You can read up on the work of the legal support team here http://www.g8legalsupport.info/ along with an outline of what legal observers do. The website also has a draft ‘Activists guide to Scottish law’, and useful links.
If you would like to know more and speak to someone locally then email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get back to you. Alternatively come along to the next Bristol G8 Dissent meeting on 31 May, 7.30pm, at Kebele, 14 Robertson Rd, Easton, BS5 (tel 0117 939 9469).
There will be ‘legal observer training’ in Bristol on Sunday June 19, from 2-5pm at Kebele: training for volunteers who will be working as legal observers during the G8 summit. Spaces may also be available for affinity group members taking on an informal legal support role within their group, BUT space is limited so please contact us first.
Send your name, email address & preferably a tel.no to email@example.com, putting ‘legal support’ in the subject heading, and await confirmation. OR speak to a legal support volunteer at the Bristol Dissent meet on 31 May.
Additionally, Bristol Dissent is organising a ‘G8 Legal briefing’ for local activists on 6 June, from 7.30pm, also at Kebele. This will include an introduction to the services offered by the legal support team at the G8, and a briefing on Scottish law. All welcome!
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; and to monitor the actions of the police. You will also hand out legal info flyers.
- You stay with protesters – if they move 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 should be 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 wear a plastic bib or similar identifying you as a LO, and will be provided with notebooks/pens etc. You will likely be asked to type up your notes! You may need a mobile phone (there may be some provided). You should aim to sort out your own accommodation, although the legal team will try to help. There are no fringe benefits, beyond knowing you have made a very worthwhile contribution to the protests.
- Please note you will not be immune from arrest or possible police violence as surprisingly they don’t like ‘our’ legal observers. Look on the bright side – you won’t have done anything to warrant an arrest!