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Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Fitwatchers Remanded In Custody (and then released)

Three fitwatchers arrived at Climate Camp late morning on Friday. After going through the inital stop and searches with gritted teeth, they pitched their tents, had a cup of tea, and decided to take some photographs of the repressive policing operation at the front gate.

Within five minutes, they were wrestled to the ground and arrested on charges of obstruct police and assault police. At court the following morning, one activist was released on the condition he went straight home without picking up his tent. Two women were remanded in custody until Tuesday, "as the police were very anxious they would go back to camp", believing they would "breach any bail conditions", and "create a situation" whereby people would be "placed in fear of physical and mental injury". This was despite one woman having only been accused of the very minor charge of obstruct police.

Later that morning, in a non protesting related incident, a man who had breached his bail conditions from the previous week by getting nicked for fighting, was granted bail. Even the SERCO guards couldn't work out what was happening, and were very sympathetic.

Eventually, the women were released from HMP Brozefield late Tuesday afternoon, after having been granted unconditonal bail.

However, Fitwatch is not about a few people. It is about an attitude, a tactic - a tactic which has been very much in evidence throughout Climate Camp week. People photographed and documeted the FIT, tried to block their cameras, and gave a robust response when they tried to enter the camp. The two Fitwatchers they remanded were at home, hundreds of miles away, when these things happened.

Imprisoning two people will not alter this shift in attitude towards the FIT. It is becoming part of activist culture to challenge rather than ignore. And there is no doubting their job is getting harder (and out of interest did anyone spot PC Pritchard MD862 at Climate Camp? Or is it bye bye Wes!?)

It is amazing and inspiring to see the number of people who were still able and willing to take direct action following a week of unprecedented repression. Even people used to repressive policing found it intimidating, and it is great that people stood their ground and went out to stop the power plant.

However, we have to tackle this repression. We have to build effective strategies so we do not allow ourselves to queue up to be searched, where we don't allow the police the opportunity to build databases of every person who attends a protest.

Locking up a couple of fitwatchers for a few days only strengthens their ability and resolve to fight back. Systematically and violenting repressing hundreds of people will have a similar result. There will be a backlash. We will all fight back.

11 comments:

Chris POTTER said...

We will all fight back

Yada Yada Yada

You got nicked and remanded to prevent you being a pain - this isn't the first time it has happend and, for you, will not be the last.

Anonymous said...

Well said Chris - I must say taking her picture was fun!

halfpenny bridge said...

nicking and remanding people for the heinous offence of being a pain only serves to show the depths to which the filth are happy to stoop, with the courts colluding in their dirty work.

anonymous - i look forward to seeing your picture. wouldn't that be fun?

Chris POTTER said...

Halfwit - the secret is not to get nicked. FITWATCH, it would seem, can't grasp this simple technique,

halfpenny bridge said...

yeh? having evaded the unwelcome grasp of the forces of darkness (that's the filth to you, chris) for many years now despite fitwatching at a number of events, i can safely say you're full of shit.

Anonymous said...

fight back

...and give the police an excuse to fill you in before arresting you. you must realise that fighting them will get you nowhere, except maybe A&E then custody.

It's not as if they don't want to is it?

halfpenny bridge said...

From the Sussex Police website:

Think about what you would do if someone attacked you. Only you can decide whether you would fight back or avoid confrontation and wait to escape. Prepare yourself for every possibility.

Assess the situation.

Is there an opportunity to escape?

Keep talking.

Attract attention by shouting - noise is a powerful weapon.

Avoid freezing - use your personal alarm.
Anyone under attack or who has a good reason to believe they will be attacked has the right to defend themselves with such force as is reasonable in the circumstances. You are not permitted by law to carry anything that can be described as an offensive weapon.

Sound advice, strangely, from the police, and, I'd suggest, applicable to situations fitwatchers often find themselves in!

Chris D said...

The above comments were not made by Chris Potter. Police / Shacwatch bullshit as usual. Potter fully supports Fitwatch I can vouch that...

Chris D / WARN

Sam said...

I second that vouch. It is not Chris Potter. He completely backs fitwatch 100%

The Real Chris Potter said...

HAHA just checking what i got told was correct, i am assuming it is the police or some other pathetic bunch of brown noser's that have been using my name to post. I think fitwatch do a great job and have even been in court lately supporting two friends who where in for fitwatch style offences. Infact this is my first time posting on fitwatch. you can continue pretending to be me all you like, i will just continue laughing and feeling smug that we get to you so much!
ACAB

Anonymous said...

This must be the incident in the new video on the Guardian site
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/jun/21/kingsnorth-protester-arrests-video-complaint