11 July 2021 — Political Concern
A Hackney reader draws attention to the ham-fisted action, recorded on a video of CCTV footage shared on Instagram by artist Damien Meade. It shows police forcing entry to Antepavilion, an East London multi-arts complex, on Friday, 25 June and a large number of police entering.
The focus of the raid was a rooftop installation (below): ‘All Along the Watchtower’, It is alleged that the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, believed Extinction Rebellion was storing the bamboo structures for their #FreeThePress action. The Antepavilion building’s owner and landlord Russell Gray, and four others were arrested and later released under investigation.
The Metropolitan Police news website had headlined preparations for weekend of protest activity in central London. It should actually have said that it was preparing to counter protest activity this weekend.
Part of the statement, released on the day of the raid said:
The Met have taken proactive action to prevent and reduce criminal disruption [by Extinction Rebellion] which we believe was intended for direction at media business locations over the weekend.
Twelve people have been arrested at three locations in London. During the arrests, a number of items were seized by officers, including bamboo structures, lock-on equipment and other items which could be used to cause criminal damage and obstructions.
The raid, conducted under Section 18 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, shocked the artistic and architecture communities and the general public:
“I mean, it doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to realise that we’re an arts organisation and we have no connection with Extinction Rebellion,” Gray told The Art Newspaper.