Monthly Archives: January 2012
Today I went to Soho Square in order to get some footage of a Zombie Party that was meant to be happening there. When I arrived I noticed how empty the place nearly was. There were more police then press and more press then the Zombies. It became clear after a while that many people were being prevented from getting to Soho Square. I saw people dressed as Zombies held for long periods on Oxford Street and around 30 police officers were waiting around one corner while a group of 20 waited at another corner. It looked like anyone who was wearing fancy dress was being detained and it appeared that arrests were being made has the people never did arrive at Soho Square which was just around the corner. It looked like anyone who was wearing fancy dress was being detained and it appeared that arrests were being made has the people never did arrive at Soho Square which was just around the corner.
I was not able to find an internet cafe to upload my memory card so I made my way back to Soho Square where I spoke with the BBC reporter to explain this problem. He arranged for me to go to British Broadcasting House in Regent Street and gave me directions. I noticed that two police officers at Soho were following me. They had seen me speaking with the BBC reporter before I left. When I got within 1 minute of the BBC on Regent Street I saw a police van stop and two officers looking at me while they ran over. I turned on my camera and started recording. This appeared to anger one of the officers who grabbed my left arm while other officers arrived and grabbed hold of my other arm. I was told it was a Section 60 stop and search. At this point both my arms were being held and then another officer ripped my camera from my hand. After some time I was arrested for suspicion of handling a stolen credit card which was my card with my name on it. When I arrived at West End Central I was informed by a police officer that this is where they took the Kray’s brothers. Whilst in the station I noticed some faces that I recognized from Soho Square. It took some time for the duty sergeant to process me through but once he was done I was taken to have my photos taken. I then had to go for another set of photos with a lady.
She must have been bored because she had a few reading books and magazines on the desk. I was then taken to the fingerprint machine and had all my prints taken. Once my fingerprints had been taken I was made to suck on a cotton bud until it turned blue. I then had my DNA taken. The results of the drugs test was ready. It was an obvious negative and the officer seemed pleased with the result. Before the arrest I had told the officers that this was my card. I also explained that I was fully aware of my rights and asked the officers if I was obliged to answer their questions. “you do not have to provide the officer with your name and address.” – Met Police Website. I was released without charge and without caution and made my way back to British Broadcasting House on Regent Street. After all this I made my way back to Soho Square but could not see anyone from before. It looked like a different place.
Seeing the police had grabbed one person for no apparent reason and were lining three of the four exits to Soho Square, the five who had been in Soho Square for a zombie flashmob, decided to leave the area as they may be about to be kettled. They went to a Starbucks on the corner of Oxford Street to get away and have a coffee, but from here they were stopped and searched under Section 60, and then arrested for ‘breach of the peace’.
Having been illegally detained after their stop and search was over, the Starbucks Zombies are arrested by a different group of police officers who were brought in to affect the arrest. As you can see none of the police officers were quite clear on the reasons for the charges and mostly looked embarrassed.
Another of the Starbucks Zombies speaks to Mary Hamilton about her ordeal. She would like the clarify that the powers were Section 60, not Section 16. She also wishes to retract her statement about people “clearly antagonising” the police. “I have since seen footage from up close of what actually happened. From across the square we could just see people getting wound up and loud, and we knew it’d be smart to get out of there fast.”
In Soho Square one anarchist was snatched (and presumably arrested) by plainclothes police officers who did not announce themselves or give reason for his detention. In this video it is clear to see that he was not doing anything illegal. The cameraman was assaulted and then prevented from leaving Soho Square.
The Charing Cross 10 are stopped and searched. At 57 seconds the member of the British Transport Police states “the Met have been going ’round, rounding up people for the royal wedding, to make sure there’s no problems.” They then ask for the protestors’ details. When the protestors refused, as they were completely within their rights to do, the British Transport Police used Section 60 powers to stop and search them.
The Charing Cross 10 – who remained peaceful throughout – after their stop and search, were kettled by police officers and TSG (territorial support group, also known as riot cops) ‘to prevent a breach of the peace’ and were then wrestled to the ground (assaulted) then arrested.