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. “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 see a doctor (5 hours after I’d started requiring one)”

    “They couldn’t give me clothes or a blanket so I lay in my underwear”

    “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)”


    1. A nation that still cares about private property while having abusive ways of treating none-violent offenders. The arrest itself was just, some of the treatment afterwards was not so just.

      Yes, you can say the treatment post-arrest was not so good while still agreeing that the arrest itself was good.

  2. Well done. We’re all behind you.
    Can’t see the trespass charge sticking myself, but strange things happen in the law these days.

    Best of luck to all the UKUncut charged, we’re all behind you.

    1. No, we’re not. Aggravated trespass is an offence, if you had educated yourselves on this matter then you would have been prepared for what was the innevitable. You were told by the police that you would be taken to safety after your protest, and you were; you were taken to a cell.

      1. aggravated tresspass means entering land without permission with the specific aim of disrupting a lawful activity.

        ukuncut did not tresspass as shops invite the public onto their land freely by being open. also UKUncut did not stop any lawful activity taking place, shoppers were still browsing whilst UKUnut were there (see footage on the guardian website).

        as no lawful activity was disrupted no aggrevated tresspass has taken place.

        edit: it was dreamt up to charge hunt saboteurs.

      2. So basically, arresting 15 year old girls on peaceful protests is perfectly fine and dandy because we have, like, some laws that enable us to justify that.

        Like, OK, we get it – civil disobedience often involves the police getting all up in your grill. What I can’t understand, though, is the people who are so damn smug about pointing out that people broke a law and so totally deserve everything and are stupid for imagining that they could stand up to authority without getting a kicking. What are you getting out of the deal? You get to suck some authoritarian cock but you’ll still get your economy flushed down the shitter along with people who prefer to stand up and say “hey, rich boys, this is wrong.”

        I guess if all you want out of life is a tiny bit of pyrrhic superiority over a young girl then bully for fucking you, but, y’know, it just makes you look like a bit of a sad old twat.

      3. how can you be so heartless? even if their was a crime committed which is questionable, that shouldn’t exempt from decent treatment, that was cruel.

  3. UKUncut has obviously annoyed someone with an inflated idea of their own importance. Good for you! Love to MagicZebras – don’t let the b*stards grind you down!

    1. Exactly, over-inflated self importance that anyone cares. 250,000 people joined that march, which sounds alot but is what… less than 0.5% of the population??

      Anti cut protesters need to see beyond their own blinkered view and see that the UK financial situation (that was a result of that retard Brown) is much greater than what they are going to lose these next few years after their cuts. We need to plan the long term. Even Milliband admitted some cuts were necessary, despite him being stood beside a “no cuts” poster, jesus tyhat guy is moron, what the hell was that speech all about?

      1. If you are so convinced that the majority of British public is on-board with the Bullingdon sets ideologically motivated cuts, by all means organise a counter protest. I’m sure, with your ill-informed right-wing rhetoric, you will be able to rouse a sizeable portion of that 95.5% of the UK population that did not march on Saturday. Rouse them to laugh and slam the proverbial door in your face.

        I can only speak for myself of course, but as a supporter of UKUncut, I do not question the need to reduce our governments deficit and our national debt. The question is, my dear noone, how shall we reduce that deficit? Shall we do so cautiously or swiftly? Shall will achieve it with cuts alone, or with taxation? Taking into account that the past 30 years has seen an unprecedented transfer of wealth towards the richest members of society, and accounting for the fact that much of this wealth transfer was achieved through complicated financial instruments (like those that caused the credit crunch). I’m very much in favour of taking the cautious and through taxation routes. It is the richest in our society who caused this economic crisis (and a sizeable amount of a national debt can be attributed to this crisis) and so they ought to pay for it. The growing gap between the poorest and wealthiest in our society constitutes a kleptonomy (kleptocratic economy), and it’s far past time our feckless legislators redressed the balance by taxing those who have spent the past 30 years milking the wealth of the real wealth creators (the workers) through their lobbyists and ‘think-tanks’ who have influenced tax policy and shunted the burden of tax onto labour (i.e. income tax, VAT, etc…) as opposed to capital (i.e. unearned income such as corporate profits, share dividends, inheritance, etc…). Even the arch-freemarketeer Adam Smith advocated high taxes on rents*. To surmise, we can bring down the deficit and begin to pay off our national debt far more efficiently and far less painfully (for all) if we increase the tax burden on high earners and corporations, increase taxation on rents* and close tax loopholes so that all pay the headline rate of tax. We can also make efficiency savings (genuine efficiency savings) and tackle the culture of sub-contracting and renegotiate extortionate PFI agreements both of which have been to great detriment of our public services (the public sector is under no obligation to provide employ for the private sector). However, the balance should be toward a higher tax burden upon the wealthy (who can not only afford it, but whom owe it to society after 30 years of kleptonomy) and NOT towards a higher live burden upon the most vulnerable and needy in our society. That is what UKUncut stands for, they are NOT deficit deniers, they merely advocate Tax Justice (and a long time coming it is too). So noone, stick that rant in your pipe and smoke it! You nobody you! 😉

