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Report condemns policing of Gaza demos

Fitwatch | 10.02.2010 13:57 | Palestine | Repression

The Islamic Human Rights Commission today released a damning report of the policing of the Gaza demonstrations in December 08 and January 09.

The report highlights the unnecessary and brutal use of force by the Metropolitan police as well as the practice of crushing protesters into protest 'pens' and the discriminatory treatment of Muslim protesters. There are very many documented instances of police violence.

The report also heavily criticises the use of Forward Intelligence Teams. It states that:

"there was an obvious and extensive presence of FITs. On occasion, IHRC observers noted that visibly Muslim activists were closely studied; for example, an IHRC volunteer had to give her details, as she was video recorded for selling merchandise. She claimed that members from other organisations were not harassed for selling their merchandise. Moreover, she claims that FIT members dealt with her in an aggressive and intimidating fashion."

"Subsequent to the BBC protest in Trafalgar Square (24 January 2009), a group of pro-Palestinian protesters were surrounded, cornered into a side street (near the theatre in Leicester Square) and made to line up against the wall. Each protester was ‘meticulously’ video-recorded and photographed. Pictorial evidence clearly depicts this scene and a witness stated that members of the pro-Palestinian contingent were made to say something in front of the camera."

"IHRC is concerned that FITs may be overreaching powers granted by virtue of section 50 PRA. Furthermore, IHRC expresses disquiet over reports of harassment and house raids of those who had provided the MPS with personal details for the duration of the London Gaza demonstrations."

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