All photos by: TheGirl78
Yesterday, Saturday 25th July, a Disarm DSEi activist was arrested at a protest against the recently opened Army showroom in Dalston shopping centre, London.
According to a report from Indymedia:
By 1.30, around fifteen people had assembled by the main entrance. Two activists from Disarm DSEi, who had been inside the building looking for the demonstration, decided that they would exercise their right to peaceful protest inside the shopping centre. Unfortunately, the police and security guards seemed to have no interest whatsoever in facilitating this right.
The two activists had hardly got their banner out, before they were being told to leave. Naturally, they attempted to get a reason for this from the security/police. Aside from a bit of feeble mumbling about private property and obstructing people (despite the protestors having their backs to a shop front), no real reason was given. Instead, the police opted to remove the protestors by brute force, pulling and pushing them towards the exit, resulting in both of them, and at least one of the cops on the floor. The police tried to use this opportunity to seize the Disarm DSEi banner, but one of the activists, along with people from the protest outside, managed to hold on to it, before being pushed forced from the shopping centre.
While this had been taking place, the other activist had been placed in handcuffs and arrested inside the centre, with a line of police forming in front of the entrance. Knowing it wouldn’t do any favours to their public image to blockade a busy shopping centre on a Saturday afternoon, the police attempted to screen the crowd, not letting anyone who they thought looked like a protestor through (this included any member of the public who had happened to photograph the incident).
Chants were started outside of ‘Let him go! Let him go!’, but it wasn’t long before he was taken to nearby Stoke Newington police station. A small group followed him there and managed to get in contact to find out that he had been arrested for breach of the peace and assaulting a police officer.
The person arrested has subsequently been refused bail, and is being kept in until Monday morning, when he will be in Thames Magistrate’s Court at 10.30am. Court solidarity, would apparently be much appreciated.
The event is a continuation of protest against the Army showroom, which opened in Dalston in March 2009. The showroom includes a ‘battlefield simulator’, games and training videos. People in Hackney, and across London, have complained that the army is selling a fantasy in the hopes of attracting young people from the area. There have been protests since the opening including an invasion of the showroom and a roll call of those who have died in Afghanistan.
In related news Disarm DSEi, who protest against the world’s largest bi-annual arms fair, have recently announced their plans for the 2009 protests, under the slogan of “Destroy the banks! Destroy the Investors! Destroy the Arms Trade!”. More details can be read here.