Image via Anti-Fascist Network
Saturday saw the mass kettling and arrest of around 280 anti-fascist protesters who had gathered in Tower Hamlets to prevent the English Defence League’s march. As with other antifascist and other protests in recent years, the police used kettling for an extended period of time (in this case around 6 hours in several locations) before putting protesters on buses and sending people to police stations all around London and even outside (many protesters on Saturday were bused to Sutton in Surrey). Lawyer Matt Foot tweeted: ‘Struggling to think of the last time 260 people were arrested. Can the Met justify rounding up such a vast number?’
DTRTP condemn the use of kettling and blanket arrests - both of which are used to intimidate protesters, gather information and prevent legitimate protest. Those on bail from Saturday’s protest and other recent anti-fascist actions (May 27th in Whitehall for example) have bail conditions that prevent people attending further protests against the fascist threat. This is a clear sign of intimidation of anti-fascist protesters and plays into the hands of the fascists.
Five independent Legal Observers were also arrested at demonstration. The five were part of a team of 14 Legal Observers organised jointly by the Legal Defence and Monitoring Group (LDMG) and The Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers. This is a worrying indication of the indiscriminate use of mass arrests as a tactic to intimidate those concerned with police and rights abuses.
DTRTP call for an end to the use of kettling and to the blanket use of mass arrests, as well as to the broader criminalisation of protest, legal observers and protesters in general.
Thanks must be given to Green and Black Cross for their tireless support of arrestees, and other groups who are providing and offering legal advice and arrestee support (among others: Legal Defence and Monitoring Group, Netpol, South London Anti-Fascists, http://uaf.org.uk/)
If you have been arrested make sure you contact Green and Black Cross who are providing support for all those arrested.
A solidarity gig for those arrested has also been organised for Saturday 12th Oct, ULU: https://www.facebook.com/events/629637567066530/