Tag Archives: arrest

Police get political with arrest over anti-#Netanyahu sign at march for #Palestine

Jewish bloc: with a huge Jewish contingent, how could the march for Palestine by anti-Semitic?

Police have arrested a woman for waving a sign that criticises Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a huge march in support of Palestine.

Around 200,000 people were said to be marching in London, in support of Gaza and Palestine, today (January 13) – their sentiment boosted by media bias over the genocide hearings against Israel at the International Court of Justice, and by their own government’s attack on Yemen’s Houthi people, who have been blockading the Red Sea.

Opposition to the UK government – and the Labour Party – has been running high since Rishi Sunak decided to use the Royal Prerogative to order four RAF planes to join a US-led bombing mission against 60 Houthi targets within Yemen, early on Friday morning (January 12).

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It seems Sunak had been advised by former prime minister – now Foreign Secretary – David Cameron, not to re-convene Parliament for a vote in case it went against him.

And many have been outraged that the BBC chose not to live-stream South Africa’s evidence of Israel’s genocide in Gaza at the International Court of Justice, but did live-stream Israel’s defence:

One person who was able to witness all the ICJ proceedings was Jeremy Corbyn, who said he would also be on the streets of London at today’s demonstration:

The march is taking place as I type this:

It includes a 3,000-strong “Jewish bloc” – notable not only because they clearly disagree with the claim of the Israeli government and its propagandists to be representing all Jews in this, but also because pro-Israel organisations like the Jewish Chronicle have been pushing claims that Jews are afraid to go out in central London because of anti-Semitism among the marchers:

This seems clearly untrue:

The march has not gone off unchallenged, though. Police decided to get political by arresting a woman who was carrying a banner critical of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu (this is, of course, beyond the remit of police officers whose job is to uphold UK law, not suppress political opinions).

The sign read, “Netanyahu would make Hitler proud” – a sentiment with which many people are starting to agree:

How sad that the police had to find an excuse to criminalise a peaceful protester and stir up animosity with blatant politically-motivated interference like that. Who are the officers concerned and what disciplinary procedures will they face?


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Violent arrest as pickets protest Art Society fundraiser for Israel

Protest: picketers gather outside the RSA to demonstrate against its fundraising event for Israel, whose military are currently committing genocide against the people of Gaza.

Who would have thought the Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce would blot its copy-book like this?

The RSA decided to hold an unpublicised (which indicates that the organisers have a guilty conscience) fundraising event for Israel today (December 14, 2023) at its headquarters in 8, John Adam Street, London – next to Charing Cross Station.

In attendance were said to be Israel’s president, Isaac Herzog (did we even know he was in the country?) and Tzipi Hotovely, that country’s racist ambassador to the UK.

Staff walked out in protest and started to picket, and calls soon went out for others to join them.

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Inevitably, violence was bound to happen. And it seems to have been initiated by the Metropolitan Police – against a Jewish protester:

Here’s how events unfolded, courtesy of the social media:

This is a developing story. Hopefully This Site will be able to provide further information later.

ADDITIONAL:


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Laurence Fox arrested for conspiring to damage ULEZ cameras

Laurence Fox: disgraced, and now arrested. Is he in his right mind?

When they fall, they fall hard – it seems.

Laurence Fox, who was suspended by GB News over offensive comments he made about Politics Joe journalist Ava Santina (aka Ava Evans), has been arrested and his house raided by police.

Apparently it comes after he said he would bring angle grinders to hack down cameras used to enforce the Ultra-Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) in London.

This Writer is unclear as to whether the gendarmes were looking for angle grinders or cameras.

Fox livestreamed the incident, puffing on a cigar while a large number of uniformed officers carried out the search (although, let’s be honest, most of them just seemed to be standing around):

It’s a bizarre way to behave.

I wonder about his state of mind.

Source: Laurence Fox’s home ‘raided by police’ after ULEZ threat | The Independent


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‘They will kill me’ – the death of a war opponent tortured by security forces in Russia

Vladimir Putin: has he given orders for anti-Ukraine-war protesters to be silenced, no matter what it takes?

This Site was contacted with an unusual request: would I agree to publish articles from anti-war Russian websites?

Apparently, most people think everybody in Russia supports the war in Ukraine. In fact, it seems there are protests against Vladimir Putin and his aggression, but there is no information in the media outside Russia.

Russian anti-war activists are tortured and die in Russia as a result, but we don’t know about them.

Would This Site help to change that?

The answer is below – the first of what I hope will be a series.

This one is by Nikita Sologub, written on June 15 and  translated by Viana Tina.

It is a translation of the article ««Они меня убьют». Что известно о гибели противника войны, которого силовики пытали в Ростове‑на‑Дону» Никита Сологуб, 15 июня 2023, 22:50, Editor: Yegor Skovoroda

You can find the original here.

