Whatever your view on detaining protesters using ‘kettling’, you’d like to think that you could avoid being trapped for hours for protesting peacefully about something important to you.
Anti-student-fee and anti-cut protesters have been making ingenious, collaborative uses of their mobile phones to stay a step ahead of the police.
By using text messages and smart phone apps, they report the movements and tactics of the police in real time back to a central team of volunteers. These volunteers then distill the information to produce a map showing which routes to avoid, where kettles are forming or in progress, and the quickest route out of trouble.
The first few times this happened, it did so very much on an ad-hoc basis, but now efforts are being pooled to create ‘Sukey‘, a set of mobile tools to help peaceful protesters stay informed on marches and demos. It also includes a feature for the police to broadcast messages to protesters in the spirit of co-operation – a feature that the police have yet to use.
In the near future, direct action will be less about numbers and force, and more about who has the most accurate information the quickest. A battle protesters are definitely winning at the moment.