A blogger who filmed a meeting of a local council was arrested for "breaching the peace" despite insisting that she broke no laws
|Click above for 'BROKEN BARNET' web site|
see video and story on the Telegraph web site.
|(picture: Alex Murray Smith, South West Wales Media)|
From 'Broken Barnet':
"Caebrwyn is the blogging name of Jacquie Thompson, a community councillor who writes about the antics of Carmarthen County Council. As it happens, she has followed the 'Broken Barnet' blog for some time.
"On Wednesday this week, Jacquie was present at a meeting of Carmarthen County Council, exercising her right, as guaranteed by Secretary of State Eric Pickles, to film the meeting on her phone. She writes:
"As I arrived, an elderly lady was presenting her petition [against the closure of her day centre]. It was heartfelt and passionate, and implored the Council to rethink their plans.
... The Chief Executive, shamefully, decided to only allow an Executive Board Member to speak - obviously in support of the Council's plans to close the centre. It was the most outragous display of council 'business' I have seen to date. This was why I was there, and why I was filming - people need to know what is going on in that chamber. That is also why they don't want anyone to record it, either ...
I was asked to leave, by the Chairman and the Chief Executive. I said that I was not doing anything wrong, it is not against the law, and no even in their standing orders (rules for meetings). As I didn't leave, the Chief Executive and the Chair called the police, and then adjourned the meeting. I tried to argue my point but was then arrested in the public gallery for 'breaching the peace'. I was taken outside the door, handcuffed, searched, my phone taken, and marched out to the waiting police cars."
"Oh dear. I wonder if, somewhere in Broken Barnet, a little moustachioed senior council officer is rubbing his hands with glee, checking the number of the local police station, and looking forward to the next council meeting?
'MetPro' Audit Committee (scandal info. is here)
Thursday 16th June, 6.30pm,
Hendon Town Hall
"On Jacqui's blog, there is an appropriate quote from George Orwell:
"Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness."
Telegraph web site:
"The arrest has sparked outrage on Twitter and blogs, with Richard Wilson, the author and free speech campaigner, writing that: "In Carmarthenshire, this is what democracy looks like."
"Mrs Thompson said that the support of users of the micro-blogging site had been "brilliant", adding that it had brought a local story to national attention. Tweets on the subject are being marked with the "hashtag" #daftarrest, with hundreds of people commenting on the actions of the council and police. Mrs Thompson's Twitter account has gained hundreds of new followers."
See: "Barnet Council's refusal to allow citizen journalists could breach European Convention on Human Rights - resident's solicitor to Barnet council"