Anatoliy Berezikov, 40, was into noise music, liked cycling around Rostov-on-Don and spoke out against the war. In mid-May, Berezikov was detained by the security forces, and since then he has not been released from administrative detention – time after time new reports have been drawn up on him under invented pretexts. He told his lawyer that the operation officers tortured him and beat him with electric shocks, while the FSB investigator came to the detention center and threatened with treason charges. Berezikov never got out of detention and died on 14 June in the detention center. Police officers were quick to call his death a suicide, but his defenders believe that he could not withstand the new torture. “Mediazone” tells what is known about Anatoliy Berezikov and the circumstances of his death.

He came out of the detention centre and immediately started swearing (police version)

If the police records are to be believed, in the early hours of 11 May officers accidentally encountered a long-haired, bearded man with tattoos on his arms on the outskirts of Rostov-on-Don. They asked to see his documents, but the man refused, shoved one of the police officers and tried to escape. The fugitive, 40-year-old Anatoliy Berezikov, was caught, taken to Police Department No. 6 and a report drawn up for disobeying a police officer. Maria Kornienko, judge of the Pervomaisky district court in Rostov-on-Don, sent Berezikov to 10 days’ detention.

The arrest was due to expire on 21 May at 2.05 pm. At 2.20pm, barely out of the detention centre on Semashko Street in the city centre, Berezikov started swearing and harassing passers-by. Police officers asked him to stop, but the man did not respond and refused to get into the patrol car, pushing the officers and grabbing their uniforms. Rostov police officers, this time from Unit 4, had to detain him again and take him to court, now in the city’s Leninsky district. There, Judge Sergei Bychenko found Berezikov guilty of disorderly conduct and sent him back to a special detention centre, again for 10 days.

This time, however, Berezikov was able to send a message that he needed help. When lawyer Irina Gak came to see him, Anatoliy told her that what was described in the reports was a plain police lie.

Detention. “Beaten and threatened with rape, further torture, possible murder”

In fact, Berezikov wrote, on 11 May he was in a rented flat he had rented after moving to Rostov-on-Don from Shatura near Moscow several years ago. Around eight in the morning there was a loud knock on the door, someone shouting that it was the neighbours. While a sleepy Berezikov was figuring out how to react, the door had already been broken into. About six people in black balaclavas burst into the flat, ran into the room without any explanation, threw him on the floor and started kicking him, then dragged him into the kitchen. While some in the kitchen were beating the man, threatening him and asking questions, others were turning things upside down in the room.

It was only after this that he was brought to the sixth police department, and after drawing up a report, to the judge, which started the series of administrative arrests.

To inform him that the arrest would not be the last, an FSS (Federal Security Service) investigator came to the special detention centre in person, and no criminal case was opened against Berezikov. He not only told his lawyer about this visit, but he also repeated it in the notes he handed in during the meeting.

“I was told (in general terms) about the basement, torture and being sent to war”, he described his conversation with the investigator. Speaking about the end of his arrest, Berezikov feared: “I might be met with, like the last time, beatings and threats of rape, further torture, probable murder.”

New torture and a third arrest. “The man who experienced a stun gun”

On 31 May Anatol Berezikov was to be released from custody. By that time lawyer Irina Gak, activist Tatiana Sporysheva and two other women arrived at the detention centre on Semashko Street. In order not to miss the moment of exit, they took positions at both exits of the detention centre. There was already a police UAZ at one of them, Sporysheva recalls, and a man without a uniform was walking nearby – she thought it was an FSS officer. When he saw the women, he called someone and another car arrived at the second exit. When it was time to be released, the officer on duty told the women that Berezikov had already been released. Believing this, the lawyer and activists packed up, leaving one of the exits unsupervised.

“Then we realised that we had been cheated, that is, while we were discussing, he was taken out through another entrance and immediately taken away. We realised this from the behaviour of the police officers, but we didn’t even know where they had taken him, whether he was being charged again with administrative or criminal offences. So we decided to follow the second police car and when it moved, we followed it,” Sporysheva said.

Following the car led them to Police Station 4, where Berezikov had had a report drawn up before his previous arrest. There, Sporysheva and Gak noticed the same man without a uniform. At the police station, the lawyer was told that Berezikov was not there. A few hours later Irina Gak thought that her client could have been secretly taken to the Leninski District Court – and then she actually met Berezikov in the corridor.

He was pale, the lawyer recalled, “extremely frightened” and generally looked like “a man who had experienced a stun gun at least”. Sporysheva says that when the lawyer asked Anatoliy to write an application to get acquainted with the case file, he was unable to do so himself.

“He was just like a cotton doll who didn’t react at all. He had absolutely cotton hands, his fingers hardly moved, he could not write this statement at all,” she claims. The guards at the time suggested that Berezikov should give up his lawyer. In the minute-long recording from the court corridor he is sitting unresponsive, with his hands folded and staring at the floor.

He was pale, the lawyer recalled, “extremely frightened” and generally looked like “a man who had experienced a stun gun at least”. Sporysheva says that when the lawyer asked Anatoliy to write an application to get acquainted with the case file, he was unable to do so himself.

