Greens raise concerns over ‘kettling’ tactics at Norwich protests

PUBLISHED: 10:05 01 February 2011 | UPDATED: 10:18 01 February 2011

Green city councillor Samir Jeraj.

Green city councillor Samir Jeraj.

Demonstrations in Norwich should be free of the “kettling” tactic which was used on protesters in London, the Green party have said.

The Green group, which is in opposition on Norwich City Council, raised the issue at a meeting at City Hall, with a motion calling on the council to work with police to ensure demonstrations in Norwich are peaceful.

Samir Jeraj, Green city councillor for Town Close, put forward a motion after students from the University of East Anglia, Norwich University College of Arts and Norwich City College were held in one spot for hours, a tactic known as kettling, during demonstrations in London over student fee changes.

Mr Jeraj said: “We have a duty to oppose these indiscriminate and dangerous tactics and see that they are banned before more people are harmed.

“In Norwich, we have had, in recent years I believe, a relatively good record on the policing of demonstrations. We shouldn’t let changes in tactics and policy undermine this work and allow violence to escalate and the shared bonds between us be torn apart.

“This is why we should oppose kettling and work together to ensure peaceful protest in Norwich.”

While the council agreed the motion to work with the police authority and campaigners to allow peaceful demonstrations, Labour councillors said such a relationship was already in place.

Bert Bremner, cabinet member for neighbourhoods (south and west), said he understood the concerns about kettling, but that the city council and police already worked together to ensure peaceful demonstrations.

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