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Confronting Street Racism: Know the Law

This has been republished from Cava Sunday’s tumblr. The website for Green and Black Cross can be found here. GBC run a weekly drop in to discuss legal issues – every Wednesday 12-6 at Freedom Bookshop. 

After Brexit, fears of a sharp spike in racism and xenophobia are sadly being confirmed. Don’t just share this online, discuss it with your mates IRL. We can’t beat the far right through ‘likes’. Lets build actual solidarity against racism. Here’s some tips for the road:

NOTE: Law of ENGLAND & WALES only.

  1. The Police are institutionally racist. Don’t rely on them to back you up.

  2. Before taking action, try and have a quick glance at escape routes and CCTV cameras. If you have to escape, try switching some items of clothing around.
  3. As a minimum, offer to walk someone to a place of safety if they’re the victim of abuse. Be mindful of people approaching from behind. Use light, shadow and reflections to your advantage. If you need to wait, do it with your back to a wall for 180° vision.
  4. If someone makes a verbal or physical threat of racist violence, balance that with steps to defend yourself/another against them. Legally, this is to prevent hate crime through “necessary and reasonable” action.
  5. This means more force might be justified against someone ‘bigger and uglier’ than yourself/another. Less force might be called for where the assailant could be seen as physically vulnerable. This means snap-judgements have to be made on age, for instance: the difference between a block and a strike. Intoxication either side can also affect the verdict. Remember you will be judged by the values of a racist justice system, not your mates.
  6. These ideas might be applicable to countering racist graffiti too. eg – if you regularly carry stationary with you, you might want to use a marker pen to cross out that swastika that’s been bothering you. Using keys to deface fascist stickers is definitely fair game.
  7.  If an intruder in your home/caravan/houseboat threatens attack, you have greater freedom to defend yourself as long as it isn’t “grossly disproportionate”.
  8. If you are arrested, SAY NO COMMENT to all questions except your name and an address. If you have injuries or medical needs tell the station doctor in as few words as possible: they work for the cops. CALL A TRUSTED LAWYER for free rather than taking a duty solicitor. When you get out, contact GBC or LDMG for free additional specialist legal support ASAP.


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