“He was just like a cotton doll who didn’t react at all. He had absolutely cotton hands, his fingers hardly moved, he could not write this statement at all,” she claims. The guards at the time suggested that Berezikov should refuse his lawyer. In the minute-long recording from the court corridor he is sitting unresponsive, with his hands folded and staring at the floor.

When the guards were distracted and withdrawn, the women managed to talk to Berezikov. He managed to tell them that while they were looking for him in Department 4, the operatives had taken him out of town and tortured him there with a stun gun. The lawyer took a picture – on his back one could really see multiple red dots, characteristic of stun gun blows.

Because this time the hearing of the administrative report – again drawn up by police officers from the Fourth Department under the pretext of foul language – was attended by lawyer Irina Gak and Tatiana Sporysheva (as public defender), it lasted several hours. The defence demanded that an ambulance be called to the court; when they arrived, the medics gave Berezikov an injection of anaesthetic, but refused to assess his injuries and did not leave any documents.

Despite the defence’s accounts of a visit from an FSS investigator, threats to life, torture and illegal detention in a special detention centre, Judge Lada Evangelovskaya did not accede to requests. Instead, she sent Berezikov under arrest for another 15 days.

According to Sporysheva, after the hearing he managed to say: “I am afraid that I will disappear. I’m afraid that they will kill me and I won’t live till I get out of the special detention centre, that is, I won’t live till 15 June”.

After the trial, the police guards took Berezikov to the car to take him to the police station to fill out the paperwork for his transfer to a special detention centre. On the way to the car, the man managed to tell his defenders that all the things he had with him when he was arrested were missing: his flat keys, a wallet with 15,000 roubles and a bank card with money on it.

The video shows him finishing his cigarette and getting into his car, but he does not have time to throw away the cigarette butt.

– Don’t you have an ashtray here? Aren’t there any rubbish bins nearby? – The detainee asks with bewilderment.

– Just throw it under the car! – The policeman answers.

Berezikov doesn’t want to litter, so the lawyer has to throw the cigarette butt away.

Death in a detention centre

On 10 June, Sporysheva took a parcel to Berezikov. On 13 June the lawyer Irina Gak met him in the detention centre – he was active and, expecting that a criminal case would be brought against him, promised not to admit guilt despite torture.

The day before the end of the arrest, on 14 June, the lawyer, expecting that this arrest might not be the last one, came again to the detention centre. But there she was told that Anatoliy Berezikov was dead.

“At the same time, the cause was not given exactly, they said: either he had a heart attack or committed suicide,” recalls Tatiana Sporysheva, who was next to her. – That is, it was unclear. We called an ambulance, phoned and told the police. We couldn’t believe it, we thought that maybe he was ill, maybe he was still alive, maybe he could still be helped, but they were lying to us.

But soon an ambulance arrived at the detention centre and took away the corpse. The next day Berezikov was identified by his close friend.

The staff at the detention centre claim that Anatoliy Berezikov committed suicide. His defenders are certain that he died after being tortured.

High treason for the enemy of the war. “They torture brutally.”

While he was alive, Anatoliy Berezikov was never charged with any criminal offence. Even the visit to his flat was not formalised as a search within the framework of the investigation, but as an operative investigative measure “inspection of the premises”.

Lawyer Yevgeniy Smirnov from the human rights project “First Department”, who was aware of Berezikov’s misadventures, is convinced that the Rostov FSS Department needed a series of arrests in order to coordinate the criminal case of treason with the Moscow one.

“The decision to launch treason proceedings is agreed in Moscow. They cannot initiate it on their own initiative,” Smirnov explains. – The bureaucratic machine works and it takes time. Some take 15 days, some take two or three months. All this time they tried to prepare him for the case, to make him confess when it happens and not try to defend himself, being without a lawyer under the agreement. So that he would behave obediently and not interfere with the quiet investigation of the case”.

However, Berezikov did not yield to the threats and did not refuse a lawyer, which probably led to the situation in which the detainee died – most likely after more torture.

“There is no forensic report at the moment. There may even be a case, in which a lawyer will be involved as a representative of the victim’s family. Then we will know what he died of. It could be in a month or two,” says Smirnov. – They torture brutally. The lawyer had seen him just shortly before his death and of course he was not going to commit suicide, on the contrary he said that he was going to defend himself, saying that he feared for his life and health. Electricity is such a thing. A little too much, and even the healthiest person’s heart can stop.

The reason why the FSS was interested in Berezikov is unknown to Smirnov, but he knows that from the beginning of the war he “took an anti-war stance, non-violent, he did not hide his views in personal conversations”.

In public social networks Berezikov did not talk about the war. He worked as a repair mechanic. According to his VKontakte (Russian Facebook equivalent) page, his only sphere of interest, far from political, was noise music. He made noise synths together with the legend of the Rostov experimental scene Papa Srapa (Eduard Srapionov) and gave concerts under the pseudonym Anatoliy Ryk.