        * Rent, in economics parlance, refers to any unearned income from non-productive activities (which includes rent, inheritance, shareholder dividends, gambling, capital gains from share trading, etc…).

        1. And how exactly do you consider we should make money by Raising Taxes? Do you think maybe we should raise Income tax which has been proved to actually LOWER the overall amount received by the Gvmnt due to people relocating or more elaborative forms of tax evasion? Or maybe corporate tax which is slowly pushing all the high earning (And high tax paying) businesses out of the UK?
          And as for your argument of closing tax loopholes. Do you not think other government haven’t tried. That money is the most lucrative of all money to Governments. Its essentially free money which they get for doing nothing or harming anyone. Its the holy grail. However it’s simply unattainable, and always has been.
          Also, this account of what happened that day is so obviously bias and one sided that it looses all credibility. As if in this country someone would be treated like that for doing what she claims. You truly are gullible.

          1. If you really believe this couldn’t happen then you’re the gullible one. There are several accounts available from various people that were arrested and they’re not that different. If your only response is to call someone a liar than you’ve already lost the argument.

          2. I’m sorry but this argument is pointless. Your argument is based on what someone has posted over the internet. My argument is based on a lifetime of experience and the fact we live in a democratic society. Furthermore, I refuse to believe that once people had essentially broken into a shop that they then decided to be peaceful and caused no damage whilst inside.
            But hey, this argument will never be solved will it.

          3. (a) UK Uncut did not break in. The shop was open for business and they entered.
            (b) There is video evidence that they did not vandalise or damage anything. Your allegation that it was otherwise is libellous.
            (c) I trust the people that have told me their experiences. Where are you getting your information from? The newspapers? Don’t make me laugh.
            (d) Unless your experience is directly and recently of arrest and charging procedures, it’s not relevant.

          4. (a) UK Uncut did not break in. The shop was open for business and they entered.”
            Thats the most ridiculous excuse I’ve ever heard. What if someone down your roads front door was open? Is that cool?
            “(b) There is video evidence that they did not vandalise or damage anything. Your allegation that it was otherwise is libellous.”
            “(c) I trust the people that have told me their experiences. Where are you getting your information from? The newspapers? Don’t make me laugh.”
            Do you not understand that you as a group are just as biased / I would argue more biased than any of the National Newspapers, and there is no arguing there.
            “(d) Unless your experience is directly and recently of arrest and charging procedures, it’s not relevant.”
            It is, when what you are accusing the whole police force, and remember this is through many points supposedly (I could believe that a few police officers were a bit heavy handed) But what your suggesting here is that the police force as a whole is more like a SAW film than law enforcement, and that my friends is, for use of a better word, stupid.

          5. In opening a shop to the public, the owner of the shop gives an implied license for the public to enter their private property, until such time as they revoke that license. UK Uncut were not asked to leave. In fact, a police officer is on video informing them that they would not be allowed to leave. I’m not going to track down the videos, you’re not going to believe evidence when it’s right in front of you anyway.

            There’s no point arguing with you any more. You’re calling me stupid. Lets just conclude that you’re a complete moron and a troll and leave it at that.

          6. “There’s no point arguing with you any more. You’re calling me stupid. Lets just conclude that you’re a complete moron and a troll and leave it at that.”

            I concluded this at the outset. I just can’t resist poking a troll. 😉

          7. “Your argument is based on what someone has posted over the internet. My argument is based on a lifetime of experience and the fact we live in a democratic society”

            As I see it both arguments are based on an entirely myopic view. That is to say that they rely on entirely anecdotal evidence of personal experiences; your own and this young ladies. Neither is, on face value, more reliable than the other. Except of course that this young ladies account is backed up by the almost word-for-word corroborating testament of other UKUncut members. Only time will tell whether other corroborating testaments (from police officers and the medical professional mentioned above) come to light.

            As for living in a democratic society, we live in a representative democracy, not a true democracy (see direct/consensus democracy). This is tantamount to an elected oligarchy, an oligarchy that has inflicted upon the British people (by virtue of our inability to hold our elected legislators to account between general elections) various civil liberties nightmares.

