A small peaceful community protest against the latest of several immigration raids took place last summer, prompted by the arrest and detention of an immigrant working in East Street, South London. Concerns for the legality of his arrest and fears for his safety particularly if sent to a detention centre, prompted the surrounding of the immigration van. Negotiations with local police were unexpectedly broken off followed by the sudden arrival of the Territorial Support Group in full riot gear accompanied by dog handlers. This decision was taken by the borough police commander, who when questioned during the trial about such an extraordinarily disproportionate response, admitted she hadn’t policed a public protest event since the Poll Tax Riots 27 years ago.
Three protesters were subsequently charged with violent disorder, and their trial ran for over three weeks. Although tried together, separate verdicts were returned; Alfie and Danny were acquitted, and John was later retried. However the judge ordered that this trial be abandoned and the charges dropped.
This is a graphic record of the trial.