Sunday, July 24, 2011


Crown Prosecution Service remain intent on taking 30 "ringleaders" to trial for the occupation in March of the luxury Fortnum & Mason store in Mayfair during an anti-cuts demonstration. Protesters in Fortnum & Mason were told by police that they would not be arrested if they left the store peacefully, but it emerged last week that their subsequent detention had been planned. About 150 activists were arrested in Fortnum & Mason despite holding what Chief Inspector Claire Clark described as a non-violent and "sensible" demonstration. As they left the store, the activists were handcuffed and taken to London police stations. Video footage shows Clark assuring the demonstraators that nobody would be detained if they left Fortnum & Mason. Lynne Owens, assistant commissioner of the Met, told the home affairs select committee that police arrested so many people that day because it gave them "important intelligence opportunities" confirming UK Uncut claims that the Met was so desperate for intelligence on the relatively new protest group that it undertook the mass arrests to learn more about the command structure of the organisation.

A 24-year-old man is facing trial on the basis that "he entered the store with a placard". Lawyers from Hodge Jones & Allen, who are also representing the protesters, say no information has been provided relating to when he acquired the placard or even what it stated. A 23-year-old woman, who "unfurled a notice on the stairwell" of the store, faces trial. Another protester is facing prosecution "due to her placing leaflets on displays". Another is referred to in the documents as "carrying an umbrella into the store". One 22-year-old participant is accused of carrying UK Uncut cordon tape and more than 50 printed signs stating: "Big society, revenue and customs: if they won't chase them, we will." Some activists have been targeted on the basis of previous convictions of aggravated trespass.

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