[g8-sheffield] Letter to G8 alternatives
amparo2yo at telefonica.net
Mon May 30 21:36:45 BST 2005
This letter may well be known by its recipients by now!
I am transcribing it (as it was drafted in February this year). since i
think we have some g8-alternatives representatives in sheffield dissent
as well and on this mailing list...
> Dear G8 Alternatives,
> Firstly an introduction: we are the G8 Legal Support Group. The Legal
> Support group was set up in July 2004 as a “working group” of the Dissent
> Network of whom you’ll be aware. We have a website with more information
> about us at : www.g8legalsupport.info.
> We have members with many years of collective experience who have provided
> legal monitoring and support for such groups as the Legal Defence &
> Monitoring Group ( www.ldmg.org.uk/ ) in London, who have monitored the
> annual London Mayday celebrations, DSEI as well as numerous other events;
> and also members involved in legal support for Trident Ploughshares
> (www.tridentploughshares.org/ ) activities and supporting those arrested
> during direct action at Faslane Naval Base. Additionally, both groups take
> part in court monitoring for those charged with offences, together with
> other acts of solidarity as part of their follow up work.
> While we continue to attend Dissent Network gatherings and remain its
> “Legal Working Group” we consider it important that legal support is
> co-ordinated across the range of protests and demonstrations being planned
> for the summit, regardless of the organisation that calls it. This is why
> we would like to establish communication and coordination with G8
> Alternatives. As one of the networks organising against the summit, we
> feel it is vital that the issue of legal monitoring, support and
> solidarity for anyone arrested is tackled. We note that you would also
> consider this a priority in your appeal for solicitors that features
> prominently on your website. We too are in the process of establishing
> links with solicitors. This is an example of an area where we are
> concerned that we do not end up duplicating each others work.
> Following a meeting of some of our members recently, we identified this
> and a number of other areas that we would like to discuss with you and
> reach some common agreement on. These include:
> • The formation of a singular, co-ordinated legal support structure for
> the duration of the summit
> • Whether you would be able to distribute our printed “Guide to Scots Law,
> Police Powers etc” through your networks
> • The co-ordination and logistics of setting up a Legal Support office (we
> are in the process of finding and setting one up)
> • Recruitment of legal observers to monitor the summit demonstrations
> (volunteers do not need prior legal knowledge, we will be holding training
> sessions for legal observers prior to the summit
> • Identification issues for legal volunteers ie. We will be wearing orange
> hi-vis vests clearly marked “Legal Observer”. Therefore we would obviously
> need to be clearly distinguishable from, and not confused with, vests that
> march “stewards” may wear.
> We would be interested in setting up a meeting with G8A in the very near
> future to discuss these issues and any that you may also have.
> In the meantime I attach our working principles which we hope you will
> feel able to support. We are contactable by email at
> g8legalsupport at riseup.net if you have any queries.
> We look forward to hearing back from and meeting with you
> In solidarity,
> G8 Legal Support Group
> WORKING PRINCIPLES
> 1. We give unconditional support to anyone arrested as a result of
> participation in protests or actions against the G8. We are not the judge
> and jury of the validity or otherwise of the tactics of protesters.
> 2. The role of legal observers is to observe, gather evidence and witnesses.
> 3. Legal observers will not mediate between protesters and the police or
> negotiate with the police.
> 4. Legal observers are volunteers with no special legal status.
> 5. Legal observers are not necessarily trained lawyers and the advice
> given by legal observers is confined to the advice given by the group as a
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