Following the protests against the Defence Systems and Equipment international arms fair that took place in East London 147 people have been arrested. A number have been released without charge and others cautioned, but many face prosecution for offences including Obstruction, Assault, Public Order Act offences, Criminal Damage and obscure offences under the Railways Act (which carry long sentences).

Section 44

There was much criticism of police tactics, particularly the use of section 44 of the Terrorism Act. The police initially denied using s44 and Channel 4 news spent a whole day filming people being searched under it! The police then grudgingly admitted that “some officers” may have been using s44. When the Terrorism Act was progressing through Parliament, assurances were given that s44 would not be used against protestors, assurances that now appear worthless. Liberty has issued High Court proceedings to challenge the legality the use of s44 against protestors. Permission was been given for the judicial review and the case was being heard as we wrote this. This follows Liberty’s criticism of the use of s44 during the war on Iraq. Liberty are collating information – if you were searched then please complete the form at:

Whilst the focus has been on s44, there were also all the usual police abuses. The police imposed cordons, but were unable to say what powers they were exercising. Legal Observers from LDMG witnessed police hitting people with fists and batons. Two people who were seriously assaulted are seeking to sue the police. One person was badly beaten up in custody and another was seriously injured when dragged off his bicycle at the banquet.

Witnesses Needed

LDMG are urgently seeking witnesses to arrests. If you witnessed an arrest or if you have video or photos, please email or write to us. Please include as much detail as possible. We will pass information on to solicitors. If you were one of the people who promised to send footage and photos and you haven’t yet got round to it, please send it today.

Postal address: LDMG, C/o BM Haven, London WC1N 3XX

also .. .. ..

Police ‘misuse’ anti-terror laws: DSEi 2003 LEGAL UPDATE

Police searched at DSEI? Liberty needs your help, ASAP