Skip to content or view screen version

Police Behaviour at Bush protests - Better or Worse? No more anti-terror search

Jesse S. | 21.11.2003 03:46 | Bush 2003 | Repression | Terror War

In London, I haven't witnessed a single anti-terror search during the week of anti-Bush protests. Did the Liberty case in the High Court have an effect on the police tactics or was I just in the wrong places to witness the searches? If you were searched in London, please let Liberty know, since they lost the High Court case and are due to appeal it next year.

At the DSEi 2003 arms fair, I witnessed at least 8 anti-terror searches (one of which was actually a mile from the protest site). This past few days, I didn't see any anti-terror searches. If the police have actually stopped using the section 44 searches against protesters, that's great news!

As for other police behaviour, it didn't seem like much had changed. Police were certainly friendly to people marching at the Stop the War Demo, but variable to people at other things (such as the Resist Bush Tea Party).

I witnessed the tactic of "preventing a breach of peace containment" at Victoria, two arrests where the police were needlessly causing people a great deal of pain, a heavy handed snatch squad arrest attempt at Buckingham Palace, and massive, massive, massive numbers of police. It sounds as if there were 40-50 arrests in the past two days, but I only witnessed 2.

It would be great to have some comment to this post. I'm interested in knowing what kind of behaviour people have witnessed from the police. (and if people were searched - what powers were they searched under? -section 60, section 44, reasonable suspicion? Liberty is asking for information people who were searched or harrassed by the police during a protest (or witnessed this at the protests). They have provided an online form for people to fill in (you don't have to give your real name, but they ask that you provide details that will allow us to reach you later for validation.

Did people have any good/bad experiences with having Liberty's volunteer legal observer team on hand at some of the events?

About me: I'm normally a Legal Observer at NVDA events, but recently I've worked closely with Liberty on the DSEi Anti-terror searches High Court case. I'm not a volunteer for Liberty in any other capacity.

Regarding the Liberty High Court case about anti-terror searches. Their case was lost because they only had 25 anti-terror search receipts from people who attended protests in London. In order to win the appeal they will need more. Anyone who wishes to submit a receipt, should do so by post after filling in. Details are on the form that is downloadable at their website-

Alternatively, retain your police documentation, and fill in their online form.

Jesse S.
- e-mail:
- Homepage: