Updated: Dec 14, 2020
For the past couple of weeks, we have wondered whether or not we would be confronted by the Police and possibly arrested. So we swotted up on the legislation, helped by our favourite legal team, Law or Fiction. You can check out their guidance here.
Here's a reminder of what we do on Saturdays. It's hard to believe that the police now see this as an 'illegal activity'.
At about 5.30pm, the police came by and 2 of them approached us. They told us that we were 'breaching coronavirus regulations' and said that if we agreed to pack up and go, they would not proceed. However, we wanted to put our points across to them
Here's the Twitter thread where I explain what happened.
We decided to use the exemption from the 'gatherings' rule and claim that we enabling 'one or more persons in the gathering to avoid injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm'. However we were told by the police that there were no exceptions / exemptions! Clearly they had not read the legislation. I tried this argument again, to be told 'I don't believe you'.
Here's the text of my Facebook post:
"When you get questioned by the police for standing around chatting in the town centre....
When they try to arrest you for 'breaching coronavirus regulations' but they don't actually understand the law as well as you do and they get it wrong....
When they try to tell you that you have organised a protest, when this is clearly not the case.....
When you are criminalised for talking and laughing in the open air with people who are 'from different households', ask yourself, is this about a virus? Or is it an attempt to control and punish dissenting voices?"
The whole thing fell apart in the end as they did not really want to arrest anyone and could see that we were packing up to go home (it was at the end of the day). At one point, a teenager approached one of the police officers and told him that someone was dealing drugs down the road. How many real crimes are being ignored while 'breaches in coronavirus regulations' are being pursued?
We have discussed the fact that it might be necessary to be arrested, fined and then refuse to pay, ending up in court. It appears that the police can't be reasoned with, so it might be the only option.
We are taking legal advice and planning to be back in Bonn Square again next week.
We are determined to keep going.