None of the civil liberties concerns raised by activists and politicians in relation to the camp are addressed. In fact, the report praises the police for meeting one of their key objectives of “facilitating peaceful protest”, which is simply not true. Facilitating protest must include adherence to all human rights law, including the rights to privacy and freedom of expression. Stating that, during a protest which extended over several days, the police facilitated one march at the end of the week ignores all the civil liberties abuses which took place at the camp itself.
While no mention is made of the use of excessive violence by officers using batons strikes against peaceful protesters, the handwriting of officers is criticised, with fewer than 25% of all forms legible. However, instead of criticising the need for 8,000-plus searches, the report laments the fact there weren’t more details to put onto the police database. The fact details of thousands of protesters has been entered into a database is not examined, nor is the admission this information is disseminated to the Forward Intelligence Teams (Fits), and that people should not give the police personal details if they do not want to end up on such a database.
It’s such a fundamental demonstration of what’s going wrong in this country. Young people in particular care a great deal about environmental politics, and attended the Kingsnorth climate camp in large numbers – entirely peacefully. Not only did the police respond with represssion, intimidation and violence, but the report into their behaviour then whitewashes the entire affair. Not a word from elected representatives, indeed under Jacqui Smith the Home Office pursued climate protesters aggressively in public from then on. It’s yet another result of the way in which the Home Office manages everything – they develop a solution (aggressive policing against an increasing ‘climate protest threat’) without there even being a problem (Prove there’s a threat? You must be joking!). Then they try propaganda to justify their behaviour, but it’s always lies.
The next climate camp will take place between 27th August and 3rd September. I’d like someone who’s intending on going to get in touch please, and discuss how best to record the camp’s achievements and the inevitable police repression.