Saturday, 3 May 2008

New Statesman: Is this what a police state looks like?

[...] The FIT-team is a section of the Metropolitan Police, and part of the Public Order Intelligence Unit which first appeared targeting football teams in the early 1990s. Their coverage has since expanded to political meetings, protests and demonstrations, where they are tasked to identify, monitor and isolate potential "street activists" who have shown signs that they may be likely to "provoke disorder."

The FIT-team is set into motion by buzz-words such as "anti-globalisation" and "animal liberation," by the sight of black-and-white patches, dreadlocks, and most passers-by who dare look them in the eye.

Accompanied by civilian photographers employed to assist them, the FIT team has established an atmosphere of constant and targeted surveillance of known activists and "potential trouble-makers". The effect on political protest is often debilitating. "We spend our time speculating what the police might do to us, rather than what we ourselves want to do," said one protestor. Read more
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