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Disobedience at Edgware Road and use of Section 44

rikki | 21.03.2003 16:02

A small group of activists and sambaists met at 7am this morning intent on obstructing the main Marylebone flyover into London. Section 44 of the Terrorism Act was misused by police.

The action called by "Disobedience" didn't attract enough people that early in the morning and only about thirty people turned up including some members of the Rhythms of Resistance samba band.

They decided to try anyway, and first attempted to shake off the waiting police vans by running down a slip road into oncoming traffic. For a short time a banner was succesfully unfurled across the main road, and traffic was stopped, but three cop vans tore up the slipway (against the traffic) and swiftly dragged the few demonstrators away from the road.

While they were being searched and names and addresses were being asked for supposedly under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act, some sambaists managed to block the traffic further up the flyover for several minutes, causing a huge instant tailback.

As police approached, they tailed it over the other side of the flyover and back towards the station, but reinforcements vanned it round and again, thorough searches and requests for name and address were made. Those that held out were allowed to leave without giving details, tho most folk were thoroughly searched.

Does anyone know the legal position of all this? Can a Section 44 be called at any time by police officers - does a certain rank have to do it?

I'm aware the Home Secretary has placed a Section 44 over the whole of Wiltshire and Gloucestershire for 28 days. This allows police to search anyone without suspicion, but I'm not aware of it giving them the right to take details. Can anyone clarify this?

After the action, there were plans to reconvene at King's X for another go, and groups set off on different routes with cops following on tubes, buses and by road.

When we met up with the cops at King's X we'd lost some of the group anyway, so we staged a sit-in in a local cafe instead.

Many more are expected for the Old Street blockade later today, but I must admit, I'm not sure how stopping people getting home is going to do a lot for the anti-war movement, or disrupt business.



Display the following 4 comments

  1. Yeah.. — Gavin
  2. were was everybody? — phatpat
  3. Where were you? — phatpat
  4. Section 44 — ????