Tag Archives: Clapham

Inquiry: Police breached ‘fundamental rights’ at Sarah Everard and Kill the Bill protests

Clapham Common: police ‘failed to understand their legal duties in respect of protest’. That seems accurate – don’t you think?

Has the UK’s principle news outlet – the BBC – reported this in any way at all?

The report speaks for itself:

Police breached “fundamental rights” in their handling of the Sarah Everard vigil in London and Kill the Bill protests in Bristol, a parliamentary inquiry has found.

The Metropolitan Police and the Avon and Somerset force committed “multiple failings” in their response to the two events, according to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Democracy and the Constitution (APPGDC).

Their report claims that both forces wrongly applied coronavirus lockdown laws and “failed to understand their legal duties in respect of protest”.

It also suggested that officers taking action against protesters – as opposed to engaging with them before the event – “may have increased the risk of COVID-19 transmission” at the Sarah Everard Vigil in Clapham, southwest London.

Officers in Bristol “failed to distinguish between those protesting peacefully and those engaging in acts of violence”, which resulted in “excessive force” being used, it added.

Both police forces mentioned in the report have rejected its findings, meaning nothing will be done to improve policing.

It comes just days before Boris Johnson and Priti Patel’s draconian Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill returns to the Commons with its proposals to make protest events like those on Clapham Common and in Bristol almost entirely illegal.

The findings have led to proposed amendments to the Bill, including abandoning some of the new proposed powers – as they are “unnecessary” and have placed police in an “unfair position” – and suggesting a special code on how to police protests.

The inquiry’s chairman, Labour MP Geraint Davies, said: “The police must not become the enforcement agency of the state against those who choose to publicly and collectively call for change – political, economic, social or environmental.

“Parliament must protect our freedoms and reject attempts to increase police power and restrict our right to peaceful protest.”

And yet the news media are strangely unwilling to report on this.

If the public don’t know about it, they can’t support the proposed changes, or the criticism of the police forces, meaning they can carrying on doing exactly whatever they want, and Johnson will be able to curtail our freedoms in any way he pleases.

Are you happy for that to happen?

If so, then you don’t have to do anything. Just sit back and let him strip you of your rights and freedoms. It will hurt – but not until you have a reason to complain and then find out that you aren’t allowed to.

If not, then it’s time to stand up for yourself. You can start by simply making sure all your friends see this article. Or is even that too much because you’re worried about what they’ll say?

Source: Police breached ‘fundamental rights’ at Sarah Everard and Kill the Bill protests, parliamentary inquiry finds | UK News | Sky News

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Review whitewashes Metropolitan police behaviour at Sarah Everard vigil

Is anybody surprised that Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has cleared the Metropolitan Police of any inappropriate behaviour at the Clapham Common vigil for Sarah Everard?

The review said the force “was justified in adopting the view that the risks of transmitting COVID-19 at the vigil were too great to ignore”.

So that made it reasonable to kettle these people – crowd them into an ever-smaller space, making those risks much greater, did it?

That made it reasonable to arrest these people, did it? Were they crammed like sardines in police vans? Were they crammed like sardines into cells?

Forcing people into close contact with each other seems an extremely odd way to combat a disease that is spread by close contact – especially people who had been very recently injured.

The review said “officers remained calm and professional when subjected to abuse” and “did not act inappropriately or in a heavy handed manner”.

So this wasn’t heavy-handed?

How about this?

Or this?

Hmm.

Like many others, I notice that there was no problem with the Duchess of Cambridge attending the event that Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick branded illegal.

Why wasn’t Kate Middleton attacked with a baton and bundled into a White Maria?

Ah, but she attended during daylight. The police didn’t move in and start hurting people until after dark. Now, why was that, do you think?

The report by Sky News makes it clear that the atmosphere did not turn hostile until the police started kettling people. Oh, the cops were telling people to leave, were they? How could they do that when the uniforms were cutting off their ability to go?

The bandstand was soon almost surrounded by officers and the atmosphere started to become more hostile. It was at this point that a number of women appeared to be shoved and people starting shouting at the police.

It seems clear to me that HM Inspectorate of Constabulary came to the conclusion it usually reaches – that the police can do no wrong.

How many attendees at the event were consulted during this review?

None, I’m betting.

No wonder the result was one-sided.

Let’s have a proper, public inquiry – then we’ll hear some uncomfortable facts (but of course, that will never happen).

Source: Met Police ‘acted appropriately’ at Sarah Everard vigil, review finds | UK News | Sky News

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Don’t be fooled: the Tories are stealing your right to protest

Clapham Common: police weren’t actually stamping on Patsy Stevenson’s face, but they might as well have been.

