Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Beating police repression after the student occupation

15 November, 2010 the Vacuum Cleaner

The website fitwatch.org.uk has been suspended on request of Acting
Detective Inspector Will Hodgeson from CO11 as part of Op Malone (hunting
down the students from last weeks demo)

We have reprinted below the last post from fitwatch.org.uk in solidarity,
you can post it on your blog to!


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 intiatives 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;

DONT 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.

DONT 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.

DONT 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

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.

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