The British state is preparing to turn some of Scotland, including areas in Edinburgh & Glasgow, into a virtual police state whilst the Group of Eight (G8 – most powerful/rich countries) meets at Gleneagles from 6 to 8 July. The aim is to let this elite, self-selected club meet behind closed doors, to make decisions that will dramatically affect the rest of the world.
The main legal support website is now up at http://www.g8legalsupport.info/ along with other useful info. You can also access it via www.dissent.org.uk then click on working groups, followed by legal.
A draft guide to Scottish law is at http://www.g8legalsupport.info/guide/ and can be downloaded as a pdf. As the state is likely to change the law (to their advantage of course) before July, the full printed guide will not be available til later. Law changes are expected to relate to the ‘right to roam’ at least, it seems the Scots still have too many rights!
Do U Wannabe A…Volunteer Legal Observer In July?
Following on from the Poll Tax demos of the early 90’s, and subsequent Trafalgar Square Defendants Campaign, the Legal Defence & Monitoring Group (LDMG) was formed to provide volunteer legal observers & support on demos, mainly in London.
Now they and others have come together to provide legal support to protesters during the G8 summit in Scotland this July. As G8 Legal Support they are looking to put together a team of 50+ legal observers to be present at the various actions/blockades/protests, supported by an office (equipped with phones/computers to follow up anyone arrested).
The basic principles of legal support & legal observers are on the attached poster, can be found at http://www.g8legalsupport.info/observers/ and are accentuated below.
A few people from Bristol are already volunteering for legal observer work in Scotland. If you are interested then contact firstname.lastname@example.org If you would like to know more and speak to someone locally then email email@example.com and we’ll get back to you. Alternatively come along to the next Bristol G8 Dissent meeting on 22 March, 7.30pm, at Kebele, 14 Robertson Rd, Easton, BS5 (tel 0117 939 9469).
And here’s a few clarifications about the work of volunteer legal observers:
- You don’t need legal training/knowledge. You need to be calm, observant, alert & sober, ready to get info if/when someone gets arrested, in whatever circumstances. You will also hand out legal info flyers.
- It is not a soft option, you stay with protesters – if they run you go with them; if they get penned in so do you; if they block a road you stay nearby.
- You do not give info/evidence/a witness statement to the police.
- You do not have a camera/take photos unless previously agreed with the legal team.
- You do not negotiate with the police, nor tell protesters what to do. Your only interaction with the police maybe to check names of people arrested/why; and perhaps to clarify why they may have issued a particular instruction/section (for your notes of course). You should not shout/swear at the police.
- You will not be immune from arrest or police violence – surprisingly they don’t like ‘our’ legal observers. Look on the bright side – you won’t have done anything to warrant an arrest!