A small minority got pissed off about my comment about disobeying an order of the Police. The fact is that despite what people think, the police are NOT your friends, and the police do have the monopoly of force. However, the Police are governed by the laws they are supposed to uphold. This won’t protect you from getting beaten up by the cops, but this knowledge will help you avoid the following in certain cases:
- Criminal Charges</li>
Remember that I'm not a lawyer. I'm someone who has experience dealing with the police, and knows how the Charter of Rights and Freedoms work. First thing everyone should do is find some form of legal support. I use either the arrest line, old lawyer's numbers, or the BCCLA number to help me out with this, depending on the context.
Here's some scenarios where you can legally comply with the police:
COP: Excuse me
COP: Can I see your ID?
You: No, you may not! Am I being detained
COP: No, but....
You: OK, Bye!
In this scenario, we practiced our right against unreasonable search and seizure. This doesn't work if you are in a motor vehicle or on a bicycle, but this is not complying with a police officer's request to see your ID. It's your right, and it's protected under the charter. The same goes for searching any bag without a reason. Here's another way to legally disobey a police officer:
COP: We just want to ask questions
You: Am I being detained?
You: OK, Bye
You don't have to talk with the police just because they ask. Anything you say can and will be used against you if you are charged with an offense! This is what determines whether or not we live in a police state. Don't say anything to the police, since you know for certain that it is being recorded.
OK, those are the legal non-compliance, time to talk about methods of non-complaince that are not legal. These may include the following:
- Protest marches on the street!</li>
- Sit-ins on public or private property</li>
- Human Chain</li>
- People chaining themselves to structures</li>
- Going limp, dragging feet during arrest</li>
- Hunger Strikes</li>
- Banner Drops</li> </ul> Protest Marches on the Street</strong> In Vancouver, this happens so often that people think this is legal. In fact, it is not! It's technically a violation of the BC Motor Vehicles Act, and is the most basic, entry-level act of Civil Disobedience that can be practiced. The fact is that people can take the street and march because the people want it, and the police are afraid of enforcing that law because it would be internationally criticized. However, in some cases, marches do end up being attacked by the police if the police believe that there is a "Criminal Element" in the crowd. This is usually based on shoddy intelligence at best, and often violates the rights and freedoms of everyone involved, as we can see with the G20 and the police beating down all the peaceful protesters who sat in the street. I honestly don't think sitting in the middle of the street and singing "Oh Canada" is violent, but apparently some people do. This brings us to our next portion Sit-Ins</strong> A Sit-In is where someone sits down and does not move. This may be on a logging road to protest logging, in a bank to protest capitalism, or on the lawn of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, or in the Parliament Building itself. The important thing to note that when dealing with this tactic that the person engaging in this does NOT accidentally hit the police when they get pryed apart, since this can land them an assault charge. Human Chain</strong> The human chain is a variant on the Sit-In. This is where people hold hands or grapple onto each other so that they are harder to move. The police then have to move in and pull these people apart. This is more successful than the simple sit in, since the police have to escalate, and can't just throw you on a tarp and haul you into the police truck. This is where Pain Compliance tactics will be applied. People chained to structures</strong> This takes place in the woods as someone sitting in a tree and living up there while a logging company who wants to cut down the tree is frustrated. However people have chained themselves to train tracks, oil tankers, buildings or any other stationary structure that they could find. This forces the police to get the Jaws of Life out and remove the structure. Going limp, dragging feet</strong> This is mostly a symbolic tactic. Instead of walking with the police, do what toddlers do when they don't want to go somewhere. Go limp and drag your feet. This will force the police to exert more force in the arrest such that they have to pick you up. This also emphasizes that you are not the violent person in the confrontation with the police. Hunger Strike</strong> This works if you are in jail. In jail, the majority of your rights are taken away, but the one thing that they can't easily take away is your right to eat or not. Hunger Strikes are a good way for people who are in custody to raise awareness and attract attention to their situation. The escalation by the state is extremely harsh, as the state has been known to force-feed people who have been part of a hunger strike in the guise of "Saving their life". This means shoving a tube through the nose or mouth, and into the gut and pumping something into the stomach. Banner Drops</strong> This is a favourite tactic of groups like Greenpeace. Take a large banner, find the largest building/bridge/whatever, and then deploy a large banner. Nobody gets hurt, but the message gets out there so that people can see it. There will most likely be arrests for people trespassing on Private Property to execute the banner drop. There is much debate over the effectiveness of these tactics, all of which have been tried and tested by numerous activists groups. However, none of these tactics have been defined as violent. Again, if you are confronting the state and corporations, you have to at some point confront the state and corporations. This is obviously incomplete, but I decided to go with what mainstream groups like Greenpeace and Amnesty would consider non-violent protest. If people consider these tactics violent, then they probably have no place at a protest, and would probably be scoffed at in any major political party in Canada, or anywhere else for that matter.