrate the crowds. Senior officers insist there is no ‘specific intelligence’ about threats. Sixty people arrested for causing trouble at recent demonstrations have been banned from London on Friday. Met police Cdr Christine Jones said: ‘Any criminals attempting to disrupt it, be that in the guise of a protest or otherwise, will be met by a robust, decisive, flexible and proportionate policing response.’

Police will also seize any banners that the public ‘would find offensive’ according to Assistant Commissioner Lynne Owens – even if they would be acceptable at other times. She appealed to the public saying: ‘We really need you to be our eyes and our ears. ‘If you see anybody in the crowd acting suspiciously please bring it to the attention of our officers.’ Anti-monarchy pressure group Republic said moves by the police to seize protest banners were ‘an attack on free speech’. A spokesman said: ‘This country does not belong to the monarchy and people have every right to protest against it. We do not find it acceptable our police force is going to silence peaceful protesters.’

Activists claim purge of Facebook pages

April 29, 2011

ctivists are claiming that dozens of politically linked Facebook accounts have been removed or suspended by the company in the last 12 hours. The list of suspended pages include those for the anti cuts group UK Uncut, and pages that were created by students during last December’s university occupations. A list posted on the UCL occupation blog site says the Goldsmiths Fights Back, Slade Occupation, Open Brikbeck, and Tower Hamlet Greens pages as no longer functioning. It is not yet known how many websites have been affected in total or why they are not working. Facebook is currently looking into the issue.

Guy Aitchison, 26, an administrator for one of the non-functioning pages said, “I woke up this morning to find that a lot of the groups we’d been using for anti-cuts activity had disappeared. The timing of it seems suspicious given a general political crackdown because of the royal wedding.” “It seems that dozens of other groups have also been affected, including some of the local UK Uncut groups.” Earlier, it was reported that the Metropolitan police had invoked special powers to deter anarchists in central London ahead of the royal wedding. Police threw a section 60 cordon around the whole of the royal wedding zone on Friday morning to respond to anarchists masking up at a small gathering in Soho Square in central London.

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One response to “The royal ban on Free Speech and Protest – April 29

  1. Pingback: Royal Wedding Arrests: One Year On |

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