Know Your Rights at Palestine Demo. History of Protestors Sentenced During Operation Cast Lead

*OLD NEWS ALERT* 2008-09 HUNDREDS OF PRO-PALESTINE PROTESTORS ARRESTED AND MOST END UP SERVING TIME

In 2008-09 many protestors demonstrated against another Israeli invasion of Gaza in London.
Tomorrow once again many protestors will demonstrate against ANOTHER Israeli invasion of Gaza in London…

Stop the War, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, British Muslim Initiative and the myriad of other organisations were ill prepared to defend the largely muslim and asian/arab/black protestors that were kettled against their will and attacked by the riot police on horseback mirroring the crusades. Protestors courageously defended themselves physically against police attacks – as is their right.There was a lack of police monitors/legal observers to observe and record the conduct of police and to distribute rights information cards (aka ‘bust cards’)

People were filmed by specialist evidence and intelligence gathering teams including the Forward Intelligence Team (FIT) and footage was examined for months after the protests to track down these protestors, kick down their doors, arrest them and serve many of them with notices that they were liable to be deported if convicted. Filming by journalists became riot porn as opposed to primarily serving to defend the protestors.

In the months that followed it emerged that around 200 protestors were charged with public order offences and then sentenced to custodial sentences.

All the protestors arrested and charged were muslim – with the exception of 3 that we were aware of. All of the protestors arrested and charged were Arab, Asian or Black (i.e. not white) – with the exception of 3 that we were aware of – and of those 3 one of the most severely treated was an East End actor that had converted to Islam.

Organisations of demonstrators collectively tried to defend themselves in the courts. One of those organisations – the Gaza Demonstrators Support Campaign – of which I was a founding member – was unable to defend the protestors in the courts as best as they could have done if monitors/legal observers had originally been on the demonstrations.

Almost all the protesters were convicted and sentenced severely. One protester that threw one plastic bottle at police after he claimed he was attacked by police was sentenced to 12 months in prison because of this act.

In 2010 and 2012 at Palestine demonstrations police monitors/legal observers were deployed and arrests were largely avoided. Where arrests occurred monitors responded rapidly and I personally.Tomorrow, again Stop the War, Palestine Solidarity Campaign, British Muslim Initiative and the myriad of other organisers are ill prepared to defend protestors and I am concerned about what the police might do.

Thankfully trained police monitors/legal observers from the Network for Police Monitoring – including myself, Green and Black Cross and Legal Defence and Monitoring Group will be watching the police and distributing rights information cards. [We need more monitors from our communities most affected by the policing!]

I urge you PREPARE. Do NOT wait until tomorrow! Do NOT wait until you get arrested!

‘Good people’, ‘innocent people’, ‘nice people’, ‘people that have that not-so-dark-oh-so-coveted-lovely-light-olive-coloured skin’ get beaten and arrested by the police on these demonstrations. Get ready… and Know Your Rights by reading below.

GOING TO A PALESTINE DEMONSTRATION IN UK TOMORROW?
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!

This might seem long and boring and a waste of your time but if I have taken my time to write it, then I suggest you take the time to read it!

1. WRITE THIS NUMBER DOWN ON YOUR PERSON/ON SOME PAPER – 07946 541 511 (greenandblackcross.org) – If you are ARRESTED and taken to the police station you have a right to call for free at the police station.

2. NOTE DOWN AND REMEMBER THESE CRIMINAL DEFENCE SOLICITORS’ NAMES AND NUMBERS JUST IN CASE YOU ARE ARRESTED. For trusted solicitors in your area looked at our Criminal Solicitors list (http://netpol.org/solicitors/)

For demonstration in LONDON:
a. ITN Solicitors 020 8522 7707
b. Hodge Jones and Allen 07659 111 192
c. Bindmans 020 7833 4433

d. birnberg Pierce & Partners 02079110166

3. REMEMBER your key rights:

A. AT THE DEMONSTRATION

i. If police ask you to STOP, you only have to stop if you are driving a motor vehicle (e.g. deenriders). You can ignore them if you are on foot.

ii. if police talk to you and ask QUESTIONS, remember you have a right to silence: say nothing and do not answer questions. Specialist intelligence gatherers will be on the demonstration – including seemingly friendly blue-bib-wearing ‘Police Liaison Officers’ – who are required to record all intelligence gathered on a database called CRIMINT. Don’t Feed the Feds – Don’t be on a database (cf. Our campaign at Netpol:http://netpol.org/campaigns/dont-be-on-a-database/)

iii. If police ASK you for your NAME AND ADDRESS, it is a request and you can REFUSE the request without committing any crime.

iv. If police say you are REQUIRED to provide your NAME AND ADDRESS, they are mistaken or lying UNLESS
(i) they want to REPORT you/SUMMONS you to court or serve you with a FINE (‘penalty notice for disorder’) because they have reasonable grounds (i.e. evidence) to suspect (i.e. think) that you have committed or are committing a crime that is minor e.g. littering or;
(ii) (without any reason required at all if) you are driving a motor vehicle (NB: you also must provide DOB)

v. If police ask you for your ID or FINGERPRINTS (even as a condition of leaving) you can refuse to provide them without committing a crime.