            “Furthermore, I refuse to believe that once people had essentially broken into a shop that they then decided to be peaceful and caused no damage whilst inside.”

            Is this because were you in the same position you’d have smashed the shop up and shat in the till? In any case, your refusal to believe does not belie in any way the reality at hand (and that is that little-no damage was caused). If any significant damage had been caused the UKUncutters who invaded F&M would have been charged for criminal damage and not aggravated trespass (which I assume is predicated upon the disrupt to the flow of cash into F&M’s tills).

            “But hey, this argument will never be solved will it.”

            Not for you, no Alex. You’ve clearly made your mind up, and only a highly improbably Daily Mail article instoling the virtues of UKUncut and direct action is likely to change your mind. 😉

          8. “Do you think maybe we should raise Income tax”

            I haven’t any issue with a third higher rate of income tax for earnings above £100,000 pa. I’d make it permenant and set it at 60% (not 50% though).

            “which has been proved to actually LOWER the overall amount received by the Gvmnt due to people relocating or more elaborative forms of tax evasion?”

            Could you point me to a single definitive study which supports this claim? Or are you simply referring to the Laffer curve, which is little more than a thought experiment at this point. Studies have indicated an optimal tax rate (i.e. the peak beyond which tax revenues fall) of anywhere between 30% and 70%.

            As for elaborate forms of tax evasion, tax evasion is illegal and ought to be policed within the full force of the law. Tax avoidance is legal, but thoroughly unethical, and it is the duty of our legislature to close the gap between what is legal and what is ethical.

            “Or maybe corporate tax which is slowly pushing all the high earning (And high tax paying) businesses out of the UK?”

            Again, point to a reliable study, or are you basing this entirely upon the threats of those large corporations (predominantly banks) who like to through their weight around whenever the idea of higher corporate tax rates (and/or in the case of the banks a banking levy and higher capital reserve requirements) is aired.

            Historically the UK has had corporate tax rates as high as 53%. It is NOT beyond the wit of our legislators to operate a high corporation tax economy, especially if efforts are made on the international stage (or within the EU?) to reform corporation tax (i.e. country-by-country reporting, a minimum corporate tax rate which if breaches would trigger punitive import taxes, etc…). The reality is that many large corporations now pay less tax than the average working individual (>20% tax) and this is not only detrimental to those working individuals (who bare the bulk of the nations tax burden) but also to small business owners and sole traders (who aren’t in any position to dodge taxes unlike their multinational counterparts). Legislators the world over need to stop allowing large corporations (and the mobility of capital) to hold them over a barrel. That way lays a race to the bottom, and the only way to avoid that is international co-operation and corporate tax fixing (dirty word for freemarketeers I know, but there, I said it).

            A high nominal corporation tax rate (~40-60%) coupled with tax discounts conditional on various labour (e.g. running a decent pension scheme, mutualisation, subscription to a maximum salary multiple, etc…) and environmental (e.g. implementation of green initiatives such as provisioning for recycling refuse and/or waste by-products, carbon neutrality, etc…) initiatives which are judged beneficial to wider society. Corporations could then lower their tax bills (to ~20%) via entirely legitimate means, by becoming a good citizen as it were.

            “And as for your argument of closing tax loopholes. Do you not think other government haven’t tried.”

            No, actually I don’t think they have attempted to close many of those loopholes. There no doubting that at various points in time HMRC has attempted to recover tax lost through these loopholes, though it’s difficult to imagine that this will continue with the cuts visited upon them by the coalition government. However, legislators have made few genuine attempts to close those loopholes, and without legislature HMRC’s hands are tied.

            As you alluded to above, there is a very good reason not to have attempted to close those loopholes in the past. The corporations that rely on these tax loopholes to maximise their profits would (at least threaten) to leave the country is the tax situation becomes ‘untenable’ for them. Our legislators have been held over a barrel, in large part due to an unwillingness to entertain international (or supranational co-operation within the EU) co-operation on corporation tax and tax avoidance.

            “Also, this account of what happened that day is so obviously bias and one sided that it looses all credibility. As if in this country someone would be treated like that for doing what she claims. You truly are gullible.”

            If you think that the British establishment is beyond such maltreatment, then it is you sir who is gullible. This account is backed by numerous other UKUncut F&M demonstrators, often times word for word. Now you can claim that these account amount to a conspiracy to defame the Metropolitan Police Service (although the numerous allusions to police officers showing personal sympathy for UKUncut belies this) but this kind of behaviour isn’t without precedent (a man was killed at G20 for the love of Atheismo!) and if such conspiracy is your chief line of defence Alex, then I’m afraid you are a conspiracy theorist.