On 14 June, Anatoliy Ryk was supposed to perform at the festival Noise and Fury in Moscow. But on that day he died in a special detention centre in Rostov-on-Don.

Berezikov’s hobby associates interviewed by Mediazona said that he was not sociable, “kept away from the party”, “was a loner”, and “gave the impression of a person excessively eager to draw attention to his person”.

Berezikov himself was repeatedly in the Rostov news because of his habit of riding his bicycle in only shorts even in the harshest of winters. He has observed elections, helped Navalny’s headquarters, and participated in protests, including in support of Alexei Navalny, who was arrested in January 2021 – and was fined for doing so.

Translation of tweet of Vadim Kobzev:

It turned out that I knew Anatoliy personally. He was an activist in our Navalny office in Rostov, participated in rallies and was an election observer. Many people in Rostov had seen him on a bicycle without a T-shirt with a sign saying “Putin is a thief”.

The scum who tortured and murdered him will pay the price

Translation of OVD Info (Transl.- Account in English: @ovdinfo_en Advocacy & monitoring for human rights in Russia. Track repressions & provide legal aid to unjustly persecuted)

Anatoliy Berezikov, a 40-year-old activist, died in a detention centre in Rostov-on-Don. His lawyer, Irina Gak, suspects the man may have been killed in the process of torture

“I cannot name specific names of the people he spoke to, but I know of cases where he vividly expressed his anti-war stance in conversations in public space.

He always took part in actions, and not just came, but showed some kind of activity, handed out materials. That is, he is a long-time activist,” said Tatiana Sporysheva.

According to her, after her arrest Berezikov said that “for months he had been putting up anti-war leaflets, actively doing that while riding his bicycle. Evgeny Smirnov of the First Department does not confirm this, but does not deny it either; lawyer Irina Gak refused to comment.

It was difficult for Sporysheva to say which leaflets had attracted the attention of the FSS. The OVD-Info project mentioned that it could presumably have been leaflets with instructions on how to use the Ukrainian project “I Want to Live” (which accepts requests from Russian servicemen to surrender).

Ukrainian telegraph channels and bloggers have regularly posted calls for Russians to participate in a “flash mob” to post these leaflets on the streets of their cities since at least last autumn, posting layouts for printing them out. On May 10, on the eve of the law enforcers’ visit to Berezikov’s flat, Ukrainian telegraph channel «Оперативний ЗСУ» (Operative ZSU) wrote that “in the flash mob for distributing leaflets over the past few days, Rostov-on-Don, the unchallenged champion St. Petersburg and the unexpectedly small town of Novotroitsk stood out.” “But a separate place in this company is held by Rostov, where flyers of the ‘I Want to Live’ project were posted directly on victory posters,” the channel noted.

Whatever really drew the FSS’s attention, after the search the law enforcers found confirmation of their suspicions in Berezikov’s seized gadgets, lawyer Smirnov believes. “Naturally, he was subscribed to various telegrams to receive information from both sides. Next, they began to get him to admit that he was helping Ukraine, that’s one, and two – why they tortured him was to take out some of their anger. “Traitor to the motherland. You are our enemy, we will do with you what we want.” Some kind of animal feelings,” Yevgeny Smirnov is sure.

There is no record of the “inspection of the premises”, but Tatyana Sporysheva says that in addition to electronic devices, one of the two bicycles was also taken from the flat.

She believes that initially the FSS officers wanted to make Berezikov one of those defendants under the article on state treason, whose detention becomes known only after the court decision is made – without any details of the case. But Berezikov found the strength to resist, sought help from the people outside and thus ruined the law enforcers’ plan.

“This is a very convenient target: Anatoliy has no wife, no children, he has no Rostov registration, and he only has an elderly mother in the Moscow suburbs. He came to Rostov and he has no one here, no one will worry about him, no one will look for him, hence the treason,” she reasoned.

Yevgeniy Smirnov from the First Department agrees with her: “From his words – he was talking about threats under the article, for which life imprisonment is envisaged. Knowing the practice that we have all over the country now – and I know many such cases already – it was, of course, treason.

That’s the end of the article: an anti-war activist was arrested multiple times and did not survive the experience. Make of it what you will – but please let me know what you think of the article and if you’ll read more.


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MP ‘speechless’ after hearing rape alarm excuse for ‘Night Stars’ Coronation arrest was false

Assumptions about a pre-Coronation decision to arrest volunteers who help vulnerable people on the streets of London at night were shattered when it was claimed the stated reason was nonsense.

The Commons Home Affairs Committee took evidence on the arrests today (May 17, 2023) – including from ‘Night Stars’ volunteer Suzie Melvin, whose comments left chair Diana Johnson “speechless”.

The reason? It had been stated that the ‘Night Stars’ volunteers were arrested for handing out rape alarms which police said could be used to frighten horses in the Coronation Day parade.

There’s just one problem with that: the ‘Night Stars’ weren’t handing out rape alarms at all.

