in the back of the van, the cops began with the mind games- don't they know we've all seen Cracker? one also said that their job was to keep the peace- I asked why he wasnae in Iraq- possibly explains us being detained over the weekend. there was one of the cops who seemed really pissed off, but not just at us- he realised, I think, that his colleagues had come close to provoking a very dangerous situation. the demo had been peaceful all day, but it seemed like after a week of successful demo's where they'd been run ragged by school kids (who have been a total inspiration), they decided it was time to make a point. after gettin signed in at st Leonards police station etc we were put in separate cells. knowin that the other folk who'd been arrested got out by 9.30pm, ah wasnae too concerned, but the bravado wilted as it became obvious we wernae gettin let out. later, we were put in a cell together, where Simon and a couple ay the other guys managed to construct a chess board and pieces out of a few polystyrene food trays and a couple of magazines: human creativity truly knows no bounds- three cheers for the St Leonards chess club. I whiled away the hours with Frank Skinners autobiography- I'd suggest waiting for arrest before readin it. the cops who questioned me when I was charged, or dumb and dumber, asked what had possessed me to get arrested for the first time- I resisted the urge to say "Your fellow officers." they seemed genuinely perplexed by my t-shirt picturin a riot cop with truncheon raised with 'Do Not Question Authority' emblazoned on it. I was charged with trying to rescue somebody; resistin arrest; breach of the peace and attendin an illegal demo. however, I would like to point out that the custody staff were mostly spot on, and they even went out to get chips for ma tea cos I'm a vegan.
we were taken to court on monday, by which time the fiscals office dropped the illegal demo charge- obviously they wernae too happy at the though of 5000 folk handin themselves in. as you'll know Simon was the only one they decided to take to court.
sorry this has rambled on, but I'd just like to finish by sayin to the 500+ folk who came up to St Leonards to support us (initially, I thought the cops had truned up the rugby coverage on the telly when I heard shoutin) that their efforts were so greatly appreciated: their solidarity was a real inspiration. I wish the same could be said for the self-appointed leadership of the anti-war movement. I should stress here that I have no desire to get sucked in to a sectarian battle here- Judean Peoples Front etc- but as a movement takin part in civil disobedience, we need to show solidarity with people who get arrested, particularly when the SSP (the main strand of the self-appointed leadership) are urging people to take part in civil disobedience. when friends of mine asked to speak to the crowd to tell them what happened, they were given a torrent of abuse by one of the main speakers/organisers. they did however allow the head copper to speak- I was unaware that the police were so poorly resourced that they had to rely on protesters for p.a. equipment. one of the speeches they delayed action for was about police brutality- it was a day of many ironies. eventually, a decision was made to go to st leonards, but a lot of the crowd had drifted away by then. the glorious leader's also tried to stop on rote to make more speeches- has the word solidarity been removed from the leadership edition of the Leon Trotsky dictionary? luckily, most people there knew exactly what it meant and carried on to St Leonards. I have friends who think that what I am calling for is a riot with the police, which is ludicrous: all that is required is for decisions to be made collectively, democratically and as quickly as possible, rather than bein hijacked by a self-appointed elite who wrongly assume they are in control. I realise that the people who are recognised by the police could get in trouble for what has been happening at these demo's: the simple answer is to stop behaving in ways that make you recognisable to the police as leaders. we need to understand that effective organisation is possible without leadership, as has been shown by the anti-war demo's up until now. here endeth the sermon