Get Red Pepper's email newsletter. Enter your email address to receive our latest articles, updates and news.

×

Kettling police powers

Kevin Blowe invites you to a conference on defending our fundamental liberties during the Olympics and beyond

May 6, 2012
3 min read


Kevin BloweKevin Blowe is a community centre worker and activist in Newham, east London.


  share     tweet  

This weekend, with Olympics organisers testing preparations for the 2012 Games, LOCOG chair Sebastian Coe has been forced yet again to promise that London will not turn into a ‘Siege City’. Plans to deploy surface-to-air missiles on residential buildings in east London are just one part of the gradually emergence of a huge security operation during the Olympics, with policing having the greatest impact on local residents and anyone planning to protest against sponsors like BP or Dow.

The media is starting to wake us to the potential consequences of the capital’s lockdown: over the last ten days, because I have been writing about Olympic security, I have had numerous requests for interviews and comment from journalists all over the world. However, describing what we can expect from the largest police deployment in London since the Second World War is all very well, but the real question is what can we do in practice to protect the fundamental liberties of both protesters and local working class communities living on the doorstep of the Games?

This is why an event on 20 May at the Bishopsgate Institute in London is one of the most important in the weeks preceding the start of the Olympics. The ‘Kettling Police Powers’ conference is organised by the Network for Police Monitoring – which brings together activist groups like Climate Camp’s legal team and Green & Black Cross with community organisations such as Newham Monitoring Project. It will provide campaigners, lawyers and others working at the sharp end of challenging unlawful, violent, racist or excessive policing with a chance to discuss the impact of London’s new ‘Total Policing’ concept and what that will mean this summer.

Speakers include Alfie Meadows (who was struck on the head with a police baton during December’s student protests), Marc Vallee (one of the founders of the ‘I’m A Photographer Not a Terrorist’ campaign) and Rob Safar (one of the Fortnum & Mason 145 defendants), as well as the experienced lawyers Simon Natas and Kat Craig. Most importantly, the conference will enable activists to debate how to best respond to the most draconian, heavy-handed policing operation we have ever experienced.

I hope as many people as possible can attend. To register, visit the Network for Police Monitoring website.


Kevin BloweKevin Blowe is a community centre worker and activist in Newham, east London.


Meet the frontline activists facing down the global mining industry
Activists are defending land, life and water from the global mining industry. Tatiana Garavito, Sebastian Ordoñez and Hannibal Rhoades investigate.

Transition or succession? Zimbabwe’s future looks uncertain
The fall of Mugabe doesn't necessarily spell freedom for the people of Zimbabwe, writes Farai Maguwu

Don’t let Corbyn’s opponents sneak onto the Labour NEC
Labour’s powerful governing body is being targeted by forces that still want to strangle Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, writes Alex Nunns

Labour Party laws are being used to quash dissent
Richard Kuper writes that Labour's authorities are more concerned with suppressing pro-Palestine activism than with actually tackling antisemitism

Catalan independence is not just ‘nationalism’ – it’s a rebellion against nationalism
Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte argue that Catalonia's independence movement is driven by solidarity – and resistance to far-right Spanish nationalists

Tabloids do not represent the working class
The tabloid press claims to be an authentic voice of the working class - but it's run by and for the elites, writes Matt Thompson

As London City Airport turns 30, let’s imagine a world without it
London City Airport has faced resistance for its entire lifetime, writes Ali Tamlit – and some day soon we will win

The first world war sowed the seeds of the Russian revolution
An excerpt from 'October', China Mieville's book revisiting the story of the Russian Revolution

Academies run ‘on the basis of fear’
Wakefield City Academies Trust (WCAT) was described in a damning report as an organisation run 'on the basis of fear'. Jon Trickett MP examines an education system in crisis.

‘There is no turning back to a time when there wasn’t migration to Britain’
David Renton reviews the Migration Museum's latest exhibition

#MeToo is necessary – but I’m sick of having to prove my humanity
Women are expected to reveal personal trauma to be taken seriously, writes Eleanor Penny

Meet the digital feminists
We're building new online tools to create a new feminist community and tackle sexism wherever we find it, writes Franziska Grobke