Here‘s the BBC report of what Ms Melvin said [boldings mine]:

She explains to the select committee the work volunteers do and the equipment they use – mostly items to help people struggling to get home during a night out, from sick bags to flip flops.

She describes the night as quiet, with the volunteering team mainly helping people by directing them to taxis in central London.

But as the team – wearing hi-vis jackets and backpacks – approached Soho Square they were told by officers they would need to be stopped and searched.

Melvin says officers looked through their bags. But despite explaining to officers who they were, they were arrested and taken to police custody – where she was held from Friday night until Saturday afternoon.

“I am speechless,” the chair of the committee Diana Johnson says after hearing Melvin’s testimony.

Melvin says that when she was arrested, the police officer told her they were specifically looking for the Night Stars volunteers.

Longhi asks if it could be because they were giving out rape alarms, “which can cause a sudden occurrence to happen amongst the horses that were parading” and a risk to the public.

“None of us have ever handed out a rape alarm,” says Melvin. “I am not sure why we were arrested and detained.”

Suzie Melvin from the Night Star volunteers is asked if she had any dialogue with the police beforehand about the new laws and what it might mean for her operations.

“Not directly no,” she says, “but I am aware that city council members did have a dialogue and were not made aware of any suggestion we might be involved in plans to disrupt the Coronation.”

I’ve seen no comment from police who gave evidence at the hearing on any reason for the ‘Night Stars’ arrest. The claim was that they’d had information suggesting the group’s members were handing out rape alarms for the purpose of disrupting the Coronation celebrations but that does not appear to have been substantiated by any police representative.

So was that their excuse or not? Or are they changing it? I have contacted the Metropolitan Police to seek clarification.

ADDITIONAL: The Met Police responded at 2.12pm as follows:

Three people were stopped by officers and arrested in the Soho area on suspicion of conspiracy to commit public nuisance. Among items seized were a number of rape alarms.

The three people – a 37-year-old woman, a 59-year-old woman and a 47-year-old man – were taken to a south London police station, where they were questioned. The 47-year-old man was also further arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods.

All three have since been released with no further action.

So neither side is giving an inch, it seems.

I await with eager anticipation the report of the Home Affairs Committee – and any responses to it.


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Coronation arrests show protest is now a privilege – not a right

The political clampdown on protest: it seems Graham Smith of Republic (in the yellow) was arrested because of his political views, not because he was protesting in an illegal way – because he wasn’t.

The  big story of the coronation weekend fell to new depths when the Tory government tried desperately to justify its punitive Public Order Act in response to an Urgent Question in the House of Commons.

Policing Minister Chris Philp actually tried to get us to believe the Metropolitan Police had received “intelligence” saying that rape alarms would be used to frighten police horses during the street parade.

He told the House of Commons: “Commissioner Mark Rowley has outlined the intelligence picture in the hours leading up to the coronation. It included more than one plot to cause severe disruption by placing activated rape alarms in the path of horses to induce a stampede and a separate plot to douse participants in the procession with paint.

“All plots to disrupt the coronation were foiled by a combination of intelligence work and proactive vigilant policing on the ground.”

There’s just one problem with this: There were no plots to do any of the things Philp suggested. If there had been, arrests would have been followed by criminal charges and, eventually, imprisonment. They weren’t.

Let’s see what Philp had to see about the people who were arrested: “the arrests included a person wanted for sexual offences, people equipped to commit criminal damage with large quantities of paint, and arrests on suspicion of conspiracy to cause public nuisance, often backed by intelligence.”

A statement from the Met has clarified that eight of the 64 arrests made on Coronation Day had nothing to do with protest but included drugs offences and possession of an offensive weapon. Four charges have been brought, and although the police have deliberately confused the issue, it seems likely that none of these had anything to do with protest.

Allow me to reiterate: as far as we can tell, nobody involved in protest was charged with any offence at all.

Philp refused to discuss the arrest of three members of the Night Stars organisation that hands out rape alarms to vulnerable women walking London’s streets in the dark of night. Without any further information, we must conclude that this is the origin of the claim about rape alarms – and that the claim was unfounded.

I fear what may have happened with the Night Stars unable to carry out their work from a police cell. If one or more vulnerable women were attacked – and remember this is in London, where critics of the police say rape might as well be legal these days – what were they supposed to do? Grin and bear it?

In the face of Philp’s nonsense, others tried to inject some accuracy into the debate, only to suffer the ill-mannered contempt of the minister:

Those were two Labour MPs making the point about the Public Order Act, under which the arrests were made. One would have expected them to have enjoyed the support of their party leader – but sadly this has not been the case:

On the subject of “bedding in”, this Twitter user makes the operative point:

 

Indeed, Starmer’s attitude now is the exact opposite of his thinking a few years ago:

It’s more hypocrisy from the Labour leader.