            Incidentally, I’ve seen numerous pieces of footage showing the police break up entirely peaceful UKUncut demonstrations (one appeared to involve middle-old age pamphleteers outside boots) using some rather heavy handed tactics and armed with a very dubious interpretation of Section 14 of the Public Orders Act (1986). The Metropolitan Police Service has often got ‘it’ wrong, and I suspect (and hope) that it isn’t due to any ill will on the part of the individual officers involved, but rather politically motivated policies set from up-on-high.

            In all, Alex, I haven’t heard anything from you that I haven’t already read within the poorly sourced, ideologically aligned, conservative press. If you have any evidence supporting your assumption, by all means present that evidence*, otherwise I’m basing my assessment on what I’ve read previously (from reliable sources) and not mythical tax exoduses and a flood of tax evasion!

            *evidence must be reliable (peer reviewed, backed by statistics, etc…)

          1. I assume you’re responding to Alex. However, for the record, I don’t support the claim that raising taxes will necessarily lead to lower tax revenue. The evidence simply doesn’t support that claim.

      2. Even the moron from that one political party agreed with the morons from those other political parties. Yes, well argued.

        If you’d like to explain to me the exact mechanism by which shrinking the economy while increasing inflation will reduce the percentage of public funds going towards debt payments, I’ll be over here underneath the sign marked “people who have read more than one copy of the FT in my entire damn life.” If you’ve been getting your economics theories from the Murdoch press, well, I pity you, but you might not want to be spreading that information around too hard – people will judge you.

      3. I agree that the members of the Labour Party are morons that carry a large amount of responsibility for what happened. now perhaps you would like to comment on banks that were giving out loans they knew could not be paid back and then wrapping them up in bundles of OK looking debt. this is what destabilised the financial economy and that poor debt is now referred to as toxic debt (if I did such a thing it would be called fraud!). That is where the real mess comes from. What Brown did was fail to regulate. What Cameron does no is fail to regulate. So Cameron is an equal moron to Brown. one crucial difference is that Cameron can see what has happened through failure to regulate, yet still he fails to do so. Ask yourself why the Bullingdon club man won’t do it. perhaps you can do it as your pension goes down the plughole or your folks are turfed out of their care home etc. I am also confused by the raising taxes argument of another poster. UKUncut hasn’t to my knowledge asked for raised taxes they just want people to act morally and pay what they owe rather than avoid and dodge.

        Finally I will ask you to tell me where I can get a bank loan that they pay back for me. After all that is what the banks have had from us!

  4. Do you mean Monday 11th April? I want to be there.

    You are hero, by the way. I’m sorry I was too late to join you all on Saturday.

  5. And yet they are bombing the Hell out of Libya because they want people to be able to protest. This country is disgusting, hypocritical, a police state, and fascist.

  6. The way you were treated is totally shamefull. It reminds me of Gandhi’s quote (said over 60 years ago) “Western civilization – what a nice idea”. It seems, nothing has changed. I am really saddened that you (or anyone for that matter) had to undergo such a horrendous experience. To strip a person of their clothes can have no other intent that to make someone lose their dignity and should thus be regarded as a form of torture.

    1. I think they took everyones’ clothes as “evidence” – I’m not really sure what for, I think because although we were only charged with aggravated trespass we were arrested for both aggravated trespass and criminal damage.

  7. I’d just like 2 say u make me proud 2 b english, good on ya, all the very best 4 court. Power 2 the people!!

  8. You shouldn’t let this put you off taking to the street. They know these situations are unjust and horrific and only do it to dissuade people from protesting again. To resign yourself to the ‘Armchair Army’ would be a great victory for the state and something you should never accept. Keep up the fight, we’re all behind you.

  9. i’m alarmed that the police arrested people, but given that invading fortnum and mason is the best way to upset the daily mail brigade, not entirely surprised. FYI, the definition of aggravated trespass (Criminal Justice & Public Order Act 1994, as amended by the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003)

    A person commits the offence of aggravated trespass if he trespasses [and]… does anything which is intended by him to have the effect—

    (a)of intimidating those persons or any of them so as to deter them or any of them from engaging in that activity,

    (b)of obstructing that activity, or

    (c)of disrupting that activity.


    the legislation was originally intended to prevent raves.

    1. The CJA 1995 included anti-rave legislation famously (“music largely characterised by a succession of repetitive beats”), but aggravated trespass was to criminalise the protests of myself and other anti-road protesters.

