Student Centre Branded Terrorist

London students who occupied a space in the run-up to the November 30th public sector strike were under the jurisdiction of the Met’s SO15 Counter Terrorism Command, FITwatch have learned today.

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Bloomsbury Social Centre – which aimed to be a “hub of organising for students, workers and residents in the Bloomsbury area” – held regular reading groups, served food, provided a silent study space and workers rights info evenings. SO15 (Counter Terrorism Command) was born in 2006, when SO12 (Special Branch) and SO13 (Anti-Terrorist Branch) were merged. It claims to be committed to “ensure[ing] that London remains a hostile environment for terrorists.” and also polices so-called ‘domestic extremists’

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According to a witness statement in the case to evict those occupying the building; “The police were concerned that the occupation might be linked to terrorist factions planning to infiltrate the march. The school was in contact late November with both the local Camden police and with Scotland Yard’s SO15 Division in connection with these concerns. Initially the police were keen to liaise with the School but their interest has waned recently. I assume that this is because they are satisfied that there is no or insufficient evidence linking the occupiers to any criminal activity of the sort they feared when the occupation commenced.”

Given that the statement is dated for December, we propose that this sudden drop in police interest probably had more to do with the passing of the strike day on November 30th. They knew there was no evidence linking the occupiers to terrorism all along. We propose that such baseless insinuations about the nature of both the occupied space and the strike day it sought to support served to further justify the Met’s presence on November 30th. Bloomsbury campus and environs were swamped with public order police, plainclothes cops and FIT working together to arbitrarily harass, assault and detain demonstrators. In the evening, the police were particularly heavy handed in their policing of a picket line at Birkbeck College; attacking pickets to usher in strikebreakers. All this in the name of showcasing Bernard Hogan-Howe’s new, tough, “total policing” agenda.

This information poses some important questions for the dissenting public:

With both domestic extremist and terrorist operations now ‘under one roof’ as it were, are the two terms now becoming interchangeable? ‘Domestic extremist’ is a notoriously nebulous catch-all term and has been used to describe anti-war activists, anti-capitalists, socialists, anarchists, environmentalists and anti-fascists to name but a few. Are those who take part in anti-cuts demonstrations, strike against pension reforms or occupy empty buildings now terrorists? For how long are we going to tolerate being criminalised for dissenting?

It’s time to smash total policing.

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10 Responses to Student Centre Branded Terrorist

  1. BristleKRS says:

    Interesting stuff…

    Whose witness statement is that from? And any idea on who at Camden cop shop was involved – Palfrey wasn’t auditioning for the Big Boys was he?!)

  2. Wes Pritchard says:

    “With both domestic extremist and terrorist operations now ‘under one roof’ as it were”

    The NPOIU was always part of Special Branch.

  3. Luke says:

    Surely any group who refer to or label law abiding peaceful protestors as ‘domestic extremists’ is a form of organised harassment – or even potentially a hate crime.
    To whom should we complain?

  4. Robin Gitte says:

    Seems the police are using defamation in order to justify violence against grass roots political dissent.

    Nice article.

  5. I’d guess the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee http://www.london.gov.uk/moderngov/mgCommitteeDetails.aspx?ID=240 would be a good place to start. I’ll fire a link to this page to Jenny Jones, who’s on the committee.

  6. ANON says:

    another NON story

  7. Pingback: Student solidarity with N30 was strike targetted by terrorism police | Coalition of Resistance Against Cuts & Privatisation

  8. Edward Crilley says:

    Anon 1159: which police station are you posting from?

  9. Fi says:

    Unfortunately, none of this is news to ar activists, who’ve seen this kind of thing for decades.

  10. Pingback: Extremism cop covered up at Hillsborough « Fitwatch

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