Kettling of children at tuition fees protest Challenged

Adam Castle said 60 students from their school were kettled for about eight hours last November

Three north London schoolchildren are challenging the Metropolitan Police’s decision to ‘kettle’ pupils during the tuition fees protests in Whitehall.

Up to 60 pupils from Acland Burghley School joined the protest on 24 November, where the students said they were contained for about eight hours.

Sam Eaton and Adam Castle, both in Year 11, and Adam’s younger sister claim the police action infringed their human rights and the Children Act 2004.

The Met refused to comment on the case.

The police force has previously defended its use of the containment tactic.

In April the High Court, ruling in a case brought by two activists relating to the G20 London protests in 2009, said there was “no reasonable” justification for kettling.

The Met said it will not comment on the latest case as it plans to appeal against the decision in the G20 case.

Children ‘demoralised’

The children will tell the High Court that kettling broke the laws of the European Convention of Human Rights, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Children Act 2004, “mainly the right to protest and the safety of children”.

Adam, 16, said the children had been given permission by their parents to attend the protest, but the group had been kettled within an hour of arriving, “with no food and very little water”.

Thousands of students protested against plans to raise university tuition fees

He said: “Everyone was just cold, huddling up together, people just squeezing up to keep warm.

“It seemed like a punishment to go on protest and everyone was just demoralised.

“As children we can’t vote, so one of the best ways for us to voice our opinion is through protest and if that’s stopped or inhibited by kettling then where are we left?”

Adam’s counsel Michael Oswald, from Bhatt Murphy Solicitors, said he appreciated the Met had the “difficult job” of policing the series of protests, some of which turned violent.

“But I don’t think what we saw up there could possibly justify the kettling of thousands of children for in excess of eight hours.”

The case is due to be heard in the court in July.

BBC

That’s the way to go, challenge them through the courts every step of the way.

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