Tag: Kettling

Kettling and the Fear of Revolution

In November 2010, British students staged a series of demonstrations in several cities of the UK and Northern Ireland. Organised by the National Campaign against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC), thousands marched against spending cuts to further education and an increase of the cap on tuition fees by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government. The 2010 protests have marked something of a turning point in modern British history: the political protest was back. After the 2003 anti-Iraq war protest in London which attracted almost a million people, the 2010 protests showed once more that it is the political protest that shapes the world for the better. But if these protests made dissensus visible, and posited it at the heart of British politics, they also gave police an opportunity to widely use a scare tactic, ensuring that protest against the status quo is effective. The tactic is called ‘kettling’, which so easily turns a legitimate protest into a ‘violent disorder’ […]

Who’s Breaching Whose Peace?

On 14 April 2011, the High Court of England and Wales ruled, in R (on the application of Joshua Moos and Hannah McClure) v The Commissioner of the Police of the Metropolis, that the police had acted unlawfully in “containing” (aka kettling) certain G20 protestors on 1 April 2009. It made clear that the police…

Kettling and the Rule of Law

Lord Justice Bingham once described the Rule of Law as ‘the cornerstone of a democratic society.’ Although on the face of it this constitutional principle might be associated with the idea that law and order reign, the doctrine’s deeper implications concern how power is exercised in a modern constitutional regime. More specifically, a state that…

Poems, Kettles and Monopolies


A short poem inspired by the student protests, mainly on the ‘kettling of kettling’ idea used by friends and supporters of injured protestor Alfie Meadows.  They created something of a ‘Russian doll’ effect by surrounding the police at their headquarters at Scotland Yard.  Also some underlying thoughts on the state’s monopoly of violence. Dolly Caught in a series of monologues, an…

A Note on Violence


There is a determined constituency within the new student movement who do not rule out the use of physical force in protest. The damage they incur is far from random vandalism. The courage they display in refusing to be intimidated by the increasingly brutal tactics of the police has garnered some recognition from others within the movement. Yet the issue remains controversial and potentially divisive.

The state of kettling


Kettling is a terrible tactic both for those caught between the police lines, and for those who fear such a fate. But perhaps rather than attempting to frustrate the strategy through legal means, our plan of action should be to show its incapacity to work on the streets.