as the campaign against cctv smart cars in camberwell continues, racist undercover police get involved to rough up a local shopkeeper.
activists have been campaigning in camberwell over the last week at the arrival of council cctv 'smart' cars snooping under the guise of recording minor traffic violations.
local police have previously attended disruptive protests, but not got particularly involved, and activists have succeeded in forcing the cars to abandon their shifts on several occasions. previous accounts here and here.
you may also have heard of a large number of cctv cameras being funded recently by money earmarked for terrorist investigations in the birmingham area. the cameras were positioned in a largely muslim area, and as the truth was uncovered by activists, a so far successful campaign has managed to stop the surveillance pending a judicial review (guardian story)
this morning things got ugly in camberwell.
the owner of a local bakery, a muslim man, was issued with a ticket after the cctv camera caught him "illegally" unloading bread at his shop. as this was not the first time he had received a hefty fine, and as there is no "legal" way for him to briefly park to get necessary produce to his shop, he started shouting at the council snoops.
suddenly, and wholly disproportionately, undercover police appeared and grabbed the man. winesses heard them making clearly racist comments and threatening remarks telling him to "shut his mouth as he was a muslim who doesn't have any say in this country".
as a crowd began to gather, more police re-inforcements turned up, but the man was held in a stress position with police pulling at his handcuffs to hurt him each time he tried to defend himself verbally. he was subject to assault and abuse for nearly 30 minutes before finally being taken away in a police van.
the cctv activists have so far been receiving plenty of support from the community in their campaign, and they see today's events as an unwelcome escalation from the authorities to protect their surveillance operation at any cost. they have promised to continue with the campaign and not back down.