The 'Offending' Stall
One officer's attitude towards the two individuals became immediately obvious when he began the ‘anything to shut us down and shut us up’ routine and proceeded with comments such as “You are blocking the public highway” ”. The activists were clearly not blocking anything and were set up outside an empty shop.
The statements continued; “We could do you for littering”, “We have had complaints about the imagery on the front of your stall and we want your details. One of the stallholders replied “I would rather not give my details, Have I been anti social?”, “No, but we believe you have committed the offence of blocking the public highway”. The police then warned the activists of impending arrest and told them to stop taking photographs on a camera phone.
When one stallholder continued to refuse to provide his details (as is his legal right to decline such information) the PC moved in for the arrest whereupon the activist went limp and fell to the floor.
The stallholder was then dragged into a vehicle by four police officers whist angry members of the public shouted at police in protest at the blatant police bullying and intimidation taking place. The Mayor of Stroud who was present in the area during the arrest was also horrified and joined onlookers in contempt for the illegal arrest.
We were later informed that the mayor apparently reprimanded the police for their extreme tactics against freedom of expression.
After arriving at the police station the stallholder was interviewed during which an officer admitted the interview was only “to cover his back” in regards to his use of force. After a seemingly not-so-sincere apology from the police the stallholder was released from custody with “No further action” taken.
Needless to say the so-called ‘apology’ from the police does not mark the end of this situation and legal action against the force and officers in question will (as always) be the next step in this ordeal.
Local press were present during the whole ordeal and said the arrest had a very good chance of making front-page news as the force used by the police was so excessive and many onlookers were distressed by such brutality.
Young campaigner arrested in High Street
With regard to the police action against the campaigners Chris & Ziggy in Stroud, not only are the police operating beyond their powers in this situation, to me, their actions are a flagrant abuse of their human rights under Article 10 of Human Rights Act 1998 - Freedom of Expression. You could also argue under Article 5 - The right to liberty that your right to be at liberty was curtailed by false imprisonment.
If anybody else has received similar treatment please contact me at
Human Rights ActION
Human Rights ActION