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Cabinet Office action provokes search and seizure

In November 2004 – on the day of the reopening of parliament – four anti-war activists staged a series of die-ins to highlight the slaughter in Iraq and the deafening silence of both politicians and the mainstream media. The first die-in took place outside parliament – where the four were quickly dragged off and searched under anti-social behaviour legislation. The second, outside 10 Downing Street, went on for much longer, under the bemused and sometimes supportive gaze of tourists. After threats of removal and arrest by the police, the four were simply dragged off to the side of the road.

Who is responsible?

Later in the day the four activists walked into the Cabinet Office. No-one stopped them although they were wearing white tops covered in fake blood and one activist had a picture of a wailing mother pinned to her chest. They wandered around for about 20 minutes, demanded to speak to someone responsible for the atrocities being committed in Iraq, and did another die-in. They were eventually escorted from the building and arrested on suspicion of burglary.

Freaky seizures

After arrest the four spent 24 hours in custody at Charing Cross Police Station buy were never interviewed, although they were strip-searched, their clothes were taken for forensic analysis and their mobiles seized. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to them, their houses were also being searched and computers – including, in some cases, those of other people living in the same house – and floppy discs and notebooks were taken away. The four were eventually released after the intervention of two solicitors. The Met had been in the process of applying to extend their detention for another 12 hours.

Support needed!

To date the police have not returned any of their clothes, mobiles or computers. They remain on police bail until 2 February, when, apparently, they will be interviewed... The four will be at West End Central Police Station, Saville Row, London W1, from 12 noon. They would welcome support outside.

Contact Les, Liz, Rosy and Giulia, tel 023 8055 0159.