(student activist and aspiring journalist) whinges to CiF about the Met Police’s ‘Send a letter to a protester’ initiative:
The night before 30 November, I considered joining the rally in central London. I hadn't been on a protest since being arrested last year at the student protest at Millbank.
Oh? And what were you arrested for?
I was one of the last people to enter the building that day, and I was curious: my passion for nonviolent direct action and a journalistic nose made me go in. We took the lift to the roof, I filmed and tweeted away, and after 10 minutes decided that it was probably best to leave. By then, however, the police had put the building on lockdown and started making arrests.
Ah. Right. Aggravated trespass. Hope you think it was worth it?
Could I finally move on? It doesn't seem like it. Exactly a year on, I received my first letter from the Metropolitan police reminding me not to involve myself in any "criminal or antisocial behaviour".
Most of us don’t need
telling. They must have thought you a special case...
I ran upstairs to read it. The words were the same as the last one, but this time I found the repeated initiative to be intimidating and sinister. The letters thankfully came in plain envelopes and didn't have a logo on them – had they seen it, my parents would have been very upset. I put them through a lot while I was on bail, and they have been scared ever since. The last thing they need is a reminder of those dark times.
Don’t they have one every time they look at you?
Will I receive them every time there is an anti-cuts protest? For the rest of my life? What if my political opinions change one day?
I’d be astounded if they did.
I wonder if the Met send letters to members of the EDL every time they rally, telling them not to cause racial aggravation or commit a crime?
I doubt it, they
never pose the same horrendous threat of disorder, do they?
How much money are they wasting on these letters? Even with a first-class stamp, they didn't make it in time to scare protesters off. What is the point? After being arrested, I am naturally more cautious. I definitely do not go out of my way to make trouble.
Good! Working as intended, then. I don’t begrudge them the stamp…
I just want to get on with my life, and be able to protest without intimidation.
protest. You can’t commit aggravated trespass. There’s a difference
I just wish I could get myself removed from this database. The crime I committed is subjective, depending on your beliefs. But I don't deserve to get these letters intimidating and scaring me from my right to protest.
Yes. Yes you do. Because you don't seem able to separate the right to peaceful protest from the chance to run wild smashing up public and private property, clearly...
Oh you are so judgemental. Poor little Farah the student activist and aspiring journalist is quite obviously one of the born virtuous.
Whatever she does is acceptable unlike those who would oppose her who are evil phobes.
XX I was one of the last people to enter the building that day, and I was curious: my passion for nonviolent direct action and a journalistic nose made me go in. XX
Aye, RIGHT laddie. And my Aunty is the Pope of Tibet.
A student activist, eh? Hmmm, is this 'stoodentspeak' for causing trouble?
How about being an activist in your studies, and leave it at that?
As for aspiring journalist slant, sorry but the Gruntiad and the Indedull are full of useless twits already. Try the Beeb if you want a job. One such as foreign correspondent in Nastystan would be good.
"Whatever she does is acceptable..."
Sadly, that does indeed seem to be what we are teaching so many young people.
"Aye, RIGHT laddie. And my Aunty is the Pope of Tibet."
She's a lassie, but yes, you're correct!
"A student activist, eh? Hmmm, is this 'stoodentspeak' for causing trouble?"
Yup! See Jody MacIntyre for further evidence. Not to mention everyone's favourite, Laurie Penny.
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