Beating police repression after the student occupation

The following post led to the FITwatch blog being taken offline when the Met Police contacted their hosting company. It is re-posted here (and many other places) because:

"The Internet interprets censorship as damage, and routes around it" -- John Gilmore

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 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 out to the Gaza demonstrators. A legal support group has been established and the National Campaign against Cuts and Fees has started a support campaign. Goldsmiths lecturers union has publicly commended the students for a "magnificent demonstration".

This is all much needed, as the establishment is clearly on the march with this one. The Torygraph 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 details 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 have been found in your wardrobe. Get rid of ALL clothes you were 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 throw them 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 stressful 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 you are even arrested.




Re: Beating police repression after the student occupation
Posted by Anonymous (94.195.xx.xx) on Tue 16 Nov 2010 at 09:58
Assuming that is an exact replica of the article that led to the blog being removed (which I am confident it is), then I find that disgraceful.

Are the police looking for a group of terrorists that have recently blown up a tube network? Are they looking for sex offenders who have assaulted primary school children? Are they on the look out for a gun wielding mad man that's shot a police officer?

No. They're getting in a hissy fit over broken glass.

In the words of Bruce Willis (Die Hard): "Glass? Glass? Who gives a %&*@ about glass?"

No-one does.

This is a clear example of the police setting an example in an attempt to subdue any further uprising from the general public. I don't blame them for attempting it, as it's all but certainly the best action to take, in theory, but in practice it's borderline sensorship and more than a little worrying.
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Re: Beating police repression after the student occupation
Posted by Anonymous (86.5.xx.xx) on Wed 17 Nov 2010 at 21:55
According to the most recent Private Eye, the English Defense League have been writing letters to councils threatening them that unless they comply with certain demands (calling Christmas Christmas in official council stuff, not 'Winter Festival' - yes I know wtf?) the English Defense League will visit their town next year and stage a demonstration which will 'lead to costs for the council of £500,000 on average'.

This is an overt attempt to use the threat of riots and 'violent disorder' to subvert local democracy. Is this a more serious crime than a spontaneous breaking of a few windows at Milbank? I feel it is. Perhaps the police could divert some of their resources against whoever in the EDL is making these threats.

Re: Beating police repression after the student occupation
Posted by Adds (82.17.xx.xx) on Fri 18 Feb 2011 at 18:59 [ Send Message | View Adds's Scratchpad ]
The EDL are people who are subverting to nationalism, its not their fault, its the loss of identity many are feeling at the now failed (i didnt even know it was an experiment) multiculturialism in the UK (sp?) and lets be honest, winter festival =z I know in my town one time there was no santa, just a wizard, that irked me. What is this democracy your talking about? I didnt think there was such a thing, not in our country anyway. Industry, banks and politics go hand in hand, the party in charge? just a puppet that can be changed when public opinion is low enough (ala, bye bye gordon brown hello cameron) but as we all know, two sides of a different coin