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On April 20 2012 Emi Gratton the German Activist who was tasered during the Dale Farm Eviction finally had his electronic tag removed. For the last six months since his arrest Emi had been forced to wear a tag on his ankle, live under a curfew and have severe and often ridiculous restrictions placed upon his freedom to travel. This hideous form of house arrest was finally lifted on friday when the case was held in Basildon Crown Court
Originally facing charges of A.B.H and violent disorder, (which some have said were trumped up to justify the overtly violent and aggressive behaviour of the police during the eviction). These charges were dropped in the final hearing after the prosecution decided to serve no evidence in relation to these charges as it emerged that the police had used an illegal I.D procedure and had lied in their statements. Although Emi was found guilty of threatening behaviour and given a 12 month conditional discharge, the judge decided to waiver the £105 court costs because he had been under a curfew for so long.
Emi is not the only activist who has recently been forced to wear the dashing grey accessory of the SENCO electronic tag. Earlier this year one very prolific but peaceful activist, recently fell foul to this system when he was arrested during the eviction at St Pauls's for refusing to do as the bailiffs said. This man was one of the last demonstrators to leave, perched upon the platform of pallets, he remained until the bitter end when he was forced to come down as a result of the dangerous actions of the bailiffs.
After being held in custody for over 30 hours this man was finally released although forced to wear a tag he was also given an 8pm curfew. This seemed rather an extreme punishment for someone who had not committed any criminal act and had only chosen to ignore the instructions of the bailiffs. This though was not the first time this individual had taken Non-Violent Direct Action, a serial activist, he also took part in the Occupy Oil day of action, (February 8 2012)where he helped close a petrol station in Pimlico for over six hours by occupying the roof with two other demonstrators. For which he is on bail charged with aggravated trespass. Neither of these charges involve any criminal damage or violent behaviour. This draconian punishment would seem more likely in an oppressive regime such as Russia or Burma, not the home of Democracy that England pretends to be.
For although not quite house arrest or imprisoned, this man must surely qualify as a political prisoner this restriction upon his liberty was extreme; and for why? because he chose to take action and very visibly demonstrated his beliefs. The use of a tag would appear to me to be a grave infringement of ones civil and human rights. And these case should be highlighted so that we are all aware of just what measures the police are prepared to take to stop any challenge to their authority and any disruption of corporate interest..
The first court hearing on the 7 March led to the removal of his tag, although the court directed that he must sleep at home every night. This decision coincided with the comments of the Director of Public Prosecutions who earlier that week stated that demonstrators who set up street occupations or disrupt businesses should escape criminal charges if the protest is mainly peaceful, which may have influenced the decision to remove the tag.
The mainstream media were suitably outraged by these comments but this statement is so important and does try to recognise the rights of the individual to disagree with the status quo and like the man above stand up for their beliefs. Unfortunately at the opposite end of the spectrum we have Richard Dodd of the British Retail Consortium who warned that these rules should not allow demonstrators to disrupt business. Stating that
‘There is a clear difference between a peaceful protest and one which is preventing people from trading,’ ‘It is very important that the law protects people who are trying to get on with business.’
And so one asks the question in the struggle for our rights, our freedom and our right to protest are we really gonna lie back and let big business continue to over-ride are wishes, the police are already the servants of the co-orpoations , uninterested in proper police work of solving crimes and catching criminals, They leap at the opportunity to control us and chastise us for any mis-demeanor, the tools they have on the streets grow deadlier everyday and unless we stand together and act peacefully upon our beliefs then pretty soon we may find ourselves without the basic rights that we so flippantly flaunt.
Hundreds of anti-capitalistas confront an overwhelming police presence in London as part of a pre-emptive strike against the G8 summit
More updates from Calais No Borders Network
In solidarity with 235 Sussex University workers whose jobs are threatened with privatisation, protesters from around the country converge on Sussex University's campus (alread site of an ongoing occupation), invade management HQ and make a bonfire out of corporate files.
A staggering five convictions out of the Met Police's largest ever mass arrest during the Olympic Opening Ceremony.
Despite reports from pro-Israel newspapers to the contrary, race war is not about to break out in front of Brighton's crappiest fizzy drinks seller.
Following evidence of cruelty against migrants submitted by solidarity activists, French police are under scrutiny from Defender of Rights.
For 25 years Golden Dawn were a marginal group that for the most attacked small left-wing and anarchist groups and sometimes would also go for immigrants. Until a few years ago they never measured more than 200 members. Up until recently they had one office. Now? They have forty-eight.
Murky goings on as Sussex fox-hunt fronted by ex-policeman attacks monitors and flouts the law.