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Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Help Defend the Militancy - Fitwatch call for Gaza demo

24th January, 2pm, BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place, London.

As the militancy on the UK streets increases, so will the police repression. We must help defend this current wave of resistance. Given Israel's alleged ceasefire, it is likely the protests will be smaller, but the anger will not, and should not, go away.

Whatever the size of the protest, there will be many FIT teams about. Block their shots from the beginning and prevent them collating any information or evidence. Say no to being entered into a database just for attending a protest.

This call from Fitwatch is issued in solidarity with the people who have been confronting the police at the Israeli Embassy, attacking Starbucks, and smashing the EDO weapons factory in Brighton.

These courageous acts have sent a clear message of solidarity to the people of Gaza - a message that people care more about the destruction than they do the personal consequences. They show people will not be constricted in their anger, and will cause damage to the companies who contribute to, and profit from, Israeli slaughter.

Resistance is once again alive and kicking in the UK. Join Fitwatch and help keep it this way.

A few Fitwatch tips for staying safe in public order situations

(this is by no means a comprehensive guide)

1.Mask up from the beginning of the demo.
2.Don't bring identification, diaries etc., to the protest.
3.If you are stopped and searched, you do not have to give any details. If you are not driving a vehicle, the only times the police have the power to arrest you for not giving details are under Section 50 of the Anti Social Behavior Act or if they want to summons you for an offence/issue a fixed penalty notice.
4.Consider buying a cheap pay-as-you-go phone for demos to prevent the cops seizing your phone and going through your contact lists, text messages etc.
5.Buddy up. Have one or two people who you know are watching your back.
6.Take water and high energy foods with you.
7.Remember there is no such thing as a friendly chat with a cop.
8.Watch police movements and formations. Look out for pens – and if you've done something, take the opportunity to leave while you still can.
9.Watch for FIT teams. If one arrives at a situation, block their shots and let people know.
10.After the event – dispose of any distinctive clothing, especially rucksacks and shoes. Depending on the severity of the situation, it may be advisable to get rid of all clothing, mobile phone etc. Do not keep any souvenirs. Even if the police break your door down, it is possible you will get off. You lose this possibility if you have a police shield on your wall.
11.If you are arrested make no comment other than to give your name and a verifiable address. If your solicitor tries to advise you otherwise, tell them you want them to instruct you to give a no comment interview.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Boycott Israel http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AbIQto3KPUM

Anonymous said...

Due to a 'Power cut' the police felt the need to maintain a presence in a van on Derbyshire Street, Bethnal Green last night (Derbyshire street had full power to all street lamps and buildings). It is not coincidental in the slightest that a STWC activist meeting was taking place in the centre the van was outside. The police asked the receptionist to inform them of any "political meetings taking places this evening", but this was obviously to facilitate policing of the 'Blackout'. The police attempted to question us as we entered the meeting, and when challenged could not keep up a coherent story. They were incredibly curious to know what time the meeting finished, apparently to protect us from the 'local oiks'. As we left they were still there and from the pub across the street we saw them depart not long after, apparently the none existent blackout didn't trouble them anymore......

Police checking up on political meetings?? Harassment of the Stop the War organisation??

No.... NEVER

Really Fit said...

Police have also been known to approach places a day after they have hosted political meetings, to obtain CCTV showing those that attended.

There is a remarkable amount of time, effort and money that goes into keeping tabs on political activity.

Metcountymounty said...

You're inciting criminal damage, assault and arson, and wonder why political demos are being targeted so heavily for intelligence gathering by FIT teams?!?!? By the way, the Starbucks the other day that was petrol bombed? THE MANAGER WAS STILL INSIDE waiting for the boarding up company. How long is it going to be before one or more of these stupid fuckwits you're encouraging kills someone?

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone associated with fitwatch claimed to wonder why political demos are being targeted so heavily by FIT teams. From the very first post on this blog:

"However [FIT teams] know they’re having an effect and this is why they’re persisting. They get away with what they do because we let them."

Fighting Fit said...

MCM,

One person makes a comment on a blog, and you consider that is sufficient justification for FIT teams to target political demonstrations?

Of course where feelings run as high as they do about Gaza, there is the chance that disorder will occur. People are angry. There is a huge police presence to protect Israeli diplomats, but no protection from the 'civilised' western world for the children of Gaza.

Does such disorder justify the systematic documentation of everyone at the demonstration? Does it even justify the recriminations, the persecutions and possible imprisonment of those who were acting according to their conscience?

