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Protesters challenge G20 armed police raid on Earl Street Convergence Centre

Date: 5 July 2009

On 1st July, protesters launched a judicial review challenge against the mass arrest of those who were peacefully gathered in a building on London’s Earl Street on 2nd April.  The case questions the lawfulness of operational decisions by Metropolitan and City police officers.

  • The claimants are asking the court to examine the decisions:
  • to detain and arrest everyone in the building at Earl Street although all were later ‘de-arrested’ and (so far as we know) no one was charged;
    to search everyone’s belongings indiscriminately;
  • to require everyone to be filmed and identify themselves and to retain the images so created.

The operation appears to have been aimed at identifying those G20 demonstrators responsible for violent disorder committed the previous day.

Stephen Grosz of Bindmans LLP represents the claimants. He said today: 
“The decision to arrest all the occupants of the building appears to have been no more than a fishing expedition, in which a readily containable group of people might be arrested and checked, away from the attention of the public and the press.  The absence of reasonable grounds appears to be supported by the fact that no charges have been brought or pursued against anyone as a result of the operation.”

Notes for editors:

Please see below for an Inside Story illustrating what happened on the day:

Inside Story: What happened on the day

On 2nd April 2009, Andrew Rubens, a student studying English Literature and French from Glasgow University, was present with approximately 70 other people at the Earl Street Convergence Centre, an abandoned building, which people taking part in the peaceful protests around the G20 summit were using as a place to sleep. He understands that the building was open and the occupants had not forced entry.

The police raid on the building occurred at approximately 12.30pm. The protesters sat on the floor with their hands up, in order to indicate to the police that they had no weapons and did not intend to offer any resistance to the officers.

Fifteen to twenty Territorial Support Group officers dressed in full riot gear stormed the first floor of the building and shouted an order to those in the room to lie face down. The officers were carrying shields and batons and one officer was also pointing a 50,000 volt taser gun at the protesters. The officers were aggressive toward the protesters, refused to answer questions and did not inform them whether they were being arrested or why they were being held in this way.

Like most of the protesters, Mr Rubens was forced to lie face down for about half an hour. He was then handcuffed and told that he was being arrested on suspicion of violent disorder. He was not told the legal basis of his arrest. He was also searched at this point.

After the search, Mr Rubens was led out of the building by the officers and his personal details were taken; name, address and date of birth. He was filmed by FIT (Forward Intelligence Team) officers and his image was compared to those contained in other footage held by the police. He was then made to stand in handcuffs at a nearby kerbside and held under arrest whilst guarded by an officer for a further 40 minutes. He was later ‘de-arrested’. He was given no arrest sheet or documentation to record his arrest.

For further information, please contact:

  • The Climate Camp press team 
    Tel: 07932 096 677
    Mob: 07772 861 099


  • Bindmans LLP 
    Paula Fagan
    , Head of Marketing: 
    Tel: 020 7833 443
    Stephen Grosz or Gwendolen Morgan 
    in the Public Law & Human Rights Department on: 
    Tel: 020 7833 4433
    Mob: 07803 126 589 or 07921 165 205

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