Philp, on the other hand, told MPs that the Public Order Act is designed in a way “allowing peaceful protest” – and this is the point: It allows protest, in a country were protest is everybody’s right.

He claimed that “the law allows peaceful protest where it is not disruptive and where people do not plan to cause disruption, which is why hundreds and hundreds of people… were able to protest peacefully. Where someone is preparing to commit or is committing a criminal offence, such as disrupting a procession, it is reasonable for the police to act.”

But this is nonsense, most particularly because it was in reply to Caroline Lucas’s accurate point: “Those who were arrested and kept in were not causing an obstruction… does this not show that the powers the Government have handed to the police are dangerously broad and liable to gross misuse, as many of us have pointed out?”

We are left with the inescapable conclusion that the police targeted particular people or groups, including the representatives of anti-monarchy group Republic who have already received a considerable amount of attention, while leaving others alone.

That adds a totalitarian, dictatorial political dimension to the Public Order Act:

Under Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives, dissenting voices are now silenced and protest is neutered. And Keir Starmer – who should be standing up for your rights – supports it.


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After police abused the new Public Order Act, above-the-law politicians won’t change it

A reminder: here’s Republic chief executive Graham Smith being arrested for not breaking any laws, by at least eight police officers.

There can’t be any doubt now that the big story of the Coronation weekend is the abuse of the new Public Order Act by police, to arrest and detain people who had every right to protest against a monarchy they do not want.

Graham Smith, chief executive of the anti-monarch group Republic, was jailed early on Saturday morning, on suspicion of conspiring to cause a public nuisance by disrupting the celebrations on London’s streets.

He has made it clear that neither he nor anybody else in his group had any intention to break the law.

Indeed, Republic has made it clear that it co-operated fully with the Metropolitan Police before the event even started:

Graham Smith, speaking for Republic on 3 May, said: “We have had two meetings with the Met police, and numerous phone conversations. They have repeatedly said they have no concerns about Republic’s plans.”

Mr Smith was released on Saturday but police retained his phone and luggage straps that they had claimed could have been used for “locking on” – attaching protesters to street furniture to cause disruption.

These items were returned on Monday evening, when officers admitted they were not able to find any reason to charge Mr Smith with a crime. Here are his comments:

Do you believe the claim of regret by the police? Richard Murphy, of Funding the Future, doesn’t:

I do not believe the police. Politely, they are asking us to believe in yet more fairytales if they expect us to think that these arrests were a mistake.

They announced zero tolerance of protest in advance of the coronation.

They got new powers enacted days in advance of the coronation to arrest without reason.

Republic had been completely open and honest about their intentions, I know. I get their emails. And so there was no new “intelligence” for the police to act on to justify their actions, as they and those seeking to excuse them (Ed Balls, I am looking at you) claimed. There was just a police conspiracy to appease Suella Braverman by showing zero tolerance that backfired spectacularly in both the UK and around the world.

And now they have not only had to eat humble pie, because their actions were so obviously unjustified and unjustifiable –  because not only was the protest peaceful but there was never a conspiracy that it should be anything else  – but they have now paved the way for rightful demands that use of this law be restricted until such time as it can be repealed.

The only impediment to that happening is Labour’s support for these laws – which looks most especially crass now.

I fear Mr Murphy’s hope for Labour may be forlorn. More on this below.

This morning (Tuesday, May 9), Mr Smith was interviewed by Kay Burley of Sky News, who did her level best to undermine his assertions – and he made mincemeat of her. Fair play to her for posting the clip, though!

This Writer cannot understand why Burley kept harping on about the cost of the Coronation. I had heard the £250m line too – and whether it cost that much or the more modest £100m figure that has been more widely-quoted, it’s still money that could have been put to better use in a country whose people are struggling financially because the government has sucked all the money out of it.

And she was unable to stop Mr Smith from making his point that “there was no evidence of any intent or capacity to commit any offence” and “no suggestion of wrongdoing… at all”.

While Burley was putting forward a pro-Establishment view, other journalists went very strongly the other way. Here’s Michael Crick – and I know he’s problematic too, but his words are worth hearing – on LBC:

Sadly, it doesn’t matter what the commenterati say about it; the political elite in Westminster have closed ranks to deny that anything untoward happened at all – and they certainly won’t consider revising or repealing the vague law that allowed this scandal to happen.

Here’s prime minister Rishi Sunak. First he said he supported what the police did:

“The police are operationally independent of Government, they’ll make these decisions based on what they think is best,” he told broadcasters in Hertfordshire.

“Actually I’m grateful to the police and everyone who played a part in ensuring that this weekend has gone so well, so successfully and so safely, that was an extraordinary effort by so many people and I’m grateful to them for all their hard work.”

Then he repeated his assertions to TV reporters:

It’s interesting that Sunak claimed the arrests were “operational decisions made by the police at the time”. I wonder if we can have that confirmed? I’ll try to contact the Met and see what response I get.

Meanwhile, here’s Tory MP Peter Bone, who supports his prime ministers point of view, having his derriere turned into burger meat and handed back to him by Marina Purkiss:

So much for the Tory point of view.

