Tag Archives: olympics

Secret Diary of an Olympic Domestic Extremist

5 Feb

This post is by Netpol member Kevin Blowe of Newham Monitoring Project

Domestic-ExtremistAfter reports in June last year that Newham Monitoring Project, the east London community group I’ve been part of for over 20 years, was spied on during the 1990s by undercover Metropolitan police officers, I’ve wanted to find out if information about me is held on secret police databases. The Guardian reported estimates of up to 9000 people classified by police as potential ‘domestic extremists’ and so to find out if I’m one of them, I submitted a ‘subject access request’ under data protection legislation.

The Met were supposed to comply within 40 days but it has taken over six months and the intervention of the Information Commissioner’s Office to finally receive a response. If the details provided are complete, they confirm that the National Domestic Extremism Unit (NDEU), part of the Met’s SO15 Counter Terrorism Command, began logging my activities in April 2011 because I spoke at Netpol’s ‘Stand Up To Surveillance’ conference – ironically, an event debating the rise of unaccountable police intelligence gathering on protests and local communities.

Continue reading

UN criticises spycops, kettling and categorising protest as ‘domestic extremism’

25 Jan

human rightsmainakiai

UN Special Rapporteur on rights to freedom of assembly and association, Mr Maina Kiai, has delivered preliminary findings on the current state of UK protest and assembly. His full report will follow in the coming months. In researching his findings the Raporteur has consulted with a number of UK activist groups and NGOs, including Netpol, as well as visiting various state entities.

Initial findings of the Special Rapporteur included criticism of the use of embedded undercover officers such as Mark Kennedy to infiltrate groups engaged in direct action, and strongly condemn the recent decision by UK courts that targets of this practice should have their cases against the state heard in private. Continue reading

Critical Mass – Netpol criticise ‘disturbing ease’ by which Met felt able to kettle cyclists

6 Aug

On Friday 27th July, 182 cyclists were arrested by the Metropolitan police for straying too close to the Olympic venue. Netpol have been given a number of eye-witness accounts from participants in the Critical Mass which tell a highly disturbing story.

Those arrested were forced to tolerate poor conditions of detention, with some spending the entire night detained on a bus at Charing Cross, waiting to be booked into custody, without adequate access to water or toilet facilities. Some people were forced to spend an excessive amount of time in handcuffs, and access to legal representation and advice was patchy. All have also been subject to highly restrictive bail conditions, which in some cases have left people unable to work without breaching the conditions of their bail. Some have had to face a significant struggle to reclaim their own cycles.

But even more disturbing perhaps, was the disturbing ease by which the Metropolitan Police have felt able to carry out a strategy of mass arrest against a group of people whose primary offence appears to have been the act of cycling into East London. Continue reading

Newham council bans human rights legal observers from Olympic livescreen venue

31 Jul

A group of Newham Monitoring Project Community Legal Observer volunteers have been “banned” from entering Stratford Park, a site open to the general public who wish to watch the free Olympic livescreens, by security on the ground who apparently accused them of “making it easy for criminals and giving them tips” when giving out Stop and Search rights-information cards to members of the public. Continue reading

NetPol calls for evidence of abuse of police powers during this summer’s Olympics

27 Jul

The Security Games are almost upon us. This summer’s London Olympics sees the largest peacetime policing and security operation since 1945, with a budget that has soared to around £1 billion.

Between now and mid September, the Network for Police Monitoring (NetPol) and its member organisations are gathering evidence of the impact that this huge police, private security and military presence has on the right to freely protest and the right of communities who live near to Olympic events to go about their daily lives without interference.

Legal observers from NetPol members Green and Black Cross and Legal Defence Monitoring Group will be monitoring the policing of demonstrations and protests that take place over the next six weeks. In east London, NetPol member Newham Monitoring Project (NMP) is organising a pool of over 100 trained ‘community legal observers’ who will patrol in Stratford, Canning Town and the surrounding areas that are predominently poor, working class and the home of black and Asian communities. NMP is aiming to gather evidence of the misuse of sweeping police stop & search and dispersal powers, especially those targeting young people. Continue reading

Arrest without crime – the truth of a royal wedding overreaction

20 Jul

Repost from the Guardian, written by Hannah Eiseman-Renyard

The high court has ruled that 15 pre-emptive arrests were not unlawful, as the criminalisation of protest continues

On the day of the royal wedding I was arrested for a fictional breach of the peace. This week the high court has ruled that there was nothing unlawful about the police’s actions.

Four people in zombie fancy dress outside Belgravia Police stationI was in fancy dress on the day. That was it. One minute I was in a Starbucks near Soho Square with four other people who’d come for a zombie flashmob. Four hours later I emerged from a police cell with handcuff marks still visible on my wrists. If it can happen to a boring, middle-class white girl like me, it can happen to anyone.

The Metropolitan police decided the gathering (an alternative celebration organised by Queer Resistance) was a demonstration against the royal family – therefore we were arrested. I had come to Soho Square to report on the flashmob for a friend’s zombie blog. I had no political aims whatsoever – but it seems the police’s assumptions about my politics were grounds enough to arrest and detain me until the public celebrations were over. Continue reading

Does No-one REALLY Want To Protest At The Olympics

12 Mar

Re-post from Random Blowe

Last Friday, the Metropolitan police assistant commissioner and national Olympic security co-ordinator, Chris Allison, told the Guardian that his officers are monitoring Twitter and other social media for signs of disorder and, in particular, for organised protest, but that “there doesn’t appear to be anyone who wants to protest against the Games”. This seems like a pretty bold statement to make when there have been demonstrations of one kind or another in every previous Olympic host city. And even if Allison is at least partly right and no-one ‘appears’ to want to protest, is anyone wondering why so little has been formally announced, with just over four months to go before the opening ceremony?

It is undoubtedly the case that critical voices opposing the impact of the Olympics have been fairly weak and disjointed, so the underlying local unease and resentment that many of us are aware of has hardly registered amid the relentless cheerleading from the London Organising Committee and the corporate sponsors. However, speaking to people I work with locally, even those who are generally enthusiastic about the Games, this growing unease results from fears about the level of Olympic security and what it will mean in practice. I live just a mile away from the Olympic Stadium and it does seem less like an event we are actively part of and more like something about to crash-land on us at any moment. For example, the imminent presence of large numbers of armed police Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: