Fit Watch campaigners describe how they were arrested and bundled to the ground

Fit Watch campaigners describe how they were arrested and bundled to the ground

“Have you seen the Blues Brothers over there?” the police surveillance officer said. “Look – filming everybody else.”

It was supposed to have been a routine day of protest for Val Swain and Emily Apple, but at 1.31pm on 8 August last year, moments after being spotted by the surveillance unit, they found this was to be no ordinary demonstration.

After challenging a police officer over his failure to display a badge number at a protest against the Kingsnorth power station in Kent, the two women were wrestled to the ground, handcuffed and placed in a police van. They were held in custody for four days, three of which were spent in HMP Bronzefield.

Swain, 43, was arrested for assault and obstruction and Apple,33, for obstruction. The charges were later dropped.

The arrests were caught on police surveillance footage obtained by the Guardian and will be submitted to the Independent Police Complaints Commission tomorrow in a complaint lodged by the solicitors firm Tuckers.

Swain, from Cardiff, and Apple, from Cornwall, believe they were unlawfully arrested and detained because they campaign for Fit Watch, a protest group opposed to police forward intelligence teams (Fits), the surveillance units that regularly monitor political activists and demonstrations and meetings.

For more on Fit Watch please visit their blog. A video of the arrests is available on the Guardian’s website, as is an article by Emily Apple from Fit Watch.

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