Tuesday, 18 August 2009

The case of the Derbyshire Drone

Brendan Montague has penned a very good article, 'Down the Drone', over at The Sauce, about the police's use of a pilot-less aerial drone at Saturday's protest in Codnor. As I've already reported, the Unite Against Fascism blockading of the BNP's 'Red, White and Blue' festival seriously rattled the Nazi hardcore who hoped to use the event to toughen up their newer supporters. Their efforts to present a respectable facade - 'family event' and all that guff - were scuppered by 2000 protestors who were impressively committed to ruining their day.

The police's use of heavy-handed surveillance should be a cause for concern, not just for anti-fascist campaigners but for all those who value the right to peaceful protest. Their main purpose is to stigmatise protest, attempting to make demonstrating appear to be a dubious, borderline criminal, activity (therefore putting off a layer of potential protestors from taking part). The drone can gather detailed surveillance data, for absolutely no worthwhile purpose whatsoever.

As the report at The Sauce points out, some of us are looking into using Freedom of Information legislation to obtain records of the surveillance. If you were at the Codnor protest and want to apply for the surveillance data - and give the police the kind of headache that could make them think twice about using a drone again - you'll find the form HERE.

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