In the same week that £4.5 million of taxpayers money is being spent on preventing legitimate protest against the DSEi arms fair in London, six campaigners were arrested in Newcastle.
The six members of the NO2ID campaign were planning to join a picket of the European Union justice ministers summit on Thursday of last week to protest against attacks on civil liberties and the planned introduction of ID cards.
The campaigners were held in custody for 20 hours before being released without charge.
Phil Booth from NO2ID said, “It’s worrying that the police feel able to use pre-emptive action to arrest people on suspicion of causing a breach of the peace.
“The police quickly changed the charges to conspiracy to cause criminal damage — so that they were then able to take finger prints, DNA samples and also to search the homes of the six.
“One of the arrested was a 17 year old girl on her first protest. The first her mother knew of her arrest was a van full of police officers turning up to search the girl’s room.
“We will not be put off from campaigning by the police’s heavy handed tactics.
“We will continue to fight, the government must be held accountable.”
In London the security surrounding the DSEi arms fair included the drafting in of an extra 4,000 police for the week of the fair.
Some 1,200 exhibitors booked stalls at the arms fair, including manufacturers of fighter aircraft, missiles, nuclear weapons, missiles, armoured vehicles, tanks and nuclear submarines.
At least 15 cluster bomb producers attended.
The exhibition is a private event with government delegations invited.
This year’s guests include many countries with terrible human rights records.