If you were nicked at ITT's Hammertime and want support email firstname.lastname@example.org. For emotional and trauma support call 07980387900
The day started with police repression. Over a hundred police arrived at, and surrounded, the convergence centre (the Wildkatz social centre) and demanded that they escort everyone to their 'designated protest area', a pen next to the bottom of Home Farm Road. After discussion most of those in the center decided to leave en masse. The police made everyone remove face coverings before marching them in a mobile kettle to Wild Park. On reaching Wild Park activists refused to move further and demanded to be allowed to reach the announced meeting point, Wild Park Cafe. After a stand off police released everyone and allowed them to converge at the cafe.
At the meeting point it was clear that the police had thrown all their resources into a repressive operation which turned out to be the largest anti-protest operation seen in Brighton (save for party conferences). FIT were present in large numbers and police had been drafted in from Hampshire, Surrey, Wales and London. The order of the day was pre-emptive continental style arrests and the return of the, briefly controversial, kettle.
As activists gathered at Wild Park Cafe they were approached by a hundred strong police line. Rather than being cordoned again, EDO smashers took to the hills, running into the woods. Others formed a picket at the bottom of Home farm Road with a sound system and a 12 foot replica F-16. The main bloc, breaking out into Wild Park, behind the factory was confronted by hundreds of police, including horse teams, lining the treeline.
Despite heroic efforts to haul a soundsytem through the woods and pockets of confrontation in the end the dozens of mounted police and hundreds of riot cops were simply too many to contend with in a manner that created a real opposition. Their overwelming numbers meant they managed to splinter the protesters into manageable sized groups and proceed to kettle them. A group of protesters that had run into the woods were met by a long line of police as a helicopter flew overhead. There were two kettles in place, one at the bottom of home farm road and another on the field between the woods and the factory. There were between 40-50 people in each kettle. Many other protesters were scattered around the vicinity, trying to avoid the lines of police that were seen loitering in the neighbourhood. A large faction of people broke out of the field, despite police attempts to contain them and push them into the nearby kettle. They entered a nearby residential area to lose the constabulary and from there marched back to the factory along Lewes road accompanied overhead by the police helicopter. The kettle by the back of the factory was eventually escorted back to Lewes Road only after being told they would be allowed to disperse freely, police had attempted to persuade them to move to the 'designated protest area' but were initially met with point blank refusal. From there the protesters scattered along Lewes Road towards town, police soon surrounded small clusters of them and formed kettles containing from 15 to 30 demonstrators in each.
Later in the day activists made it to the center of town to target investors in ITT. A protest was held outside Barclays, the market maker for ITT, and an attempt was made to block the doors. Later on RBS, an investor in ITT, was disrupted by activists gluing themselves to the doors.
In all 53 arrests were made. Tactics were repressive and aimed at disempowering and controlling demonstrators. All were released without charge.
Well, you win some you lose some... the factory was closed but the police controlled the streets. The police operation, aimed at stamping out the protest, cost hundreds of thousands of pounds. The people of Brighton are paying for the police to act as a private security force for a private company, whose business is anything but lawful. We will be back, despite police repression... We will be here until they're not.