Ivan Agenda | 24.03.2003 05:38
We headed of in good spirits and after a break at the services, made our way ever closer to our destination, Fairford. Word had got through that police were conducting searches near to Fairford, so it was no surprise when ten miles outside our intended destination, about fifty police pulled our coaches into a lay-by.
Once stopped it was announced we were being detained under section 60 of the Public order Act 1994, which allows the police to search for ‘offensive weapons, dangerous articles, items to disguise yourself now or in the future’. This pre-emptive action by the police was clearly a tactic to prevent us from reaching the protest.
The search took hours to conduct as one by one we were let off the coach, videoed as we made our way to our respective robots (Police) and went through this disgraceful process. Legs, shoes, socks, pockets, bags were all felt and searched in this worrying removal on human rights. My search was conducted by PC 743 Catterrall and PC 3081 Walsh from Hereford.
Having finished the search on us, the next step was to go onto the coaches, where ‘evidence’ was collected in bags and confiscated. This ‘evidence’, under the act of a search for offensive weapons, was the renowned dangerous items such as scarf’s, white overall’s and helmets.
With the search coming to an end we thought we would at least be able to go to the protest but the day was about to take a sinister twist. Police spoke to the drivers and as we were soon to find out had told them to drive us back to London. The coaches turned around and set off towards London, but not alone. We were escorted by three police vans at the rear, a police car in front and motorcycles in the front leading the way with ourselves stuck in the middle. The reason for being sent back was given as ‘if we were allowed to continue we may cause a breach of the peace’,
First off all I thought we would be taken to the motorway and that would be it, but oh no, that wasn’t enough. We were taken up the motorway as police cars and bikes blocked junctions in advance in order to prevent others cars joining the motorway so that our coaches stayed together.
This surreal episode became stranger when we were met by a different police force as we crossed the border of Gloucestershire County. They took up where the others had left as the road was made clear for our journey back to Euston. Words were written on bits of cardboard, stating “We are being illegally detained”, “Democracy?” and “all cops are bastards” placed on the sides and back of the coach.
Another sign was put out to show the police, which read “toilets”, as the humans had the ordacity to ask to pee. This naturally was ignored and so the illegal detention continued. Another set of police took over for the final furlong into London, Euston awaited.
It was confirmed to us that eight police vans were waiting for us at Euston, what then? Others had come to Euston in solidarity to ensure support and the outrageous action by the police was announced on the sound system in Hyde Park. We came into London as people looked on amazed as our convoy hurried past. Normally this kind of attention is reserved for the Queen and Mr Blair as he gets hurried past the public who he ‘serves’.
The traffic lights stopped in Shepherds Bush, our coaches together, a little co-ordination and the emergency doors were opened and all off us ran onto the streets, escaping from out temporary incarceration. We moved into Holland Park Avenue marching down the road with police tailing, chanting “No war”. Police then violently pushed us onto the pavement, pushing one man behind a phone box before repeatedly smashing him in the face until he was pulled away and we moved on.
So the Fairford chapter ended, some of us moved onto Hyde Park others to Oxford street, where a blockade had taken place. Bloody Anarchists!
Apparently, an angry motorist tried to cut up the front coach but ended up hitting it instead. The coach driver pulled over to have a look, at which point, the detainees of all three coaches decided to leg it across Shepherd's Bush green.