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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

Green MEP demands end to use of kettling

Green MEP for London, Jean Lambert, will demand an end to the use of the controversial ‘kettling’ technique at a special gathering outside the European Court of Human Rights this Wednesday 14th September 2011.

The event will take place as the ECHR Grand Chamber prepares to consider the legality of the corralling and containing of public protests in a case brought by London resident, Lois Austin, regarding the ‘kettling’ of some 3,000 protestors at the May Day 2001 demonstrations (1).

Jean, a member of the European Parliament Civil Liberties Committee, said: “Kettling is a violation of human rights, the right to assembly and the right to protest.  Yes, police face an increasingly difficult task in keeping our streets safe but there must be no trade-off with our civil liberties.  It is the duty of the police to rid our streets of violence – not to add to it.  In fact, the continued use of heavy handed tactics will only serve to further undermine public confidence in the police.

“Regretfully, incidents of kettling have increased since the House of Lords deemed it lawful.  People must be supported in their right to peacefully protest, not deterred by the threat of temporary containment without access to food, water or basic toilet facilities.  The European Court of Human Rights must now ensure that respect for human rights is a fundamental principle in modern policing.”

Notes to Editors

1. Lois Austin was taking part in the May Day 2001 demonstrations as a peaceful protestor when she, alongside 3,000 other protestors, was kettled in Oxford Circus for almost seven hours.  Lois challenged the tactic and its lawfulness in the context of Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which enshrines the right to liberty, to the House of Lords.  In 2009, the Lords held the tactic to be lawful in certain circumstances.