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The Criminalisation of Democratic Movements by Dan Ashman.



The Criminalisation of Democratic Movements by Dan Ashman.

Last week we had a banner making session at Victoria Park in Leicester with a view to walk down to the Clock Tower holding our newly created pieces of art and then raise awareness of the impending on-shore drilling initiative that puts in further jeopardy the quality of the air, soil & water supply. A concern that has implications for millions of peoples health including future generations.

When I arrived at the Park there was a policeman loitering, he then walked up to us and asked who the organisers were and how many people were attending. This struck me as odd considering the police had not been invited to our gathering. At this point there were only two of us. I must admit I was perturbed. A police woman joined her colleague as we exchanged points of view. There was another one sitting in a nearby building. They objected to us not informing and asking them permission to walk from A to B, with banners. The banners and posters would make our movement illegal and we could be arrested.

Permission? Permission to express oneself in a harmless way? The presumption of guilt has been cast. On what grounds? It doesn’t seem to matter.

It turned out that legislation they were relying on was from the Thatcher era. Sections under the Public Order Act. In a nutshell stated that two or more people walking was considered to be a procession. Without asking for permission whilst holding signs you would be committing a criminal act.

The erosion of civil liberties has clearly been going on for some time. Though it is the first time I have been faced with the possibility of arrest for such weak flawed laws. I did argue about the Human Rights Act Article 10 and 11, how actually they contradict that legislation and hold more weight.

The police as always were just following orders. I explained to them that to inform them would be madness and unethical considering the police partial political policing surrounding fracking. Their intel gathering and spying. GCHQ and the like. I know a few people who have had visits from Anti Terror Police. It would be unethical, more unethical than breaking laws that shackle civil liberty and power. There have been hundreds of arrests that have been dropped or thrown out of court, since members of the public started to mobilise against this harmful process. That means they were illegal actions of the police. I have seen acts of aggression against women from the Metropolitan and Manchester police first hand. Though very little remedy other than compensation exists at this moment in time to prevent such bias and abuse of public trust and oath. The people/superiors deciding on tactics to aid the logistics of the known harmful processes that will bring about a fracked up UK are essentially free from responsibility of their decisions, for the moment.

It was clear there were only a small number of people that came in the end to our gathering, even so the police were insistent. One of the police circled around on his bicycle. As we walked to our destination. The other two were there when we arrived.

The logic essentially of the police is that if you are going about in groups or on your own buying stuff, then you will be left alone but if you wish to inform and make aware fellow community members of the hazards that will befall each other and more importantly the next generation, you will be regarded as something other than a member of the public. A domestic extremist even. Which I find ironic because the greatest threats to health and well being don’t come from the mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts, grandparents that are trying prevent the damage being caused but from the monetary fundamentalist that calculated that their bank account is more important than the lives they destroy.

This undoubtedly has had an effect on the culture of social movements and appeal of them. The damage and societal innovation that could of come to pass is left to the imagination and yet to be fully realised as a result. We did ask the police if you weren’t informed about our intentions then how did you know we were here? He said, “I can’t tell you that now can I”.

UN Special Rapporteur calls for a “judge-led public inquiry” into undercover police operations and condemns a number of other police practices

A wide number of policing practices in the UK have been condemned as “indiscriminate”, “disproportionate” and in contravention of human rights standards by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai, who today concluded a visit to the country. He has called for “a judge-led public inquiry into the Mark Kennedy matter, and other related cases.” [1] Kettling, widespread intelligence-gathering at protests, the embedding of undercover officers in peaceful direct action movements, the “broad” definition of “domestic extremism” and public order legislation which permits the banning of protests have all been heavily criticised by Mr Kiai, who said at a press conference that “protest is actually good for a country, it’s not bad at all…. It may disrupt traffic or some shopkeepers but protest is good for society.”

Occupy Leicester


About Obi_Live

Occupier at OccupyLSX Camp. Then an Occupy Nomad. The revolution will be Livestreamed.

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