Whilst some members took photos, others handed out leaflets explaining that there was a Section 14 in place and they should be sensible and move into a pen. However, we ran out of leaflets within minutes due to the blind obedience of cops who saw the Met police logo and took them without question.
The flyer, however, was wrong. We meant to impose conditions on the march under Section 12, not 14 of the Public Order Act. But like any good police direction, we were making it up as we went along.
Making it up was certainly what the cops who arrested the two fit watchers were doing. Whilst we were originally arrested for breaching the commissioner's regulations for standing at the front of the march, it took an hour of discussions at West End Central, (including a few huddles outside of the CCTV ed custody suite), and a promise from the custody sergeant that they “would find something”, before they came up with the heinous crime of highway obstruction.
After ten and a half hours in custody, an interview which included statements from fifteen cops (not including the ever present FIT team, whom we'd of course want to give evidence in court), we have been bailed to return to West End Central in March. We are challenging the police to prosecute us. They may not like us, but is it worth the expense of getting fifteen cops (including the Chief Inspector) into court for highway obstruction?
Furthermore, the original confrontation arose because a Fit Watcher wanted to join the march and the police stopped her. They claimed (and this is reiterated in their notebooks) that the march was a closed event and was only open to members of the police federation, their families and friends. This contradicts the statements from the police federation who claimed “we didn't ask him to leave because whether we like it or not we live in a democracy”, when challenged about the presence of a BNP leader at the front of their march.
The growth of Fit Watch is giving a clear message that people are no longer prepared to tolerate repressive policing.
Get involved with Fit Watch – join the mailing list by sending a blank email to email@example.com
Fit Watch will be holding a public meeting on Saturday 8th March, 2pm, at LSE.
More details will be published soon – but should be a good chance for people to get together and discuss how we resist current policing tactics.
And, a special invitation to those lovely officers in the Forward Intelligence Team. You are cordially invited to attend this meeting (standing outside, of course), as it will give us an ideal opportunity to start the day with a practical session.