Met police ban Fitwatch student protest site

A web site that offered anti-government protestors advice on escaping detection has been taken down on the orders of The Metropolitan Police.

The move comes after a blog post was published on the Fitwatch website, offering advice to students who were worried about the possibility of facing police action following last week's protest at the Millbank complex.

Protestors occupied the roof to protest at planned increases in student tuition fees after breaking windows to enter the complex, which houses the headquarters of the governing Conservative Party. Police were involved in a number of violent clashes with protestors.

A blog post on Fitwatch following the protest advised students to remain calm and not to hand themselves in to the police, but to change their appearance and avoid similar planned protests.

Metropolitan Police made a formal request on Monday to the site's web hosting provider, Justhost.com, to take Fitwatch down.

An earlier, informal request had been made to the company by the Met's public order unit, C11.

In its letter, which was seen by the Guardian newspaper, the Met told Justhost.com:

"We hereby request [you] de-host this website for a minimum period of 12 months. The website is providing explicit advice to offenders following a major demonstration in central London.

"The demonstration was marred by violence and several subjects have already been arrested, with a major police operation under way to identify and arrest further offenders."

Fitwatch was set up in 2007 to campaign against what it sees as the heavy-handed tactics of the Metropolitan Police's Forward Intelligence Teams used to photograph protestors.

The 'offending' post has since been re-published on thousands of other websites outside the UK, and beyond the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Police.

A list of them is provided at Indymedia, should you feel so inclined.