In the UK, kettling was just ruled illegal.
One night last December, having already spent five hours trapped by the Metropolitan police in Parliament Square, I was imprisoned on Westminster Bridge along with 1,000 other mostly young protesters, in sub-zero temperatures, for more than two hours. We were held in such a tight space that some suffered respiratory problems and chest pains: the symptoms of severe crushing. This is kettling, and in its strategic brutality and unabashed doublethink, it is the perfect hallmark for the Cameron era.
In a landmark ruling, the high court ruled on Thursday that the Met's use of the tactic during 2009's G20 protests was illegal. Their wider use of kettling, common throughout this winter's student and anti-cuts protests, is currently being challenged at the European court of human rights. Despite the high court warning that it must only be used as a "last resort catering for situations about to descend into violence", the Met are unrepentant. "At the heart of this case," they responded, "lies a vital public order policing tactic that prevents disorder and protects the public." They will appeal against the high court ruling, and continue to use kettling "where necessary".
The practice is a prime example of collective punishment and as such violates the Geneva Conventions. Major human rights abuse, in other words.
We in Toronto are well aware of what human rights abuse looks like up close and personal. And now from the Star we learn that the abuse is ongoing.
Hundreds of citizens were documented by police in mostly non-criminal encounters during last year’s G20 summit — and their names and personal details still live on in an internal police database.
Over three days, more than 500 people were stopped, questioned and documented by Toronto police officers in key G20 patrol areas downtown and near a temporary jail location, according to a Toronto Star analysis of police contact card data obtained in a freedom of information request.
Police use the database as an investigative tool to connect people, places and times. For example, in the case of a homicide, detectives can enter a victim’s name and see who they associated with in the past — and where and when.
The level of “carding” was unusually high during the summit, which could be expected given the police presence.
And that, of course, was in addition to the largest mass arrest in Canadian history, along with assorted beatings, rubber bullets, mistreatment, and bubble-blowing.
Silver lining? For a change, the white folk were targetted.
In a 2010 series, the Star examined six years worth of city-wide contact card data and found that Toronto police document black people at a higher rate than whites.
This was not the case in downtown Toronto on summit weekend. In fact, the proportion of white people who were documented increased 27 per cent from the 2008 daily average.
There is soooo much we need to learn from this travesty.
Some of it is already known but we are NOT allowed to see it, because, ironically or idiotically, we are in the middle of choosing the next gang of corporate bought-and-paid-for flunkies to rule over us.
The least you can do is sign the damn petition urging the release of Auditor General Sheila Fraser's report. Nearly 69,000 people have signed since 11 a.m. Thursday morning.