  10. This is an awful story. Good on you for participating in a peaceful protest and standing up for what you believe in. If there’s any justice, all of you will have the charges dropped and the Met will be forced into apologising…but don’t hold your breath 🙁

  11. You’re braver than many people two or three times your age – I say this as one of them. I’m proud to live in a country where I can call people such as yourself my fellow citizens. Don’t listen to the mainstream media on this one; from conversations at work, at home and in the pub, there are a lot more people than the government would like who are right behind UK Uncut’s agenda of peaceful, inventive protest, and think you’re being targeted precisely because you’re having an effect. Best of luck to you – or, solidarity, as they say.

  12. We salute you. Those who don’t support the Actions yet soon will, as the cuts start to bite. x

  13. This is shocking, I really hope everyone involved in the UKUncut protest comes out of this alright. If these aggravated trespass charges stick it will be a huge mockery of justice in this country.

  14. You are the sort of member of society that we need in this country. Well done for taking part in this sort of action from 15, and well done for being brave enough to recount everything that happened to you. I only wish that you were a few years older and went to Aberdeen University, full of right wingers here and its doing my head in, i bet you would give them a run for their money!

    Solidarity and peace and all my best for the trial. If we live in a just, moral society you should have nothing to worry about,. If the state dares to convict you and your fellow uncutters, they will not get away with it quietly.

  15. What an utterly, utterly shameful way the police treated you and the other protesters in Fortnum & Mason. I’m shocked and sickened at the treatment – if a British citizen was treated like this abroad it’d be all over the newspapers and television news. If this is what British justice and democracy has come to, what hope is there for us?

    Whoever was responsible for the decision to treat you all in this way should be suspended and charged with breaches of the Human Rights Act.

  16. Good luck to you and I also find what you have went through, on one level extremely admirable and on another disgusting. I have watched the video from Fortnum and Masons and find it disgusting that a senior Police Officer can quite happily lie in front of camera without fear or repercussions. The people of this Country will soon be behind you all when the cuts bite and this ConDem “coup d’etat” is going to get a serious fright. I wish I could have been there with you all but I am in Scotland and can’t afford to travel to London.
    Best of luck at court and my heartfelt best wishes that this gets thrown out of court.
    I salute you!

  17. Hold strong, don’t worry yourself about the charges, the way this is developing I doubt we’ll end up in court. The political nature of the arrests is glaringly obvious, just make sure you keep receipts from any expenditure (e.g. temporary phone, transport), and stay positive, enjoy the fact that the worst is over and you’re a massive bad-ass 🙂

  18. Absolutely disgusting treatment but is what most have come to expect from the police. There is no way that your action is aggravated trespass, if you want to see real aggravated trespass (and more) committed by the police themselves see; [part 1] [part 2]

    These police officers were in this home unlawfully as trespassers and are clearly threatening violence amounting to a threat of grievous bodily harm with a weapon….

    Keep strong you will have lots of support

  19. We should all write to our MPs to protest about this. It’s disgraceful.

    No decent person would wish the people WE vote into OUR government to sanction such treatment. What happened to ‘innocent until proved guilty’?? And really, even if found guilty does this truly warrant such treatment?? What century and what civilisation [???] are we living in?

  20. But why did you think it was ok to cause chaos in a department store on a Saturday afternoon? You could have aired your misconceived teenage ideas in Trafalgar Sq like everyone else. What does Fortnum&Mason or its shoppers have to do with this?

    1. None of the descriptions I’ve heard sound like ‘causing chaos’. All sounds terribly polite, actually. Meanwhile, it doesn’t seem that very many of the crazies outside actually ended up being charged…

      1. How can “accuse” someone of avoiding tax, i.e. of doing something that is legal? Who are you, kids? How much tax do YOU pay?

        1. I can accuse you of posting a comment, why can’t I accuse a business of avoiding tax? Tax avoidance is legal, that does not mean it is moral. They are twisting their company structure to avoid this tax.

          And I’m in my 30s and I own a small business. UK Uncut has everyone from children to grandmothers in it. If you think it’s just kids protesting, think again.

          1. They are not twisting anything. They are using a common and lawful method of arranging their affairs to minimise their tax liability. A method which was authorised by the tax authorities and Parliament which the population of this country has elected. Do you voluntarily send additional money to HMRC to support the country’s budget? Why should they? And I love the reference to “immorality”. There are people who think that homosexuality is immoral. If they start organising sit-ins in gay bars, I fully expect them to be arrested and charged. In this country law regulates relations in the public sphere, not someone’s notions of morality.

