Techy | 10.10.2006 16:26 | Analysis
Sounds from reports like most were 'processed' under the SOCPA legislation for being 'part of an unlawful demonstration'.
The one thing that looked like being a loophole - you could say you weren't aware that the demo was unauthorised - seems a non-starter because the cops were handing out so much paperwork to anyone that would take it.
However, I noticed that when the police were trying to clear parliament square, using SOCPA arrests as the threat, some people sat down and said they weren't part of the protest. The cops responded that if they didnt move they would be considered part of the protest, despite the fact they said they weren't.
These people (about 10 of them) were initially cordoned separately, and then added to the main kettle. They continued to say they weren't part of the demo (they had no banners, weren't chanting etc.) and the cops went away to discuss it.
Eventually they moved those 'non demonstrators' out of the cordon and left them alone, no searches, nothing. It was also at this time that they stopped trying to clear the square. This seems to suggest that if you say you are not part of the demonstration and are not 'demonstrating' , yet are in the same area of the demonstration, the cops cant do much about it, short of using the Terrorism Laws (is it section 60 where they can turn away everyone from a designated area?).
This could all just be police tactics (no one outside the cordon looked like a threat to them after all), and they've got so many other draconian laws to use as an excuse, but it seems strange that they stopped clearing the square at the same time?
What i'm thinking is, if arrival at the demo was actually PLANNED to be staggered, with smaller groups arriving and stating that they weren't part of the demo that was already kettled, it might lead to a situation where the kettle cops ended up between two quite large groups, which would make it easier for all kinds of fun and games, but most importantly could mean that those that needed to get out of the kettle without being searched might be able to. This might lead to the cops deciding not to kettle so early on, which gives us a few more options as well.
Any legal eagles out there think this is worth commenting on?
and then how many queued up to get out as fast as poss without thought for him or anyone else. there wasn't even a discussion until very late in the day about what he and the rest of that group were going to do. no discussion about working as a large group before anyone left.
the above sounds like maybe it would work, but only in acheiving the isolation of those known to be activists or suspected of being organisers, while everyone else gets to leave.
it isn't true that they stopped clearing the square after the group on the floor were left and it isn't true that the police left people alone if they said they were not part of the demo. many curious passers-by ended up penned in by the police. the police have no respect for the law and regularly abuse. they are certainly not going to piss around with such stupid childish nonsense if done on mass.