7000 demonstrate for the right to work as police impose strict conditions on protest.

Police behind the cordons protecting the Conservative Party conference from right to work protesters

This was, according to the police, an entirely peaceful march, with no criminal offences taking place. It was predominantly a trade union march, upbeat and with plenty of colourful banners. Yet the police still insisted on imposing strict conditions on the route, refusing to allow the march anywhere near the Conservative Party conference which was the focus of the protests. These conditions were ‘robustly’ enforced with ten foot metal cordons, dogs and huge numbers of police officers.

When, towards the end of the march, some from the anarchist block decided to force the point and leave the authorised route, they were immediately ‘kettled’ – surrounded and held by police and dog units. The fifty or so in the kettle were pushed and shoved towards the car park where coaches were waiting, and were told they would be searched and released. Police cameramen carefully filmed each person as they were searched, getting close up shots of head and shoulders, clothing, shoes and ‘identifying features’. Police also demanded they give their name and address on film. The legality of all this is dubious – the Public Order Act (section 60) gives the police powers to search people for weapons but not, as they did here, to gather intelligence for their database while they are doing it.

When about half of the group objected to being filmed in this way, and refused to co-operate with the search while police cameras were present, the police response was to search them by force. At least one protester was left with severe bruising, another missing clumps of hair. None of the searches resulted in anything ‘untoward’ being found, there were no items seized and no arrests.

West Midlands intelligence gatherer 475

Generally the surveillance, while often discrete, was ever present. A large police mobile CCTV van (bearing the words Football Operations) was parked at the march start point. The National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU), the unit that exists to keep tabs on ‘domestic extremists’ were there too, gathering their own ‘intel’. A very expensive police helicopter hovered above. And police cameramen took photographs from windows of a number of buildings lining the route (out of reach of Fitwatchers!).

Given the extent of surveillance of their members on this march, it is remarkable (though perhaps not surprising) that the unions don’t do more to question where the line is between ‘facilitating’ protest, and controlling political expression.

Police surround protester about to be forcibly searched

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12 Responses to 7000 demonstrate for the right to work as police impose strict conditions on protest.

  1. Ron Broxted says:

    New Scotland Yard delenda est.

  2. Lynn Sawyer says:

    The police did say they were searching under the CJA.

  3. Ron Broxted says:

    Lynn do you really believe that the police have any moral or indeed legal right to do what they do? They are mere corrupt, cowardly, mendacious, murdering, racist scum. What is brown, crisp and flies through the air at 200 mph? Heffrons leg!

  4. Lynn Sawyer says:

    Erm when did I say that the police had any moral or legal right to be violent thugs? I was in the fucking kettle and asked them directly and this is what they said before assaulting me so I don’t see your point at all. I simply stated what the senior officer told me for the information of others information so fail to see why you are so agressive. If you were there you may have been told something different there was a lot going on but if not why have a go at me just because I stated what I was told? Does it make you feel better to have a go at me?

  5. Ron Broxted says:

    Fulsome apologies Lynn. If it makes you happier the retention of Innocent DNA samples will soon be over. We have the scum in blue on the run.

  6. Lynn Sawyer says:

    No problem Ron I suppose you have seen Paul Stevenson is a bit bothered about us suing the Met’ as well and has gone crying to the Home Sec’?

  7. Ron Broxted says:

    Did I ever! How dare we have rights. I mean what is wrong with a bit of torture in custody? Let us ask 501 Detective Sgt Lawrence of Hertfordshire or Constables Baker & Savage of Sussex.

  8. Loon Watch says:

    Olny quality on here – Lyn vs Ron Broxted – a match made in hell. Still if it keeps them offthe streets!

  9. Dr Fox says:

    Nottingham Sabs shows signs of incremental orientation (present fixated). have noted his I.P address and forwarded it to your server.

  10. Ron Broxted says:

    I have been asked to point out by lawyers acting for
    Detective Sgt Lawrence of Hertfordshire and Constables Baker & Savage of Sussex. That I have no evidence that they are anything other than fine upstanding police officers of exemplary character and dedicated to serving the public to the best of their ability.
    I formerly apologise if my earlier comment was insulting to them and I withdraw it without reservation.

  11. john wall says:

    it is a police officers duty to serve and protect this countries citizens and uphold the law, so the question is are they police officers or are they enforcement officers applying statute rather than law ?
    for too long in this country the police have stifled any sort of rebellion against unfair statute against it’s people. don’t accept that what a police officer tell’s you is correct or lawful, question it and argue your case.

  12. a grown up says:

    You all need to get a life

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