The Metropolitan Police have settled an action brought against them by 23 anti monarchist protesters for unlawful arrest and breaches of the Human Rights Act in particular in particular their rights to liberty, privacy, freedom of expression and freedom of
association. This followed a demonstration at the Queen‚s Golden Jubilee Day celebrations (4th June 2002).
letter to each person arrested. They have also awarded
damages totalling over £80,000.
The group and their supporters met at New Scotland
Yard on Thursday morning (5th Feb 04) to present the
cheque and the letter of apology in front of the press
before boarding an open top decorated Routemaster Bus,
passing Buckingham Palace and touring central London
before finishing at the Goodman‚s Field pub in
Aldgate, London ˆ scene of their arrest ˆ to finish
off the drinks they ordered over 18 months ago!
So what happened?
The circumstances of the arrests were bizarre, verging
at times on the farcical:
As the demo ended some of the participants walked to
the nearby Goodman's Field pub. They were followed by
a large group of police officers who waited outside
and, following a briefing, 40 of them entered the pub
encircling the group, by now seated and enjoying a
bank holiday lunchtime drink.
Other customers looked on horrified as the police
cautioned, filmed and led the revellers out one by
one, making them stand in line on the pavement, under
the auspices of "preventing a breach of the peace".
Others were arrested in order to "prevent a breach of
the peace" on the street having previously been
cordoned there by the police.
Officers asked each person in turn their intentions.
All 23 were summarily arrested regardless of their
answers. Indeed one arrestee stated categorically in
specific terms that he had no intention of breaching
the peace. The officers repeated parrot-fashion to
each and every arrestee that they believed that a
breach of the peace was immanent and therefore they
would be arrested. Apparently at a police briefing
prior to the arrest, although officers were told to
ask the revellers questions they were also told to
disregard the answers and arrest them anyway!
Events turned comical as a Routemaster Bus was
commandeered and the arrestees, some of whom had been
handcuffed, ushered onto the bus and driven at speed
to several police stations around London!
No charges were ever brought against those arrested
and the individuals were released several hours later
as jubilee celebrations were drawing to a close. Funny
A statement issued by the group read:
"This award, apology and acceptance of liability
demonstrate that the police now accept no offences
were committed, nor were likely to be. We remain
convinced that these tactics were employed, planned
and coordinated in advance and at a very senior level,
in order to remove any dissent against the monarchy or
the jubilee day celebrations themselves."
As we await the verdict of the Judicial Review into
the police stopping, searching and then turning away
of 3 coach loads of people on their way to RAF
Fairford for an anti-war demo in March 2003, we think
its absolutely vital that we all stand up and
collectively challenge, wherever we can, police uses
and interpretations of existing laws. The more we are
prepared to fight back and win, the less inclined will
they be to order the summary arrests or detention of
activists carte blanche ˆ without first consideration
being made to their damages fund!!!
Solidarity with the Fairford Coach Arrested!!!
DETAILS OF PRESS EVENT
The press event begins at 10.00am, Thursday 5th Feb at
Broadway, New Scotland Yard, SW1. The group will
present an enlarged letter of apology and a cheque for
damages before boarding an Open-Top decorated
The Routemaster journey will leave New Scotland Yard
at around 10.30am, passing Buckingham Palace and
retreading part of the route of the original bus
journey through Central London.
The journey will culminate in their arrival at the
site of the arrests: the Goodman's Field pub, Mansell
Street, Aldgate, E1 at around 2.00pm.