Sunday, August 17, 2008

UK authoritarianism


I mentioned the National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit (apparently a QUANGO- not even an accountable government body) in relation to their pocket guide for policing the Climate Camp protest. Well, awesomely enough, Wikileaks has posted a copy the guide.

Its rather alarming to hear a legitimate protest being policed in a manner that treats those protesters as "extremists". I'm no lawyer but to my mind the climate campers had the power of rationality heavily on their side, as opposed to the government or E.On. True, they had made clear their intentions to shut down the power plant through direct action but that's hardly akin to firebombing people's homes or bodysnatching. The police were by far the most confrontational and provocative element at the protest and even deployed anti-terrorist legislation to stop and search people when they were clearly not terrorists.

Anyway, the powers and offences listed int he booklet are incredibly broad, ranging in target from "public processions" (A procession consists of two or more people who are together with a common purpose and are in motion) to "being threatening, abusive or insulting in a way likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress" (eg. Display[ing] any writing or sign or visible representation which is threatening or abusive or insulting). If that's the case then this blog falls heavily under those terms as it is intended to offend and insult the thugs and oiks who create and enforce such bullshit legislation.

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