Peaceful occupation and arrest – An account of #ukuncut on #march26 by @magiczebras

@magiczebrasThis guest post is an account of UK Uncut’s actions on March the 26th by @magiczebras


Only a handful of people knew where we were heading on Saturday, I personally had no clue where we were going. Just before 3.30pm I was simply handed a card with a red dot on, a sign that I should follow the red umbrellas several people were holding. Once we arrived in Fortnum & Mason we spread out across the shop, and the vibe was pretty jubilant – I’d had doubts we’d make it and I suspect I wasn’t the only one, if you were in London you’ll know the day was quite crazy.

After about half an hour people started to settle, the majority of us on the ground floor. I talked to people I knew on twitter and sat around talking with my friend, who left at around 5 to get her train. People did drift out but the majority stayed. The police hadn’t asked us to leave and we were peaceful. A few people may have wanted to cause damage but were quickly talked out of it by members of UKuncut, we didn’t want to harm our reputation for being a peaceful protest group. I’m so proud of all my fellow members, we were all exceedingly careful not to break things and received thanks from police officers for tidying around before we left.

At around 6pm it was democratically decided we leave, so we all linked arms tight after being told we could leave peacefully together. We were kettled immediately. There was a lot of confusion, at first we thought they’d let us go in dribs and drabs, then we were told we’d be arrested. I was put onto a coach with 17 others and we drove around London until it was discovered Islington had 15 free cells and Camden had 2. I was first out, requiring medical attention because I had low salts. Everything was taken from me, I was stripped to my underwear, given clothes, put on constant watch because, due to anxiety, I kept absent mindedly clawing my arms and I slept when I got to my cell, still being watched. I was woken at 2am to see my appropriate adult, get my DNA taken and see a doctor (5 hours after I’d started requiring one). He gave me a sleeping pill and got them to feed me.

I slept more, was woken with breakfast which I threw up on my clothes – I didn’t have time to get to the toilet. They couldn’t give me clothes or a blanket so I lay in my underwear and slept more. My mother arrived sometime later, her nerves fraught and I waited to be charged. I convinced myself it wouldn’t happen, they’d let us go, but obviously they didn’t. I was charged with aggravated trespass, made to promise I wouldn’t kill myself, or hold them accountable if I attempted, given my bag back (they retained my mobile, iPod and clothes as evidence) and we left. I’m in court on Monday, 12th April at 9.30am, where I will be tried. Looks like I’ll be joining to Armchair Army for the forseeable future.

Author: Latentexistence

The world is broken and I can't fix it because I am broken. I can, however, rant about it all and this is where I do that when I can get my thoughts together. Most of the time you'll find my words on Twitter rather than here though. I sometimes write for Where's The Benefit too.

118 thoughts on “Peaceful occupation and arrest – An account of #ukuncut on #march26 by @magiczebras”

  1. ‎”We got drunk, trashed the Ritz & then went down Piccadilly to loot a few items from Fortnums” – Boris Johnson Autobiography in reference to the Bullingdon Club 1986

    MagicZebra, in my opinion this group has a momentum of its own and maybe chose Fortnums with too little justification on the website beforehand … I’m so sorry about this misdirection of policing and hope your iPod is returned ASBO is dropped… will be in court if you tell me which one… I’m on your side, and am considering phoning the police to report Chancellor Osborne’s tax-shirking.

  2. I’m afraid the behaviour of the police on this occasion was typical. They had clearly been instructed to come down hard on protestors and create an example of people. From the evidence I’ve seen, the UK Uncut protestors were, on the whole, peaceful and law abiding. It will be very difficult to get a count of aggravated trespass to stick. Hopefully the court will throw this out and give the charge the contempt it deserves.

    Telling the protestors that they could leave without charge, then immediately arresting them outside the shop, was cowardly and wrong. We deserve better from our police.

    Good luck to all UKuncut members who have been charged. You were standing up for what you believe in and had the guts to get off your backsides and make your point – something that far too many people in this country can’t be bothered to do.

  3. Several of us have commented on the absurdity of the charge of aggravated trespass; albeit that there may be subtle complications in law. However, I have had one worying thought about this… I believe that ag. trespass is usually handled on a summary basis – magistrates court rather than a jury. I do worry that attitudes of magistrates involved may have an affect.

  4. does anyone know the names, or where I can find out the names of the 10 opposition MPs who signed in support of UKuncut?

  5. Despite the fascist nature of your arrest and ordeal – Consider this a badge of honour..

    Remember, when 11 million people broke the law by refusing to pay their Poll Tax it brought down the Tax along with Thatcher herself.

    These momentous events begin with the heroic actions of people like yourself!

  6. The way you have been treated is disgraceful and completely unacceptable. You are very brave to put your feet where your mouth is in the first place and then to write this. I wish you and the rest of the arrestees from this protest all the best of luck. I’d really hope that this will be thrown out of court and you will be able to get the DNA sample destroyed.

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