        2. 20% (after the £650 tax free chunk each month), plus the 5 or so % of NI, same as everyone else on similar wages >_>

          Not sure what that has to do with the matter; if we owe taxes, we pay taxes. That’s the way it’s supposed to work. Also; ‘kids’ don’t pay tax (well, they do, if they earn enough… even though they’re too young to vote on matters that involve their tax money) so why would you even ask that question?

  21. This police treatment is an outrage….I assume you are under 18? And therefore a minor which just compounds this savage treatment. I would advise you contact an independent legal defence a.s.a.p (if you haven’t already done this obviously). Please consider contacting: (Legal Defence and Monitoring group) this organisation are dedicated to supporting protester’s that have been busted.
    Also maybe try 07946 541 511.

    I do hope you and your parents are not too traumatised after your dealings with the Police…The Police have lot’s of powers/laws that are abused when they are confronted with civil disobedience groups. Peaceful or not. Stop n Search laws are abused, terrorism laws can be enforced, offray, trepass changes to aggrevated trepass, blah! Blah etc.
    I wish you well and I do hope in time you will consider not only documenting your story here but on a wider network…People are interested and care very much for the Ukuncut peaceful protest movement.
    Good luck and be well.

    1. Just a note, police can’t do anything about trespass unless it’s aggravated trespass, as aggravated trespass is a crime and trespass is only a tort, which is actionable in civil courts (i.e. the shop could sue them for it).

  22. The Police are an utter disgrace to humanity. During a time when i had a break down i had to endure a full body search. I was greiving for members of my family during that time of breaking down was just to much going on to cope with. Never took drugs in my life don’t beleive in them. I’ve no history for them to justify their actions in that way. No criminal record nothing. Even 4 years after it still makes me want to be physically sick.

  23. Hi, I just wanted to send love and solidarity. I was also arrested outside Fortnum & Mason. It was a horrible experience, made so much worse by the injustice and indignity of it all. I hope you’re in touch with Green & Black Cross who can connect you with everyone who was arrested, and provide you with loads of advice and support. To reclaim the Tories’ phrase, we are all in this together – you are one of 145 who all feel similarly to you, and we’ll support each other through whatever happens next. Stay strong and hopefully I’ll meet you when we go to court on the 12th! xxx

  24. Please refer to the UKuncut website for ALL the information you need *Guest*
    Trolls are not appreciated here.

  25. It’s just my reading of it, but I don’t see how it can be aggravated trespass simply because I don’t see how it can be trespass. You entered an area that was open to the public, and were not asked to leave. How is that trespass? Yeah, the law’s fuzzy (as it’s common law, particularly) and I have no idea about precedent…

    Aide from that, though, they technically have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that you personally intended to intimidate, obstruct or disrupt. I have no idea of whether you had that intention or not, of course, but the reports I’ve heard don’t seem to involve that much in the way of intimidation, and it sounds like obstruction and disruption were deliberately minimised. Happening to obstruct while trying to do something surely shouldn’t be grounds for aggravated trespass, otherwise a lot of people might be doing so by actually shopping.

    1. Entirely separate to that point, though, the experience of arrest sounds horrific, and potentially negligent. They knew you needed a doctor?

      1. I think my experience was pretty standard, everyone else’s accounts are very similar, it certainly wasn’t pleasant but most of the actual officers were pretty nice when talking to me.
        And yes, I made them aware of all my health conditions from the start.

  26. I don’t mind opposing viewpoints in the comments, but abuse and abusive language will result in the comment being deleted. Repeat offences will result in a ban.

  27. Don’t listen to trolls and the haters, in America people are paid to post comments like on behalf of business and political parties. It’s no stretch of the imagination to think the same applies in this country.

  28. I would just like to join in on the support side of things, and the pure rage I currently feel towards the police. I had never heard of UKuncut before this saturday’s march when my boyfriend and I decided to join in the sit-in at Fortnum and Mansons. I loved the atmosphere and vibe going on, and was so happy to see and to join in helping in tidying up. However, when we wanted to leave we were not allowed to – cut to lying police officer – and then when we did my boyfriend was arrested (for some reason I think I was not). I know I was not arrested, thus I am not attempting to say that my experience matched anyone elses of course, but I spend a worried 24 hours until I finally heard some real information from the police about where my boyfriend was. They had not complied with his rights as they did not provide him with an interrputer (he is not English), they said they would call me to inform me but they did not and the first information I got was a police officer at my front door at 4am, who still did not know where he was. And of course they kept his clothes, phone, camera and notebook (it had neoliberalism and nudge written in it… shock horror). I am just so shocked that they charged him without interview (is that even legal?), or even charged him at all as well as kept him for the whole 24 hours when he was completely patient with them, calm and not doing anything in the first place.