And what about Labour?

Lisa Nandy, on the morning media round, made it clear that her party sides with the Tories and repeated the assertion (although not in as many words) that Labour wants to be able to clamp down on protesters just as hard as the Tories appear to have done:

Even Barry Gardiner, usually excellent at presenting his party in a reasonable light, struggled in a discussion of the scandal on the BBC’s Politics Live:

And what does Labour think of Republic, and the right of anti-monarchists to be able to present their point of view?

Admittedly, party MPs have protested:

John McDonnell, the former shadow chancellor, questioned the rules this week, saying: “I can’t see that allowing local parties to participate in groups like these is going to bring down civilisation as we know it.

“A form of institutional paranoia has emerged in the higher echelons of the party’s bureaucracy which has led to a level of control-freakery in relation to the activities of local CLPs which borders on farce.”

Another MP and former shadow frontbencher, Clive Lewis, who will address anti-monarchy protesters staging a demonstration against the coronation in London on Saturday, said he had “serious misgivings” about the rule preventing affiliation with Republic, adding there was a long history of branches having relationships with democratic campaigning organisations.

Lewis said: “It feels wrong, and sits uncomfortably with me. I think a lot of people will find it problematic, even people who are going to be supportive of the coronation and the king. Many of them will also be people who believe in freedom of speech, freedom of expression and having an open, honest political debate about the future of this country.

“If you join the Labour party, you often joined because you want to make a difference to make your country better, and those are the kind of people who will want to ask questions about the kind of democracy we have.”

But Starmer seems to feel he has to act this way because it might win him some votes – despite the fact that it makes him (yet again) a hypocrite:

Labour under Keir Starmer’s leadership has attempted to underline its patriotism in order to reconnect with voters in “red wall” seats. In the past, Starmer had advocated abolishing the monarchy.

Meanwhile…

Yes, littering is indeed a crime, but it seems nobody has been punished for it.

Instead, the police concentrated their resources on persecuting people who had not broken the law at all.

It really is the big story of the weekend: supporters of the monarchy attacked, arrested, and imprisoned dozens of people on the day their icon was crowned – not for any crime, but simply for having a different point of view.


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Pressure mounts on Met Police over Night Stars/rape alarm arrests

The Metropolitan Police seems to be falling into increasingly deeper trouble over its decision to arrest members of an organisation that hands out rape alarms to vulnerable women.

The arrests were made at around 2am on the morning of the coronation, on the grounds that the rape alarms could be set off and thrown at mounted police to frighten their horses.

Over on Beastrabban’s Weblog, This Writer’s brother had this to say about it:

The volunteers, who I’ve heard were giving them away at 2 o’clock in the morning, have explained … that they do it to protect vulnerable women [and] girls on a night out.

This seems to me far more plausible than the Met’s story. I’ll be interested to see what evidence the Met has for this intelligence, assuming we’re allowed to see it and it’s not another fairy tale to allow the cops to clamp down on peaceful protesters and perfectly innocent volunteers in a fit of judicial paranoia.

He also found the Channel 4 News report on the matter, which is about as damning as a fair and balanced report can be:

Source: Met Police Arrest Volunteers Giving Rape Alarms to Vulnerable Women | Beastrabban\’s Weblog


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Starmer’s party has joined the fascists – it WON’T end Tory anti-protest law

David Lammy: he won’t stand up for your freedom and neither will Keir Starmer’s Labour.

Keir Starmer’s Labour Party will not reverse the Tory law that allowed police to arrest 64 people on the day of King Charles’s coronation – on suspicion that they might express anti-monarchist views in a way that other people might see.

That was the extent of their crime – if it can even be described as such. The police thought they might express a viewpoint that the State did not support, and that other people might notice.

Yes, there are claims that people were found equipped to glue themselves to street furniture in order to disrupt street activities – but this is the Metropolitan Police; it has lost all public trust or belief in its statements due to previous activities by its personnel which I do not believe I need to discuss here.

These are the police officers who arrested a group of people who are affiliated to them for handing out rape alarms to vulnerable women in Soho in the dead of night – on the pretence that they were going to set those alarms off and throw them at police horses. That shows how ridiculous their claims were.

There has been a public outcry against these draconian acts of suppression – quite rightly, because they are an expression of a fascist police state’s intent to crush any opposition to it. I put the argument in the strongest terms possible because I defy anybody to prove me wrong.

And the Starmer Party has gone full-fascist by supporting the new law.

David Lammy – who is the Shadow Foreign Secretary, bear in mind – said Starmer’s Labour would not repeal the Public Order Act, apparently because it doesn’t have time for it:

How strange. The Conservatives had time to pick apart any laws enacted by the previous Labour administration that actually helped people, during a five-year term in which they imposed unnecessary austerity on the UK that crippled the economy and invited unwanted private firms into the NHS, all while in an uneasy alliance with the Liberal Democrats.

