Human rights campaigners have accused the police of breaching civil liberties
as they gather intelligence on people planning to protest against the G8 summit.
Scotland Today has learned that detectives visited the homes of two activists
after learning of their involvement in protest groups.
A t-shirt brought detectives to Lesley Rogers' door. She was wearing it when
she was stopped by traffic police in Glasgow. The discussion quickly turned
to the G8.
She said: "That led us to have a discussion about what we were doing,
what was the opposition to G8 and we spoke about police brutality in previous
Lesley is involved with Dissent, one of the more radical groups planning protests
against the G8. It has made no secret of its desire to blockade roads near Gleneagles
and in cities where delegates are staying. Lesley told the traffic officers
that she has trained as a street medic - someone who could treat people who're
injured or take ill during demonstrations. A few days later detectives were
asking if she knew of anyone who was planning to attack the police.
She said: "I take part in many direct actions, whether it be with CND,
Dissent or any other network. They're completely peaceful, and they're non-violent
direct actions to raise awareness."
"I'm a mother of two I would not wish any harm on anybody and I certainly
wouldn't want to be caught up in anything."
There was a knock on another door in Glasgow - this time detectives wanted
to question Ashvin Devos. He had designed a website for G8 Alternatives, the
group which is hoping to march past Gleneagles Hotel on the opening day of the
summit. Again the police asked if he knew of plans for violence.
He said: "They weren't aggressive or anything like that. It was just the
information they already knew about me which was kind of worrying. They had
already accessed my e-mails and they were referring back to those during the
interview which was three hours long."
The police believe a small number of protesters intent on causing trouble are
heading to Scotland.
Chief Constable David Strang from the Association of Chief Police Officers
said: "We have been collecting information whether in the newspapers or
on websites and that helps us to plan for a safe and successful summit, so it
doesn't surprise me that people have been asked about their involvement, no."
Some believe all protesters are being tarred with the same brush as the extremists.
John Scott from the Scottish Human Rights Centre said: "I think it's happening
increasingly now. The right for peaceful protest is something that the authorities
are resentful of. I think it's an irritation to them."
Frances Curran MSP from the Scottish Socialist Party said: "I think it's
a creeping attack on our civil liberties. Bush is coming here and all of a sudden
we're finding our democratic rights under threat."
Lesley Rogers said: "The concern so far has been about violent people
coming to Gleneagles, well, there are violent people coming to Gleneagles. They
come as the leaders of G8."
Security experts say MI5 and MI6 will be monitoring hardline protesters in
Britain and abroad - the police will not comment on that - they say their number
one priority is ensuring the G8 summit is safe and secure.
Lesley Rodgers and Ashvin DeVos were interviewed by officers from Strathclyde
Police. Today the force said they were conducting on-going inquires and it would
be inappropriate to comment any further.