Date: Sat, 9 Aug 2008 13:36:57 +0100
To: News media outlets covering Kent and Medway
FROM: Steve Dawe, Press Officer, KENT GREEN PARTY
Press Release for Immediate Release
POLICE ARREST CLIMATE PROTESTER FOR CARRYING VITAMIN C.
Matt Wootton, a Green Party activist from Lancaster, was searched and then arrested at the entrance to the Climate Camp near Kingsnorth in Kent last night [Friday Aug. 8], for alleged 'possession of a controlled substance'. He was handcuffed and taken away by the police to Medway Police Station in Gillingham, where he was put into a windowless cell without proper toilet facilities, for the next 5 hours.
His fingerprints and thumbprints were taken, and a DNA swab from his mouth, thus putting him onto the national police database.Only towards the end of the 5 hour period was the substance in question actually tested by the police.As Mr. Wootton had explained from the beginning to the police, unavailingly, the alleged 'controlled substance' in question was in fact Vitamin C.
Said Mr. Wootton, "It is crystal clear that ordinary people such as myself are being targeted for harassment by the police. Senior officers in the police have evidently decided that, if they make the lives of concerned citizens such as myself a misery each time that we try to protest against the damage done to our collective life-support system by the greenhouse gases being burnt into the atmosphere at places like Kingsnorth, then we will give up and go home. I am not so easily put off. But I am concerned about the state of our democracy and our civil liberties, when the police are wasting their time throwing people like me into the cells on a false pretext - when what they ought to be doing is getting out there to catch criminals. I suppose it is easier to harass a climate protester than it is to catch actual criminals." Mr. Wootton was denied his legal right (under section 5.6 of Code of Practice C set out in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984) to a telephone call during his 5 hours in police confinement. The police said that they were 'too busy' to allow him time to make such a call. Matt Wootton was released by the police, and reunited with his girlfriend near the Camp, only at half past midnight.
FURTHER INFORMATION: Contact Matt Wootton at the Climate Camp on 07866 704601. Contact address for this release 27 Audley Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1XF. For other legal comment from Kent Green Party about Kingsnorth ring Dr Hazel Dawe on 01732 355185.