Thursday, 27 January 2011

Advice for anyone going to London on Saturday

Now, I'm no protesting expert (though one day I hope to be!) but I felt I should offer my two cent's worth on how anyone who has decided to make their way to London on Saturday to defend the welfare state, protect everyone's right to a free education and to protest against the imperialistic, capitalist state, can remain safe from the police's brutal tactics. This isn't going to be a long rant, just a few short tips that all of us need to take heed of in the interests of the movement and of our own safety. If anyone has anything to add, feel free to leave a comment on here or on my blog's Facebook group.

Wear black- Don't wear anything particularly distinctive; you don't want to give the police any way to identify you after the event, whether you are going out to engage in direct action or not- believe me, they will look for any excuse to find something to arrest you for, whether you've done something wrong or not. We want it to be a sea of black, so no-one can be identified.

Cover your face- Ditto to the above reason, wear a scarf around your face. Don't get sucked in to police and media propaganda which claims that only those who want to riot cover their faces. It is our right to our anonymity- not their right to demand to know who we are on a whim. We are INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY.

Prepare for all conditions- Unless you are immensely lucky, you will be kettled for 7, 8 or 9 hours, so dress for the cold and the wet. We will be doing more standing around than marching.

Giving your details- At previous protests, the police have demanded to see everyone's faces and photograph them before letting them leave kettles. While kettling is illegal, they have the guns and the power (for now!) so it would be unwise to make a martyr out of yourself in this regard; however, one thing they have no right to do (but will still try, mark my words) is get your name and address off you. Legally, you are not obliged to give them it, so don't, no matter how they treat you to try to get that information out of you.

Food and drink- As we will be kettled, it is important not to bring a massive drink (or masses of food- because they will make you need a drink). Only bring limited drink and only drink it when you really need to. If you run out, there will always be people sharing theirs- there have been on every single one of the marches I went on.)

Provocation- The police are looking for any excuse to brutalise and attack us; don't give them an excuse to do that. The fact that they have no right to doesn't matter in the slightest; they will. If a pig acts threateningly, don't rise to it. The whole point of kettling is to get a reaction from the crowd and to change the mood of previously peaceful gatherings; that is their order from above. The media will show footage edited to make it look like the police were responding to attacks rather than attacking first (just like they did in previous student protests and in the poll tax riots etc. etc. etc.) Don't give them ammunition.

I know many people reading this will know all of this, but I just wanted to do whatever I could to help keep people safe on Saturday. Have fun, good luck and let's show this government once again that the people of the world are against their regressive policies.


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