UK Authorities close down anti-police blog

Police force suspension of website that offered advice to students involved in last week’s rioting

London Students Protest – Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP

Paul Lewis
Guardian

Scotland Yard has forced the closure of an anti-police blog which was being used to disseminate advice to protesters pictured at the student fees demonstration.

The website Fitwatch was suspended after the its hosting company received contact from C011, the Metropolitan’s public order branch, stating that the blog was “being used to undertake criminal activities”.

The move appears to have taken place after a blog posted on the website gave guidance to students who feared they might be arrested for their involvement in the occupation of the Millbank office complex, which houses the Tory party headquarters.

A largely peaceful march against the proposed increase in tuition fees turned violent on Wednesday when a minority of the 50,000 students targeted Millbank.

Around 200 entered the building and some accessed the roof. During a period of rioting, windows and furniture were smashed and, in the most serious act of violence, a fire extinguisher was thrown towards police from the roof.

The Fitwatch blogpost, which last night had reappeared on several other websites, recommended that students “get rid” of clothes they wore at the demonstration and change their appearance.

“Perhaps now is a good time for a makeover,” said the post. “Get a haircut and colour, grow a beard, wear glasses. It isn’t a guarantee, but may help throw them off the scent.”

Hours later, the Met’s “e-crime unit” informed Fitwatch’s website hosting service – JustHost.com – that the blog was being used to attempt to pervert the course of justice by providing guidance to “offenders”.

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