As we go to press the cops have put out the first “rogues gallery” for March 26th . By the time you read this we expect the total of arrests to have risen sharply from the 201 on the day. Operation Brontide is headed by Detective Chief Superintendent Matthew Horne who is also heading Operation Malone the investigation into the student demonstrations at the end of last year. It is also noteworthy that the photographs are numbered between 1 and 30 suggesting at least 12 other people are already known to the investigation.
Of those arrested on the day 145 are connected to Fortnum and Masons, 138 are charged with aggravated trespass and seven on police bail. Those charged with aggravated trespass are a mixture of section 68 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, namely intentionally disrupting lawful activity while trespassing and section 69, refusing to leave when ordered by a constable who reasonably believes you are committing section 68.
The 56 arrests elsewhere break down to 40 on police bail 2 released without charge 3 people accepted cautions for Criminal Damage. 11 people have been charged, most minor but one with violent disorder who is on remand. Comrades in Glasgow and the Anarchist Black Cross are getting in touch and we will of course let readers know if he requests support. Over 100 people attended the defendants meeting a week later and a campaign is likely to emerge
There is also a case from Friday related to the March under the Explosive Substances Act 1883. Knowledgeable comrades will recall that this Act was brought in on the back of anti-anarchist hysteria in the press. Check the website for the latest on this case particularly as to whether the Attorney General has given consent for the prosecution to go ahead. Without full details we can’t say much but it’s not likely to be the second coming of the angry brigade. As the old joke goes “No one was hurt, nothing got damaged and responsibility was claimed by a moderate group.”
Now for the Tsunami alert. When the Sea suddenly goes away it’s time to head for higher ground On the 26th the cops stood back and let a lot of stuff happen. They have not been strategically bamboozaled by innovative new activist tactics and they were not at full stretch at any point in the day. They are playing politics. So after the vibrant and dynamic demonstration on March 26th we can guess that Tim Godwin the Acting Commissioner and Bob Broadhurst head of Public Order have been to see the Home Secretary. After watching a few video clips together, perchance the flaming barricades on Jermyn Street and Haymarket and if audio is available the rousing chants of “fuck the royal wedding” from so many of ‘Er Maj’s erstwhile loyal subjects, the question will be “Well Ma’am for April 29th more softly softly laid-back, hands off, facilitate the right to protest policing?” You have been warned.
Article originally appeared in Freedom #7207
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