vi. If the police want to take a photo of you or film you they can, but you can COVER yourself up/put your hands on your face. In certain circumstances if an order is in place, they can require you REMOVE A FACE COVERING if they REASONABLY BELIEVE that it is intended to be used to conceal your identity. I would argue they cannot reasonably believe that a Niqab is being used for such purposes but rather for religious expression.

vii. If police KETTLE you (i.e. hold you and others in one place and prevent you from leaving or other people entering) then they CANNOT PLACE CONDITIONS ON you as a requirement of LEAVING e.g. say ‘you can leave if you let me take a photo of you’

viii. If the police say you cannot say chants or fly flags concerning HAMAS or HEZBOLLAH remember this: it is true that under the Terrorism act 2000, it is a criminal offence to be belong to or ‘PROFESS TO BELONG TO’ (s.11) or ‘INVITE SUPPORT FOR’ (s.12(1)) a proscribed terrorist organisation. It is also true that both Hamas and the Military wing of Hezbollah are proscribed terrorist organisations. However I have NEVER heard of a successful prosecution for chanting or flying a flag and this has been occurring a long time. Many people feature pictures of Hezbollah/Hamas on their facebook but I have not heard of successful criminalisation for this. ALSO HEZBOLLAH’S POLITICAL WING (including arguably political leader Hassan Nasrullah) are NOT a proscribed terrorist organisation.

ix. If the police try to place CONDITIONS on the protest that restrict your movement and numbers etc. under the Public Order act, remember that you can only be criminally punished for breaking the conditions IF they are COMMUNICATED TO YOU. If you think a police officer is trying to communicate conditions to you verbally or by giving you a leaflet, get away, put your fingers in your ears and do not take the leaflet. If you are in a crowd and an officer is trying to address you, start chanting to avoid hearing conditions. So don’t listen to and don’t read any conditions.

x. Unless you are DETAINED (i.e. held against your will in order for example in order to search you), you are free to LEAVE. If you are unsure whether you are detained, ASK ‘am I detained?’

xi. Watch out for Police with cameras and earpieces – Forward Intelligence Teams (with blue tabard hi vis on) – they are often up above near the embassy in the hotel. Although they are supposed to be visible they often conceal themselves. And let others know they are being filmed.xii. Watch out for establishment press. They will readily share footage with the police and when they put footage out on tv/online it is publicly accessible and therefore the police can use it to prosecute you.

xiii. Take notice of police movements. If they are starting to form lines they may be preparing to kettle protestors and you may want to consider leaving if you need to. If they are putting on more militarised equipment (‘riot gear’) then prepare.

ixx. If you are really stuck and unsure of your rights in a particular situation, consider calling 07946 541 511 (greenandblackcross.org). They will try to assist you if they can.

B. If you are ARRESTED

i. You have a right to SILENCE. Just say NO COMMENT.

ii. ALWAYS remain SILENT and REFUSE to answer questions, accept any charge/caution or sign any documents AT LEAST UNTIL you have spoken to a LEGAL ADVISER.

C. If you are arrested and taken to the POLICE STATION

i. You can PHONE both a FRIEND (07946 541 511 greenandblackcross.org) and a LEGAL ADVISER of YOUR CHOICE (i.e. those solicitors above are recommended e.g. ITN 020 8522 7707) FOR FREE.

ii. You have to a right to FREE LEGAL ADVICE from the legal adviser. Do NOT accept a DUTY solicitor. Exercise your right to CHOOSE to speak to one of the criminal solicitors above.

iii. You have a right to SEE A DOCTOR if you have injuries or feel ill.

iv. You have a right to ASK FOR AND READ THE PACE CODE OF PRACTICE which details your rights in custody.

v. If you APPEAR UNDER 17, an APPROPRIATE ADULT will be called

vi. Unfortunately the police CAN CHECK YOUR MOBILE PHONE has been reported lost or stolen, including scan the IMEI number and you are liable to charged with a further offence if you refuse.

vii. Unfortunately the police CAN TAKE YOUR FINGERPRINTS, DNA and YOUR PHOTO including by force and you are liable to be charged with a further offence if you refuse.

D. If you want to FILM the police

i. You have a right to film. You can film legally. Filming is NOT A CRIME and NOT TERRORISM in this context.ii. Read our Rough GUIDE at Netpol (http://netpol.org/2012/07/27/a-rough-guide-to-filming-the-police-during-a-stop-search/)

iii. consider my advice that will be included in our next update of the guide to filming. Most of you have and carry smartphone; if you have a SMARTPHONE with 3G internet connection, USE IT to film by downloading a LIVE STREAMING APP and set it to PRIVATE MODE. This will allow you to film and have the footage stored remotely so the police cannot delete it and it will deter them from trying to stop you. Film sparingly because your battery will drain doing this.

For further reading read our report at IHRC:http://shop.ihrc.org/policing-protest-and-conflict-a-report-into-the-policing-of-the-london-gaza-demonstrations-2008-09-adam-majeed

popo

By Taher Gulamhussein. Founding Member of the Gaza Demonstrators Support Campaign