Bethany Shiner Says Police Kettling Is Illegal: To Fight It You Need More Protesters
MAYBE those rich kids can help the students after all? They are not berth blockers like Charlie Gilmour. Bethany Shiner was kettled by the Metropolitan Police. In response, she’s launching legal proceedings against Sir Paul Stephenson, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. Well, she and her dad are. Miss Shiner’s pa is Phil Shiner, leading light of Birmingham-based PIL, has an interest in “international, environmental and human rights law”. In 2004, Mr Shiner was Liberty’s “Human Rights Lawyer of the Year”. Bethany’s dad is on the case.
“The police are required to have a range of lawful responses to different scenarios and not just resort to the most coercive tactics at the first sign of trouble. The policy of kettling has to be struck down.”
He cites the European Convention on Human Rights. He says kettling is a breach of Article 5 – “the right not to be unlawfully detained; Article 10 – the right to freedom of expression; and Article 11 – the right to freedom of assembly.”
Kettling is a punishment. Cory Doctorow is right. If it is meant to stop any bother, then it is a failure, a collective punishment that legitimises the violent and riles those already stoked enough to protest. If you have genuine grievance, the police cracking down on protest just exacerbates the aggro.
And what is a demo but a polite game. You need to ask the very forces you are protesting against to allow your voice to be heard. The police and politicos will grant you the freedom of the streets and then strand you in one corner, like naughty boys to be seen and not heard.
The people are no longer the powerbase. We have no power. The elected elite are. They own us.
If your really want to protest, you need numbers. The police cannot kettle all that many people. The kettling is scary and off-putting. No-one sane wants to stand in the cold in the company of bog-eyed nutters and a monocular, tooled-up police force that no longer represents you. But if you want change you need to take the other angle: you need to be committed and encourage others to join in.