Unlawful, repressive and disproportionate policing at Kingsnorth Climate Camp

After the Kingsnorth Climate Camp in August last year I heard that the police had been in overwhelming numbers and that there had been some “clashes” with the protestors. But I could never imagine how ruthless the actions from the UK police actually were against the peaceful and legal protestors until I saw this video:

Earlier this month Lib Dem MP David Howarth held a press conference in Westminster to present a “highly disturbing and potentially explosive report” about how the police in the UK turning into a police state by “criminalising legitimate protest”.

“The report, produced by the Climate Camp's legal support team and entitled
Policing of the Kingsnorth Climate Camp: Preventing Disorder or Preventing Protest?
, is devastating for the police.

It documents a concerted campaign by police to deter, smear, intimidate, harass, and criminalise UK citizens who did nothing more than attempt to exercise their right to peaceful protest in the name of an important cause. The following film accompanies the report and fully conveys the extent of the scandal.”

The report came to the conclusion that the police had use “unlawful, repressive and disproportionate” force against the protestors and residents in Kingsnorth. For example was protestors and local resident’s property seized on a large scale:

“Property was seized on a scale previously unheard of and in a manner designed to obstruct and undermine the very existence of the Camp and intimidate attendees.”

In the video above a little kid is being interview. He said that the police confiscated his crayons because he could “commit a crime with crayons”:

"They took my crayons because apparently they said you can draw on banners and that you can, um, commit a crime with crayons."

The report also notes that the police used “sleep deprivation and psychological operations” against the protestors:

“Sleep deprivation and psychological operations were used, involving frequent dawn raids, low flying helicopters at night, false alarm massing of police officers and vans, and early morning wake up calls with loud music playing ‘Flight of the Valkyries’, ‘Hi de Hi’, duck and dog noises, and ‘I fought the law and the law won’.”

Since the Climate Camp campaign started in 2006 not a single protestor has ever been convicted of any violent offence. Yet, the report notes, the legal and peaceful camp “continues to experience disproportionate and repressive policing”.

The report also cast light on a deliberate attempt to “deflect criticism through misinformation” from the UK Government and the police:

"Government justified the heavy-handed approach by revealing that 70 police officers had been injured policing the protest; but a freedom of information request revealed that these 'injuries to police' included such things as heatstroke, toothache and insect bites. Vernon Coaker, the Home Office minister who had made the claim about police injuries, was later forced to apolgise to the House and admit that "there were no recorded injuries to police officers sustained as a result of direct contact with the protestors."

The police operation at the Kingsnorth Climate Camp ended at a cost of £5.9 million and involved 1,500 officers from 26 forces.

Is the climate crisis turning democratic governments into police states who foolishly try to protect corporate and political interests, instead of trying to solve the real problems? What do you think? Unfortunately I think we will see more brutal police force, against protestors and climate change refugees, in a near future when the effects of climate change become more and more prominent in our societies.

Read more:

- Meet the new Britain: just like the old one where green protesters are spied on

- Why protesters are now stalkers


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Simon Leufstedt
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Guest shigzeo

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Cory Doctorow writes of much the same issue in Little Brother, but it is based in USA - what to me was a science fiction story. This news broadcast is frightening. It proves one thing well: democracy is becoming little more than a byword toted by the biggest guns in our world as a method to deliver agendas. As the protest was legal and concerning a serious issue that Britain no less face than anywhere else, I am shocked. There is no case for an armed government unit to brute their way into the assembly of anyone who legally assembles. Even when defined as illegal, it often makes no sense.

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