Here not to protest, but to defend the right to protest

October 25, 2009

As tweeted, I have spent some time with climate campaigners. I hope the tweets gave a hint of the atmosphere. This is about why I was there, and why I will not be making a podcast about it.

Reports of heavy-handed policing of protests in 2008 and spring 2009 unfolded in mainstream media such as The Guardian and the BBC’s Panorama. Citizen journalists trickled out footage of police violence and absurd searches. I decided the best way to support peaceful protest and proportionate policing was to volunteer as a legal observer.

This does not mean I necessarily disagree or agree with Climate Camp. My goal was certainly not to help protesters break into a power station and shut it down. It was to make sure that they did not get beaten up.

I do Verdant Reports to find things out and tell people. But being a legal observer makes it impossible to do a good podcast. Firstly, I am busy. Secondly, I am only getting one side of the story. Thirdly, wearing the bright orange legal observer vest implies to everyone that I will not put what I am told on the internet.

There are lots of questions about the Ratcliffe-on-Soar protest and its policing. I hope someone else will get to the bottom of them.

Meanwhile, I hope the tweets gave a hint of the atmosphere and the variable supply of vegan cake.

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