How to handle UK Police brutality on Cameroonian protesters 😎

Comportement vis à vis de la police BAS UK.

Bonjour la famille je vous invite à tous lire pour s’éduquer. Très important


We suggest that you take a note of our protest support phone number and of a criminal solicitor with protest experience. Write them down on something the police will struggle to take from you, such as an arm or a leg.

No Comment

You do not need to answer police questions, so don’t.

This is for your own protection and for the protection of others.

The police will try to pressure and deceive you into incriminating yourself. Instead of trying to decide when it seems ‘safe’ to answer, just say “No comment” to all questions – during ‘informal chats’, in the police van and especially in interview.

If your friend in the next cell knows you aren’t going to talk, they will feel better able not to talk themselves. Remember, interviews only help the police – they will not interview you if they already have enough evidence to charge you.

A good solicitor will sometimes suggest that you make a prepared statement in interview. In that case, you or your solicitor will read the statement and you should answer “No comment” to any more questions.

No Personal Details

You do not have to give personal details under ANY stop and search power, so don’t.

On protests, the police often use searches as a way of finding out who is present, both for intelligence purposes and to intimidate you.

Police also use arrest as a means of gathering information, particularly when they arrest a large number of people together (“mass arrest”).

As a default, you do NOT have to give your personal details to the police at any point during the arrest process. However, since 2017, if you have been arrested, the police can require to say what your nationality is and can require you to produce nationality documents, if they suspect that you are not a British citizen.

We recommend not giving personal details to the police for as long as possible – for more information on why, see the page “Do I have to give my details?”. If you have been arrested and taken to the police station you may wish to give your name, address and date of birth at the custody desk to speed your release. Police will usually check the address and may visit at a later date.

Once you reach court, you can be required to give your name, date of birth and nationality.

There are a few situations in which police may have a power to require personal details: if someone is driving a vehicle (or another licensed activity); if they are being fined under a Fixed Penalty Notice; under a particular anti-social behaviour power (which should not generally be used against protesters); or if there is a particular by-law.

No Duty Solicitor

Use a recommended solicitor with protest experience

The “duty solicitor” is the solicitor who is present at the police station. They may come from any firm of solicitors, which means they almost certainly know nothing about protest.

Duty solicitors often give bad advice to protesters; we recommend you always use a good solicitor who knows about protest.

No Caution

Cautions are an admission of guilt

Offering you a caution is a way the police may ask you to admit guilt for an offence without having to charge you. It is an easy win for the police, as they don’t have to provide any evidence or convince a court of your guilt.

At the very least, you should never accept a caution without taking advice from a good solicitor.

What Can the Police Arrest You for at a Protest?

Learn about your constitutional rights when protesting, the limits on those rights, and when your actions could be illegal.

When a Protest Turns Violent or Dangerous

The most significant limit on your right to protest is in the language of the First Amendment, which prohibits government interference with the right to assemble “peaceably.” The U.K. Supreme Court long ago recognized the government’s right to stop demonstrations that present a “clear and present danger” of violence or another “immediate threat to public safety, peace, or order.

Violating Orders to Disperse

Once police decide that a protest is violent or presents an immediate threat, they may declare that it’s an unlawful assembly, issue an order to disperse, and arrest those who don’t leave. But under many court decisions (as well as local laws), officers must first give clear warning that people can hear, provide an unobstructed exit route, and allow enough time to leave. Without that kind of notice and opportunity to obey, criminal charges for unlawful assembly or disobeying an order to disperse might not stand.

The same might be true if you’re arrested during a controversial police tactic known as “kettling,” which involves corralling protesters—along with journalists and anyone who happens to be in the area—not allowing anyone to leave, and then arresting everyone inside the cordon.

Violating Curfew or Other Emergency Orders

You can be arrested for violating a curfew issued during ongoing protests. Courts generally allow curfews when an executive has declared an emergency, and the circumstances show the restrictions on protest rights are necessary to maintain order because of an immediate threat to life or property.

It’s not as clear whether courts would find that protesters’ rights are violated by the enforcement of some other types of emergency orders, such as no-protest or “free speech zones” (which ban protests in certain public spaces where people have traditionally exercised free-speech rights) or “keep moving” orders applied to peaceful protesters

Blocking Traffic

Generally, authorities may require advance permits for demonstrations that will block traffic on city streets or even sidewalks. However, there are usually exceptions for spontaneous protests in response to recent events. Also, police shouldn’t break up protests that are simply slowing traffic or inconveniencing drivers and pedestrians.

Absent a permit or exceptions, you could face arrest for obstructing traffic, disorderly conduct, or similar “catch-all” crimes that cover a wide range of conduct. Police typically arrest protesters who take over freeways and bridges—though they might be less likely to do so when a truly mass protest does so peacefully.

Taking Videos or Pictures of the Police

As part of your First Amendment rights, you’re generally entitled to take videos and photos of the police when they’re performing their duties in public. You shouldn’t have to stop recording, show officers what’s on your device, or turn over your phone just because they don’t like what you’re doing.

However, you could be arrested if you’re obstructing or otherwise interfering with an officer’s ability to carry out law enforcement duties—so you should record from enough of a distance that you can’t be accused of getting in the way. You should also be open about what you’re doing, to avoid being charged under some state laws against wiretapping, electronic surveillance, or eavesdropping. (Learn more about other exceptions to your right to record law enforcement, as well as steps you can take to protect your electronic devices and avoid surveillance at protests.)

Trespassing and “Buffer Zones”

You may be arrested for trespassing if you’re protesting on some types of government property (including military installations, prisons, and courthouses) or on private property without the owner’s permission. But you generally are allowed to protest on some types of private property that have been opened to public use, including parks known as “privately owned public spaces.”

When you’re protesting in front of city hall, police stations, or other government buildings, you could face arrest if you’re blocking access to those buildings.

You might also be arrested for protesting within a “buffer zone” meant to keep protesters a certain distance away from sensitive locations like healthcare facilities that provide abortions. 

Toppling or Spray Painting Statues

Activists have long called for the removal of Confederate statues, flags, and other monuments honoring America’s racist past (and present). But if, like many protesters around the world in 2020, you decide to take matters into your own hands—by toppling or spray painting monuments—you risk criminal charges for vandalism. Penalties depend on the law in your state and the extent of the damage.

If You’re Arrested at a Protest

Staying on the right side of the law at a protest doesn’t guarantee that you won’t get arrested. In fact, it’s not uncommon for law enforcement to make mass arrests at large protests, even when they know criminal charges won’t hold up. But whether you’ve actually committed a crime or not, you continue to have important constitutional rights, including the right to have a lawyer present when you’re being questioned. Many civil rights advocates suggest that you have a lawyer’s phone number with you when you go to a protest (maybe even written on your arm), so you have someone to call when you’re allowed a phone call after an arrest. Learn more about your rights when detained or arrested at a protest.

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