    Someone above asked about the aggravated trespass charge, and from my recent fanatic learning about this topic it appears that it quite a hard charge to prove due to the point that you have to personally show intent… I can remember shopper happily looking around for quite some time and I know that we did not do a thing to stop them. Also at no point no one asked us to leave, which is need to make it trespassing in a public place. It was more of a case that we were not allowed to leave.

    The hardest point for me to sallow is the media protray of the event, and the police arguging that we should praise them from charing 149 VIOLENT CRIMINALS on that day. In relality they picked the easiest individuals to arrest to make thier numbers look good… I am not sure about my feelings about the violence of that day (but i know we are all fighting the same course) but at least the police and media could be honest in their representation of what they did that day.

    Finally, after this long rant I just want to say that now I know about UKuncut and all the wonderful and creative things they do, I think it is a great group, one which despite Saturday I cannot wait to get more involved with, neither can by boyfriend. If the police/media/Gov think that they are turning us off direct action, they could not be further more the truth.

    I hope everyone else who was arrested last weekend is alright – in it together right!!!

  29. You are a true inspiration to all of us, and deserve the title of hero. The way you were treated by the police is appalling. Don’t let the bastards grind you down.

  30. I was part of the main march on Saturday and was outside Fortnum and Mason at about 4.30. I’m doing what I can to get the word out that you guys were peaceful and in no way deserve what has happened. It’s sickening. The way Theresa May has described everyone arrested as thugs, is deceitful. It’s so far from the truth that it reminds me of Gaddafi saying the protesters in Tripoli were teenagers on drugs! It’s ludicrous and I hope people aren’t so stupid as to believe her.

  31. A sad story with a particularly sad ending. It seems that their dirty scare tactics worked as intended. They have won, haven’t they?

    1. I don’t argee that they have won at all, I think that the police may have shot themselves in the foot with this one as more and more articles are appearing online about the political motivations of the police and the real justice of only charging 11 people OTHER than those involved in the peaceful sit-in at Fortnum and Masons.

      Furthermore, it has brought UKuncut to peoples attention and in my view in a very positive light from what I hear people saying. People hate the idea of infingement of civil liberties and of police states, hence they are looking favourably on the mistreatment of UKuncut and others who were charged. See

      I am planning on writing to the MPs mentioned in this report to give my account of events and to show my support for what they are bringing into public discourse, as well as writing to my MP about the undercurrents of misjustice horridly evident in this case.

      Finally, MPs have called for discussions on tax aviodance – surely they have not won if people are talking about the alternative.

  32. You are amazing. I was unable to attend due to health but some of my friends went and I followed via their tweets and FB updates. I am absolutely appalled by the disgusting way the police treated you and everyone who was detained.

    I just wanted to say that I’m glad that you wrote this all down, you have my support and everyone else’s. Solidarity to you, keep your hopes up high, they will not beat us down!

  33. Magic zebra, well done! Well done for being there, well done for publicising your story, well done for having the courage of your convictions. You have realised what is important early in your life, which will give you lots of opportunities in the future to act on that realisation, and make the world a better place. Remember, just because state-funded thugs such as the police have power, doesn’t make them right. History will demonstrate that, but we don’t yet know when.

  34. Sorry to sound a bit uncaring and callous – but I have little sympathy for this girl.

    She was treated appalingly, perhaps illegally, in actually being arrested – that’s a separate issue – but her actual treatment in the cells is pretty standard for the circumstances.

    If she’s shocked by it, then perhaps children shouldn’t play grown-up games.

    1. Or maybe the UK should abide by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and stop treating children (anyone under the age of 18) as adults.

    2. Why shouldn’t a 15 yr old be allowed to protest? she’s being effected also. Like you say she was treated appalingly in being arrested in the 1st place. A 15 yr old with anxiety issues shouldn’t have to wait 5 hours to see a doctor. Nor when she is obviously not violent or threatening be held for 24 hours not given an adult to speak too straight away. As for taking her clothes totally unneccasary and i prompt why? Because the excuse of evidence doesn’t cut it as its hardly evidence for what happenend.

  35. The Police in the UK and the USA are essentially para military units. In the USA they wear military style uniforms are are armed to the teeth. Harass, abuse, threaten and detain first, ask questions later.

  36. @magiczebras – Welcome to the world of protest 🙂 Please step back and understand – your experience was something new for you, but it was actually quite civilised and safe, (if messy) as these things go.
    Your appearance in court should be interesting; the media loves a persecuted monor. It is obviously an opportunity to have your say and state the case for the protesters, you`re almost guaranteed a large audience – Kudos and make the most of it !