Pretty words from Tory minister Victoria Atkins yesterday could not hide the ugly truth that the Conservative Government is stealing your right to protest in a way best described as fascist.

Atkins, on Andrew Marr’s TV show yesterday (March 14), expressed concern over the way policemen attacked women at a vigil in memory of Sarah Everard, who was allegedly kidnapped and murdered by a policeman.

But she went on to defend the new Police Bill that will allow constables to carry out further attacks on any public protest, demonstration, or rally – no matter how big or small – if even one person complains about noise.

Judge the Tories on what they do, not what they say.

Commentators are starting to realise that this is an attack on our right to protest against oppression – not just by means of male violence, or policing, but by the government itself. Comparisons are being made with Orgreave in the 1980s.

The suggestion that nothing would have happened without police intervention could also be made about the battle of Orgreave during the 1984 miners’ strike, where 6,000 police, including mounted officers, brutally attacked pickets – at one point taking part in a mounted charge on people who were sunbathing.

Current police priorities were demonstrated very clearly when more than 1,000 people took part in a protest in Parliament Square yesterday, against the policing of the Sarah Everard vigil.

Uniformed officers took a much less hostile attitude and stayed away from the crowd – but were criticised for forming a protective ring around a statue of Winston Churchill.

The message was clear:

(TFW = That Feeling When…)

You can tell that the government supports heavy-handed policing. Met Commissioner Cressida Dick faced calls to resign over the attacks in Clapham Common on Saturday – but won’t.

Sadly, Labour leader Keir Starmer has stood with the government and against the people on this matter:

Dick’s own attitude to Clapham Common seems to change depending on which aspect she’s discussing.

The organisation Reclaim These Streets had tried to organise a vigil but failed because Dick’s Met Police refused to co-operate. It happened anyway because people still went on an unofficial basis to make their feelings known.

One of the attendees was Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge – who was praised for her participation.

But consider Dick’s comments, not long afterwards:

It’s a glaring double-standard. Police would never have pinned the wife of the Prince to the ground, kneeling on her back. Why did they then consider it perfectly reasonable to do it to other women?

Why did Cressida Dick consider it perfectly reasonable for police to do that? And how can anyone justify her remaining in her job with that attitude?

Another protest is set to take place today (March 15) in Parliament Square, while MPs discuss the plan to clamp down on protests just like it.

If you can go, do. Boris Johnson’s government is dragging the UK into fascism and it needs to be countered.

Oh, you think it couldn’t happen here?

Well, George Orwell once described a fascist state as being like a boot stamping on a citizen’s face.

On Saturday night the police were very nearly doing just that. How much closer do they have to make it before you realise what is happening to you?

Source: Minister defends Priti Patel’s bid to hand Police more power to crack down on protests – Mirror Online

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Priti Patel wants to stop protests against male violence on women. Will YOU help stop her?


The government’s reaction to protests like that on Clapham Common last night (March 13), when male police officers arrested many women who had gathered to protest at the kidnap and murder of a woman, apparently by a male police officer, is simple: it will stop us from protesting.

Do you think that is reasonable?

Priti Patel is pushing through new legislation to ensure that police can step in to prevent any protests, rallies, or other public demonstrations tomorrow (March 15).

Her new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will expand on powers to restrict demonstrations in the Public Order Act 1986 that allowed them to be restricted if there was a risk of “serious public disorder, serious damage to property or serious disruption to the life of the community”.

The new Bill increases the scope to allow restrictions on the basis of noise: Patel means to literally silence protest in the UK.

If it is enacted as it stands, then police will be able to stop protests that “may result in serious disruption to the activities of an organisation” – for instance by distracting employees in a nearby office.

This also applies if the event disturbs passers-by – if the noise of the protest could have “a relevant impact on persons in the vicinity of the procession”.

The threshold is minimal: if just one person could be caused “serious unease, alarm or distress”, the rozzers would be allowed to move in and get busy with their truncheons.

This is fascism – and it makes a mockery of the false hand-wringing the Bill’s author, Priti Patel, was exhibiting on Twitter yesterday:

We should have known this was coming, though. She made her position clear when she told LBC’s Nick Ferrari “I don’t support protest”:

The horrendous scenes on Clapham Common last night were a direct consquence of Patel’s ideology. Remember, she controls the Metropolitan Police:

It seems the new Bill will contradict the Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights, which enshrines our right to protest in law:

This Writer therefore called for all right-thinking people to make a stand against Patel’s fascism:

I am glad to report that there will indeed be such an event:

So there it is. If you want to protest against Priti Patel’s (and by extension, Boris Johnson’s) plan to silence protest against male violence on women* then be at Parliament Square in London from 5pm tomorrow – Monday, March 15.