But StarmerLabour doesn’t have time to halt the jackbooted march of fascism into this country – this nation that fought the totalitarianism that Lammy is welcoming now?

What a damning betrayal of the United Kingdom.

The Shadow Cabinet seems united in this betrayal: Shadow Minister for Public Health Andrew Gwynne told Andrew Castle on LBC that he was “all for freedom of speech” – except during the coronation, which he described as a “celebration”, “promoting British values across the world”.

So Gwynne’s idea of “British values” equates to suppression of free speech – never mind his claim that he’s “all for” freedom of speech later in the interview; he later added “but the coronation is a celebration,” and we all know that everything before the “but” is irrelevant.

Gwynne couldn’t care less about your right to oppose the coronation if you want to; his view is that it is a celebration of British values that include clamping down hard on free speech and arresting anybody who tries to express a dissenting opinion.

“Let’s wait and see what happens in the future as to whether this new law has properly curtailed people’s rights,” he said. So he considers it is “proper” for your rights to be “curtailed”.

These people give themselves away. See – and hear – for yourself:

And it’s not just protest that will get you arrested; journalists like myself could be detained for recording or filming it. Watch this, and take note of Labour Lord (yes, it seems there are still some voices of reason in that party) Prem Sikka’s comments:

In another tweet, Lord Sikka added: “Our rights were secured by protests/disobedience. Labour risks alienating its traditional voters. The country needs to jettison the toxic Tory policies, not perpetuate them.”

Also commenting on the clip, Richard Murphy of Funding the Future stated: “And Labour say they will not repeal the laws that allow our structurally racist and misogynistic (and so politically biased) police from doing this. What is happening to our democracy?”

On his website, Mr Murphy expanded on Labour’s betrayal of your universally-held human rights: “With a golden opportunity presented to him to make the news agenda and stand up for the inviolability rather than the conditionality of human rights, Lammy ducked it.

“What, after all, would a party born in the basis of protest want to do supporting the right of those who do so?

“And what, incidentally, is the “positive agenda” Labour will promote? Apparently it is growth, the cost of living and inflation. But inflation will go away anyway as it always does; Labour can do nothing about the cost of living unless it redistributes and it is already staying it will not; whilst on growth, we all know that the benefit of this will all go to those already wealthy.

“So, what is Labour for, now? I keep asking the question and still I can find no answer.”

It’s not for the unions any more – as seems clear from the following:

‘Tom London’ on Twitter also commented on the video clip: “‘Conspiracy to commit a public nuisance’ is an Orwellian phrase which can be used to cynically “justify” almost any arrest. The Tory Govt put this on the Statute Book knowing this. Starmer’s Party barely opposed. BBC and most of the rest of the media feebly nodded – or clapped.”

Other commentators, discussing the Starmer Party’s position, have universally opposed it. This is just one example:

We are left with a simple question: If Labour refuses to represent us, why should we vote for that party? Here’s Sue Jones:

There are still people in what’s left of the Labour Party who still support its founding values – like Prem Sikka (above) and Richard Burgon…

… but they are few and far between, and they are not in charge of party policy.

So there is no reason to support Keir Starmer and his cronies. Their only interest seems to be their own personal gain and their attitude to anyone who wants a country that works for everyone is that there’s nobody else to whom you can give your vote.

But is that right?

The results of last week’s local elections in England show that the electorate is becoming increasingly willing to vote with its feet, taking support away from traditional – tribal – options and handing it to parties that offer better options – or people they know they can trust.

There’s nothing to stop that happening in Westminster – especially when both StarmerLabour and the Conservatives present themselves as equally poor options.

And look what MPs can say when they’re released from the tyranny of the party whip. Here’s Claudia Webbe, who was thrown out of the Labour Party by the Starmer crowd:

It’s time for voters across the UK to take a hard look around and, if necessary, find an alternative to the elites in Westminster from among ourselves.

The corruption of the party in office – and its main rival – has gone too far for reasoned argument to halt it. The coronation day arrests and the way they were supported by Lammy and Gwynne make that perfectly clear.

So we have to find a better way.

Nobody ever achieved change by cowering at home and kowtowing to the thug with the truncheon.


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Was Keir Starmer complicit in removing our right to protest?

Keir Starmer: how does he feel about the UK monarchy? The flags might be a bit of a giveaway…

Once a pillar of the Establishment, always a pillar of the Establishment?

It seems that Keir Starmer could have stopped the Public Order Act that allowed the police to stop peaceful protests against the coronation of Charles III before they even happened – or at least delayed it.

But the evidence suggests that he decided not to:

If that’s right, then I can only agree with Richard Murphy’s comment on it:

The right to say, peacefully, that Charles was not a person’s chosen head of state was denied. And I hold Keir Starmer amongst those responsible for that. It might have been Tory legislation, but in the end Labour enabled it. We saw the consequence yesterday.

Source: The Tories might have removed the right to protest but Labour let it do so


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