While the police use substantial resources to track down a few lads in hoodies throwing sticks, there is no effort at all from the British state to bring to justice those responsible for the atrocious war crimes that have been committed in Gaza. In the light of such inconsistency the law ceases to have any credibility.

For you, MCM, the world is simple - break the law and the police have every right to come after you. But the world is not that simple, and the police do not have a monopoly on justice.

Galway Races said...

MCM

You seem to be saying that more than a decade of forward intelligence team policing was building up to policing the Gaza demonstrations - and, I might add, not policing them particularly well. It would be one thing if the FIT only photographed demonstrations and recorded information where there was clear evidence in the public domain that there was planned disorder in the offing. However, as you well know (or ought to know well) John Stevens, in "Not for the faint-hearted" says it's MPS policy to film *every* demonstration. So please don't come out with bollocks about the FIT only being there to gather evidence when people have allegedly incited something - they'd be there anyway. You may be a policeman, but for someone apparently in the TSG a lot seems to pass you by.

FIT Watch said...

Firstly, for the benefit of the tape, I am not inciting anyone to do anything. I am merely expressing support for certain tactics, which is very different to actively encouraging them. The call specifically asks people to defend the militancy by helping the crowd remain anonymous.

Furthermore, Fitwatch is a fluid group and people get involved with Fitwatch for a variety of reasons. We have always said Fitwatch tactics can be as confrontational or as pacific as you wish. Fitwatch tactics exist separately from the blog. Posts written under the name Fitwatch on the blog, are personal contributions. They are reflective of the individual, and do not necessarily represent the opinions and views of people engaging in Fitwatch tactics.

I also wish to reiterate Fighting Fit's points that people should not be entered into a database for attending a protest – peaceful or otherwise – and that it is clearly ridiculous to justify a massive data gathering exercise on thousands as a people because of what one person has written on a blog.

However, the main problem I have with FIT on a personal level is that they have tried force myself, and others, off the streets (and I know several cases where this has been effective). There are two roles within FIT – the general surveillance of crowds/mass data gathering, and the close surveillance of known people.

FIT policing, right from its inception, has been about deterrent. The form this deterrent takes, has now been officially confirmed as “harassment style policing”. Through wrongful arrests and assaults; following people home with their children and repeated barbed and derogatory comments, they try to wear people down. Well, I'm sick of being worn down, and I'm sick of seeing my friends go through it. It is not justifiable or proportionate to do this to people just for holding political beliefs, and I intend to oppose it in away I can.

Anonymous said...

I see that the Met have been rather economical with the truth about the number of violent crimes they've detected in London:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7843858.stm. This sort of 'miscounting' seems to be extended throughout the MPS, where the estimates for numbers at demos have been laughably wrong for decades. The culture of 'miscounting' which seems to have become well established at the Met appears to have extended throughout the force, as we've seen in several FIT court cases, including one famous example where PC 127EK Palfrey had great difficulty reconciling the evidence of his senses with the evidence of a police video.

There's no doubt that this culture of (for want of a better word) lying extends to CO11, whose intelligence reports routinely include malicious and bizarre allegations about what demonstrators plan.

Anonymous said...

@Metcountymounty

"You're inciting criminal damage, assault and arson"

Praising something which has already happened no incitement, there is offence of Glorifying Criminal Damage, as yet.

Anonymous said...

"Mask up from the beginning of the demo."

Saturday 17th @ Israeli Embassy:
Police snatched masked youths without provocation and searched them (removing outer clothing - scarfs, jackets, hoods etc) under Section 44.

I imagine this gave the FIT the perfect shots they wanted of the youngsters in question.

Op Ute said...

On 10 January a march left Speakers Corner for the Israeli Embassy. Police believe there were between 15 - 20,000 people taking part. An initial attempt to breach security at the north gate of Kensington Palace Gardens resulted in police coming under attack from a small group of protestors throwing sticks and stones. The gate and nearby street furniture were also damaged. In front of the Embassy itself officers came under a sustained three-hour attack from a group who were intent on breaching police security barriers. People hurled metal barriers, sticks and stones at officers.

Four shops had their windows smashed and people attacked police vehicles. Starbucks was looted and people used items they had stolen to then throw at police. Twenty-four people were arrested on the day; detectives are now seeking at least twenty people for offences including serious violent disorder. CCTV and material taken by specialist evidence gatherers is now being reviewed by the team.

http://cms.met.police.uk/news/appeals/appeal_to_trace_demonstration_crime_suspects