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  • Writer's pictureBen Westwood

What really are some of the unjustified consequences of getting arrested at a demonstration?

One memory that has played on my mind for many years and resurfaces from time to time is one of getting arrested at sixteen years old at the 2002 Mayday demonstrations in London.

I'd not actually been arrested whilst at the demonstrations, but on my way home afterwards after stopping for a rest on Whitehall in which after having a police officer seeming to take an instant dislike to me and breathing down my neck I was arrested for Public Order - Alarm, Harass and Distress after standing up and saying to the police officer "Why the f**k are you treating me like a piece of s**t?"

So, off into a police van I went where I was booked into the police station. (More info in the Youtube video below) But having not attended Hammersmith Youth Court on the next day, a month later I was picked up by two plain clothes CID that drove me directly to the court. In the video below, I explain how I found it bizarre that despite getting arrested on my way home from the demonstrations the solicitor had pulled out a video tape of the police filming me from the very start of the demonstration and what seemed at the time quite a lot of footage of me throughout the demonstration, with clips specifically zooming in on me whilst I'd been in the middle of the crowds.

I explain in the video how I'd come to attend there, but in much a way it had just been chance really, something to do for the day and I never really had considered myself any sort of activist. Having recently watched a video from the 2002 Mayday demonstrations I think I just never really understood the true scope of what was going on. I'll also attach another video that I've discovered recently which shows the scope of policing on the day, which wasn't just happening in London but all over the globe.

But for me, there are a lot of questions as to what happened to this data? If I hadn't of been arrested for the public order charge then I wouldn't have even know about the tape. Sometimes it plays on my mind though, what other consequences did that information ever have on my life. Had I been monitored afterwards even? Perhaps such questions can bring about paranoia, mistrust and even misguided false answers at times, but it's something that's been a theme running every now and then and a niggle in the back of the mind. How much affect did it really have on my life.

I'd certainly be interested to hear other peoples take on this. Get in touch with me on Twitter @PoemsFaRunaway If you enjoy the video please do consider subscribing to me on Youtube and thanks for your support.

I also found this video recently on Youtube which helped give me a greater understanding from a media and police view of what was really going on that day. A big operation!

Peace :)

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