*Yes, she wants to stop all forms of protest but this is what she is stopping right now, and people need to be aware of what it means. If you want to complain about my choice of words, your priorities are as wrong as if you wanted to complain about my characterisation of “male” violence in a previous article.

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Police kettle women for trying to ‘reclaim’ the streets after policeman arrest for woman’s kidnap and murder

Kettled: hundreds of people – mostly women – were kettled on Clapham Common by police – mostly men.

Could there be a more strident declaration that the UK is backsliding culturally?

After a police officer was arrested and charged for kidnapping and murdering a woman, a vigil was organised on Clapham Common in memory of the deceased and as a mark of defiance against those who would put women in fear for their lives while just walking down the street.

In response, Metropolitan police officers kettled participants – boxing them in so they could not move freely – and then arrested them. Here’s how they carried out the second part of this operation:

The message is clear: in Tory Britain in the 21st century, women should feel afraid – all the time. The police will enforce it.

Possibly worst of all is the fact that the police acted this way not only after one of their number was arrested for the kidnap and murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard, but also under the orders of a female commissioner, Cressida Dick.

Dick’s tenure has been controversial from the start – often due to racist behaviour by her officers. This incident has renewed calls for her resignation, with accusations of sexism against people of her own gender.

As I understand it, police say they acted as they did in order to enforce Covid-19-related laws on social distancing. It is unclear how they can say kettling people is consistent with that claim.

My understanding, again, is that people gathered on Clapham Common in spite of the fact that a planned vigil had been cancelled due to difficulty in securing police co-operation. Organisers of the cancelled event, Reclaim These Streets, have released this statement:

Women across the country are deeply saddened and angered by the scenes of police officers physically manhandling women at a vigil against male violence*.

From the start, Reclaim These Streets set out to work closely with the Met to ensure this vigil could go ahead safely, so women could stand together peacefully and safely to remember Sarah Everard and all the women lost to male violence.

The Metropolitan Police failed to work with us despite the High Court ruling yesterday that a vigil could potentially go ahead lawfully. In doing so, they created a risky and unsafe situation. It is their responsibility to protect public order, public health and the right to protest – they failed tonight on all accounts.

All the time they spent fighting us on a legal claim that the Judge agreed should not have been necessary and was caused by the Metropolitan Police’s stance, they could have been working with us to ensure the vigil went ahead in a safe way. The Judge was clear and the Metropolitan Police conceded minutes before the hearing that there was no blanket ban on protest under the current law. They then had an opportunity – and a responsibility – to work with us safely and within the law.

This week, of all weeks, the police should have understood that women would need a place to mourn, reflect and show solidarity. Now is the time for the police and the government to recognise that the criminal justice system is failing women. Tonight it has failed women again, in the most destructive way.

Possibly the most chilling comment on these terrible events came from Boris Johnson, who said he would do “everything I can to make sure the streets are safe”.

He’ll probably impose an armed curfew.

Whatever he does, it will probably backfire because people are angry.

One commentator – aptly – described the situation: “Peaceful protest against violence against women is broken up by state violence against women.”

If that’s how people are seeing it, then in a country that is a seething cauldron of frustration due to Covid-19 restrictions, I fear that feelings are going to boil over and we could see some real confrontations.

And people are seeing it that way:

The woman pictured being arrested, above, is Patsy Stevenson. She was interviewed afterwards and her words capture the feeling of the moment:

Note that she said the next thing that should happen is another protest – and bigger.

With the authorities reacting not only inappropriately but violently – against the victims, I can only see this situation getting worse.

I hope I’m wrong but I know how the current government mistreats ordinary people. Tories will not understand that they cannot expect us to comply with what they say when what they do is harming us.

*Some readers may object to the characterisation of “male violence”. If you are one such person, my advice is simple: get over yourself. These events happened after a woman was attacked and killed by a man. The scenes on Clapham Common involved many men attacking many more women. And the worst of it is that all the men involved have police uniforms. Women have been left in fear for their lives not only because they don’t know whether the next man they see is going to attack them but also because they now know they cannot trust the police to protect them. Many men are saying that they have nothing to do with attacks on women and wouldn’t dream of doing such a thing, and that may be true. But that doesn’t mean that no men are responsible for such attacks. Perhaps, until a way is found to ensure that women can once again walk the UK’s streets in safety, all men should take responsibility and try to help, rather than whining that it’s nothing to do with them.

Source: Sarah Everard: Met criticised over Clapham vigil policing – BBC News

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