    These recent actions, leading to arrests are just a start and are in many ways, the object of the exercise: you need to encourage more and more people to be arrested for peaceful civil disobedience. In the end, they can`t lock-up eveyone and it plays badly in the media – as repectable & concerned or young & innocent(!) citizens are swept up and criminalised by the State. Getting your school, sports or recreational clubs & neighbourhood to protest locally in solidarity and that kind of linkage is very powerful and no doubt already in-train.

    Getting more people out of their armchairs is the object and local/regional protests are really essential – take your message to the hardest-hit areas; Northern youth & schools must be ripe, unless things have changed there since my day. (& please forgive my big gob.)
    Good luck and may you be arrested many more times !

    PS Here in Australia we have had reasonable coverage of the UK events, but the US protests have been totally censored – not a word for weeks, despite their growing ever larger. I wonder is it just here, are they being covered in the UK and Europe more broadly ? Thanks.

    1. Thank you. I know my experience was certainly not unique, my dad was in the protests when Thatcher was in power so I’ve had the run through of his encounters with the police, though I get the impression there was litte controversy over whether his arrest was deserved. And, although it wasn’t pleasant I know it could’ve been a hell of a lot more awful.

      Yes, I’ve heard very little on the America protests as well, I wonder if I’d have known about them if I wasn’t on twitter.

  37. Shame on the police and shame on the Government for putting you and all the other peaceful protesters through this nightmare. Just goes to show how powerful ‘peace protesting’ can be that they did this. With you in mind & spirit, the real crime was from whoever made the order to criminalise you in the first place, and suspicions are they sit on the front row in the house of commons along with their special advisors the tax evaders. Keep strong. I’ll be thinking of you on the 12th – are you all up on the same day I wonder.

  38. Well done on making a stand. It is obvious that the rich are starting to get worried by UKUncut. The more people that protest about what is going and the more people that highlight what is occurring when peaceful protest has taken place the more the foundations of this country will be rocked. I really want to come and join in and everything I am coming to gets cancelled. I will be coming because, working with kids, I see the effects of the cuts first hand. On Tuesday i spent the morning with a girl who was distraught because her social worker has been made redundant. The day before I ended up dealing with a lad who’s social worker had been made redundant. this summer I will be dealing with kids leaving care and nowhere to go to. It is utterly disgusting that this goes on while Gambler’s Anonymous, sorry the banks, carry on in the same fashion. i urge everyone to stop dealing with financaiers as much as possible. hit their pockets and they get the message.

  39. I just don’t understand the whole clothes thing. It makes no sense why they’d need a persons clothes when it wasnt a drugs issue there was no hint of a weapon so why? Evidence for what? How is clothes evidence in this instance? The police are no strangers to abusing power but this has no basis at all. I simply cant see a justification for it.

    To do it to a 15 yr old girl who clearly has no criminal intent, history and is solely protesting for a good reason and cause is wholely unnaccepatable and inhumane.

    Most of UKUNCUT seem like fairly responsible nice people trying to achieve something good. Yet you have policemen who probably break the law more than the whole of UKUNCUT put together on an hourly basis, tax avoiders somehow able to construct a situation where these harmless nice people are charged with crimes to attempt to deter them from their purely morally good aims when they were no pyshical threat to anybody.

    There is people getting stabbed, mugged and yet they waste hours and hours of court and police time arrested harmless people keeping them for longer than neccasary inventing bogus charges and then treating them like 2nd class citizens.

    This is a crying shame to be honest and it should be highlighted because truly it’s not acceptable in our society to allow this. To any police or anyone who opposes this view imagine you had a 15 yr old daughter and she was treated like this when shes a kind helpful person with no malice in her? Is it really right or justifyable? I don’t think so.

    1. I have been told that the taking of the clothes was to search on CCTV of the same individuals (not sure if that means throughout the whole day or just during the period in the shop). Also, I am not sure how true this is (the police told me hence be wary) but they are specifically looking for individuals who forced there way into the building at some point…. Not sure if that helps!

      1. But they could do that anyway by taking a picture(which they did) and avoid the unneccasary nonsense of taking peoples clothes. I think we know the real reason why they did it obviously intimidation humilation fear technique tactic..but i still see no justifyable reason and you need to have one. Evidence to check things on CCTV hmmm taking 100 peoples clothes to see if one or 2 people forced their way in despite the fact no damage was done? Is this really the measures police take normally? I don’t think so. and like i say they photographed everybody outside the shop and also in the police station so no need for the clothes AT ALL.

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