Anti-Terrorist Police Detain Anarchists

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Anarchists Detained by Counter-Terrorist Police on Return from Swiss Conference
For the past week, thousands of anarchists from across the world have been converging in St.Imier, Switzerland to celebrate the 140th anniversary of the founding of the Anarchist international. The gathering took the form of a festival and educational, with music, films and entertainment as well as workshops and discussions.
On returning from the St Imier gathering, two anarchists, one a member of the UK Anarchist Federation, were detained for nearly two hours at Heathrow by SO15 (counter-terrorist) intelligence who initially refused to identify themselves to the detainees. During the detention, the anarchists were told that their normal rights did not apply, and had their names, addresses, email addresses, DNA, photographs and fingerprints taken. The detained anarchists were also forced to sign forms – which may or may not be legal – waiving their rights to silence and a solicitor. Police also conducted a thorough search of personal possessions, photocopied literature and passports and took information from phones and cameras.

During the detention, the police constantly accused the anarchists of lying about involvement in criminal activity and alleged that they would be conducting follow-up police action against one of the detained anarchists. In addition to this, SO15 officers asked a number of inflammatory, irrelevant and offensive questions, including ‘what would you do if someone raped your mother?’ evidently in an attempt to cause emotional upset and illicit angry or violent responses. One member (28) who did not want to be named for fear of reprisals from the police, said “We were treated like criminals. I told them I went to the congress as I am an amateur journalist and I write articles about activism. They saw my note book, camera and Dictaphone but they said I was lying.” One officer said ‘You said you are an anarchist, I’ve seen anarchists on the news, they are violent, throw molotov cocktails and disrupt people’s lives not write articles”.
The counter terrorist officers either didn’t know or chose to ignore that, during the first day of the gathering, the International of Anarchist Federations (Of which the UK Anarchist Federation is a member) had issued a statement rejecting all terrorist tactics as a means of achieving an anarchist society.
In contrast to the actions of the UK security forces, the local press and residents in St.Imier reported very positively on the anarchist gathering.
With this incident, we are seeing a further slide towards political policing and the criminalisation of political ideologies. The two detained anarchists have not had any involvement in any illegal or violent activity, or any activity that would concern the counter-terrorist police. As in the past, when Metropolitan police called on people to give information about local anarchists ( Anarchists should be reported, advises Westminster anti-terror police | UK news | The Guardian ), anarchists suffered harassment for their political viewpoint.
As class-struggle anarchists, we believe that the state does little except serve the interests of the rich and powerful at the expense of ordinary people. This is seen clearly when people who hold views critical of the state are treated as criminals and terrorists. We seek to create a classless society, based on freedom, equality and co-operation. We believe in the capacity of ordinary people to run society themselves, without the interference of bosses or politicians. This incident was not in response to any crime and constitutes repression and criminalisation of a political ideology.

Editors Notes:
Anarchism is a political philosophy that seeks to build an egalitarian society in which mutual aid, co-operation and direct democracy replace capitalism and the state.
The St Imier Congress was a gathering of anarchists from all over the world to celebrate the 140th anniversary of the first international anarchist gathering in the Swiss town of St Imier in 1872.
The Anarchist Federation is a federation of class struggle anarchist-communists in the UK who seek to build an egalitarian society.


  1. Phoebe Queen (@MxsQueen)

    To be honest, slandering someone’s character, intentions, like that is a pretty good way to get them to dish on what they were getting up to, planning or organising, as they attempt to justify themselves and prove how innocuous what they were doing was or even to try and provoke people to denounce others. Counter-terrorism will know exactly what anarchism is, the span of tactics that anarchists endorse, and its political aims (presuming they’re not completely incompetent, which would be a bit of a stretch, it is their job to gather information on us after all). This is likely a bit of a scary bit of bush beating in order to make people feel intimidated and perhaps give up something of interest if there were anything of interest to them going on.


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  4. goggzilla

    I always found it invaluable when dealing with tiny minds such as PC Plods (yes I know you are reading this, yes that is my real name) to dress as a pukka chap, shirt tie and suit.


  5. Sam Barnett-Cormack

    If this was a Schedule 7 examination, it sounds like they weren’t paying attention to the advice in the guide to it that I was linked to elsewhere… which cautions officers to minimise embarrassment and offence to those being examined.


  6. Sam Barnett-Cormack

    I managed to find the code of practice for schedule 7 examinations as well… including “Examining officers should therefore make every reasonable effort to exercise the power in such a way as to minimise causing embarrassment or offence to a person who is being questioned” in the formal code, with the guidance for this point going on to say “All persons being stopped and questioned by examining officers must be treated in a respectful and courteous manner”.

    So yes, they can be required to answer, and don’t have the rights someone under arrest would have, but they’re not supposed to be treated as they reportedly were.


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  13. Luther

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  14. Pingback: Fuerzas antiterroristas del reino unido detienen a anarquistas – Solidaridad Obrera

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