As people maybe aware on mayday 2001 over 3,00 people were cordoned in at oxford circus & held as part of the mayday protests. They were detained for over 7 hours, denied the right to leave (effectively held prisoner) without access to toilet facilities. Many at the time believed this to be illegal by the police.

The trial is now being held at the royal courts of justcie to determined whether the police had the legal authority to do what they did.

This is the second week of the trial. The first was taken up with people (some protestors, some not) recounting their experiences of being caught up in this cordon. Extensive video footage was shown in court of just how the police effected their operation throughout mayday.

This week has been taken up with the police officers actually in charge of the operatioon. They explained the operational tactic employed & why they thought it was necessary to do what they did. (This tactic was actually devised some months beforehand as: containing the crowd & i quote “boring them to death”).

As with all police who swear to tell the truth under oath in a court of law they lied through their teeth. Special reference has to be made to chief superintendent french (silver commander on the day & effectively the decsion maker) who attempted to deny an reponsiblity for the instigation of these tactis (despite his signature being on the briefing notes) & denied any knowledge of just what was happening on the ground (despite supposedly being in the command centre at the time monitoring everything that was happening at oxford circus. (He said he was in a diferent room at the time!).

When asked where was the recorded evidence (in police radio logs) of him giving the order to cordon people in, he said he must have given the order on his moblie phone. When it was explained mobile phones were actually forbidden in the police command centre he changed his mind & said it was from a landline in a different room!!!).

Despite having constant radio contact with every commander on the ground on the day in one room, he chooses to go to another room, phone from a landline & issue the single most important order of the day!

The point made by the claimamt’s barrister was that all the officers in charge were briefed days beforehand that a cordon was to be put in place at oxford circus regardless & so didn’t need a direct order from french).

This is an incredibly important case the outcome of which will determine policing operations (both positive & negative) on future mass actions.

I urge as many people to go to the royal courts of justice (1) for entertainment value of watching the highest ranking coppers in the country squirm & lie & generally make fools of themselves but more importantly to witness just how & why the police get away with what they do at that level.

The trial will last until next week.

Court 14

Royal Courts of Justice

The Strand


London WC2A 2LL

Court sits from 10.30 am finishes 4.30pm everday

More pictures of this event, can been seen at the following links