Rikki – Indymedia | At around 1.30 this afternoon, a community support officer started hassling Aqil Shaerer who is a pro-Palestinian protestor associated with Brian Haw and often around Parliament Square. It is unclear what grounds they had for this. Brian became involved and explained to them that Aqil was part of his authorised demonstration. Two more CSO officers became involved, but then they all left.
A short while later a police van arrived and they immediately homed in on Brian, claiming that he was harassing them. Before anyone realised what was happening, one of the youngest of the cops kicked Brian’s legs from under him, wrestled him to the ground and handcuffed him behind his back.
In years of dealings with the police, Brian has never ever been violent towards them, although he has suffered at their hands on many occasions, including a very violent and pre-meditated attack by a TSG officer, U1019, on the 12th January this year.
Rear handcuffing is normally reserved for violent offenders, or is sometimes used where police have no knowledge of the person arrested and cannot guarantee their safety. of course, neither situation relates to Brian Haw.
Brian was manhandled into the police van, and the police waved jauntily at protestors as they drove him away to belgravia police station.
At first the custody officers told supporters brian was being held for ‘disorderly conduct’ but when his solicitor, Maggie Peters from Bindmans, became involved, they said he was being held for a section 5 public order offence. They allege that he had shouted at a passing vehicle “get a job you fat bastard”. This seems quite unlikely, and the only witness the police appear to be relying on is one of their own policemen. They admit the passer-by has not made any complaint.
Section 5 is not an imprisonable offence and can in fact be dealt with by a fixed penalty notice. Despite this, police have now held brian for more than four hours.
There seems to be a sinister pattern emerging. recently, the parliament square protestors have launched legal challenges against the police and courts, and these have taken the form of lodging judicial reviews at the high court, and adding “addendums” as new events occur. Each time something is lodged, within a matter of days, the police target one of the protestors at the square, violently arrest them and then hold them for a disproportionate time. It just this friday that Brian Haw and Barbara Tucker lodged a new addendum to their judicial review at the high court, detailing recent legal travesties for judicial consideration. Within two days this new outrage has been perpertrated.
There is much talk of the repeal of socpa, but in the meantime, the war against the Parliament Square peace camp is continuing. It is clear the authorities will stop at nothing to harass and intimidate the peaceful protest which was the original reason for the socpa law. Two and a half years after the introduction of socpa the protestors are still there, and I think this is the real reason socpa may be withdrawn. It has failed in its primary purpose, and the authorities are looking for any other ways to be rid of the ‘Brian problem’.