As some of you will already know I was arrested this week, no surprises that it was outside Cricket ( for those that don't know this is a shop on Mathew Street which sells real animal fur including fox mink coyote and racoon), for handing out leaflets next to the shop doorway. This was despite being told only two days before on the Saturday that although the police would prefer it if we stood on the opposite side of the street there was nothing they could do to enforce this. Initially a call was made to the police by the security guard of the shop next door 'Vivienne Westwood' as he had told me to move and I had refused as I was perfectly entitled to stand where I was standing and he had no jurisdiction whatsoever to tell me what to do as I was not on his employer's premises.
Eventually two mounted officers arrived and asked me to move to the other side of the street to talk to them. I told them I was perfectly happy to talk to them where I was and perfectly entitled to be where I was standing. They kept asking me to move saying I was obstructing the doorway so I kept explaining to them that I was not in fact obstructing anyone's right of passage through the door, as evidenced by the fact that most people in fact continued to enter the shop despite our protest. Eventually a police van turned up and an officer approached us and informed us there was a section 14 in place which meant we had to cross to the other side of the street. I did not refuse to comply with this but with a section 14 never having been in place in over a year of similar demonstrations at the shop I was a bit taken aback and enquired who had imposed it. I was then immediately arrested. On arrest I shouted for the benefit of the public - 'this is a fascist dictatorship' a female officer then grabbed me, got in my face and snarled 'don't you f*cking start' and slammed both my head and body against the back of the police van. The other officer then came round to where I was, grabbed me and started shouting 'she's resisting arrest, she's resisting arrest' and again slammed my head and body against the back of the van, twisted my arms up my back and cuffed me. I was shocked as I had not resisted arrest in anyway whatsoever and had in fact gone voluntarily to the van with them. I was then taken to St Anne Street, held for 6 hours, interviewed, charged with failure to comply with a condition imposed by a senior officer under section 14 of the public order act' and bailed to attend court on the 9th of January.
Are you shocked? I was, but nothing prepared me for the draconian bail conditions they have imposed which FORBID ME FROM GOING INTO LIVERPOOL CITY CENTRE APART FROM TO ATTEND COURT - DESPITE THE FACT THAT IT IS UNCLEAR WHETHER MY OWN HOME LIES OUTSIDE THE BOUNDARY!!! And also despite me telling them I often have to travel into the city centre to get to work!! I am going to try and contest these bail conditions before I have to attend court. They restrict me from going about the majority of my normal lawful business. I won't even be able to go home to my parents for Christmas using public transport according to these conditions.
I THEREFORE URGE PEOPLE TO PLEASE ATTEND THE DEMO ON SATURDAY TO STAND UP AGAINST THIS BEHAVIOUR - I AM MORE ANGRY ABOUT THE EROSION OF CIVIL LIBERTIES GENERALLY AND THE INCREASING ILLEGALISATION OF ANY FORM OF EFFECTIVE PROTEST THAN I AM ABOUT MY INDIVIDUAL TREATMENT. PLEASE STAND UP AGAINST BULLYING POLICE TACTICS - THEY'LL ONLY GET AWAY WITH IT IF WE LET THEM!!!
A note on section 14: the senior officer may impose conditions on public assemblies, which he considers are reasonably necessary to prevent serious public disorder, serious criminal damage or serious disruption to the life of the community. He may also impose such conditions if he believes that the purpose of the persons organising it is the intimidation of others with the view to compelling them not to do an act they have a right to do, or to do an act they have a right not to do. But unlike Section 12, the conditions he may reasonably impose are in this case limited to specifying:
a) the numbers of people who may take part,
b) the location of the assembly, and
c) its maximum duration.
The security guard from Vivienne Westwood and 2 of Cricket shopkeepers have both made witness statements saying I was being intimidating to their customers and harassing and distressing the public, but my behaviour was no different to many other previous occasions where the police have not tried to prevent our activities.
The campaign against Cricket has been ongoing for the past 12 months the police reaction has been at times exessive and highly inconsistent.
Thank you for taking the time to read this,