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Monkey see Monkey Do Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 05:33 PM
Original message
Terrorism Act used against elderly protester at Labour conference


The Labour Party has apologised after an 82-year-old member was thrown out of its annual conference for heckling.

Walter Wolfgang, from London, was ejected from the hall after shouting "nonsense" as Foreign Secretary Jack Straw defended Iraq policy.

Police later used powers under the Terrorism Act to prevent Mr Wolfgang's re-entry, but he was not arrested.

Party chairman Ian McCartney criticised Mr Wolfgang's behaviour but said the way he was ejected was "inappropriate".

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/4291388.stm

Per Newsnight, this is the front page story of tomorrows Mail & Telegraph. I can only find the above story online & am not familiar enough with the Terrorism Act to know what exactly it was evoked.

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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 06:20 PM
Response to Original message
1. I don't know the act, but its use in this case sounds like bullshit to me
According to this webpage, it defines terrorism as action which:

(a) involves serious violence against a person,
(b) involves serious damage to property,
(c) endangers a person's life, other than that of the person committing the action,
(d) creates a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public, or
(e) is designed seriously to interfere with or seriously to disrupt an electronic system.

http://www.answers.com/topic/terrorism-act-2000


And the act allows police to stop you if there's the threat of such action. How they can ever pretend it could apply in this case, I can't tell. I would have thought they'd be able to keep him out of the hall just by saying the hall wasn't a public place, and the organisers didn't want him there. Why the act was needed, who knows.
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Monkey see Monkey Do Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 07:58 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Thanks for that
It was used at the arms fair protests (last year or the year before), which was dubious at best but only Channel 4 news seemed interested.
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fedsron2us Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 07:16 PM
Response to Original message
2. The joys of New Labour
Edited on Wed Sep-28-05 07:26 PM by fedsron2us
Once upon a time the party's leaders, such as Harold Wilson, actually used to relish verbal sparring with hecklers from the floor. Now they can not even handle the challenge from an 82 year old man. At least the event aroused a few delegates from their torpor to complain about the disgraceful way this individual was treated.

On edit - I see the Labour goon squad was also seized the MP Austin Mitchell's camera and deleted some quite innocuous photos from it.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4291424.stm

Seems the party has forgotten that they are supposed to be Socialists not National Socialists. I wonder if anyone will considering consulting 'my learned friends' over these incidents. This conference is rapidly becoming a public relations disaster.
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non sociopath skin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 02:59 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. The whole thing was stomach-churning.
I can remember when American political conventions looked staged and British ones (Tories excepted, of course)were fresh, democratic and spontaneous.

The Democratic Convention last year was what the Labour Conference USED to be like. All the NuLabFest lacks is Uncle Joe and his pipe.

The Skin
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tjwmason Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 03:36 AM
Response to Original message
5. Here's the Torygraph article
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/20...

Labour had to apologise to an 82-year-old activist last night after he was roughly thrown out of the party conference for heckling Jack Straw on Iraq.

Walter Wolfgang, 82, was ejected from the conference for heckling
The leadership faced angry protests from MPs and party members who accused it of stifling dissent and abandoning traditions of free speech.

The Foreign Secretary was telling the conference that Britain was in Iraq "for one reason only" - to help the elected Iraqi government - when Walter Wolfgang shouted: "That's a lie and you know it."

Mr Wolfgang, a refugee from Nazi Germany and a Labour Party member since 1948, was immediately surrounded by security staff in full view of the television cameras and ejected from the hall in Brighton as officials revoked his pass.

-cont'd-
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RogueTrooper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 04:26 AM
Response to Original message
6. And this morning we have a
convienent Terra 'Lert.

I think new Labour has just jumped the couch.
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mr blur Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 05:27 AM
Response to Original message
7. Great - Escape from the Nazis,
and end up being thrown around by Bliar's goons.
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 08:23 AM
Response to Original message
8. More: the police said they used section 44 of the act
I posted on this thread in GD about it.

The police were apparently asking for his personal details (which isn't covered in the act); but what those sections of the act show is that any area (even a whole police force area) can be declared, by a senior officer, somewhere where the police can stop and search anyone, without any suspicion. This particular policeman apparently thought it also meant he could do a "papers, please" routine.
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fedsron2us Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 03:02 PM
Response to Reply #8
13. The lawyers interviewed on Channel 4 news agreed with you.
Edited on Thu Sep-29-05 03:03 PM by fedsron2us
They felt the police were abusing the Terrorism Act, and that Walter Wolfgang might have grounds for a formal complaint about his treatment. I suppose once again we should be asking Blair and company to explain exactly what 'freedoms' such actions are supposed to protect.
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 04:38 PM
Response to Reply #13
16. From Charles Clarke's speech on Monday:
"Theirs is a nihilism which means that we would only cease to be their target if we were to renounce all those values of freedom and liberty which this Party and so many more have fought to extend over decades."

Ironically, although he meant it as "we'll never give up our freedoms, which they hate", what New Labour seems intent on is precisely giving up the freedoms and liberties that we have.
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LeftishBrit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 12:26 PM
Response to Original message
9. So any form of dissent is terrorism nowadays?
I don't see how that comes under ANY of the provisions of the Terror Act. Shouting 'Nonsense' isn't even abusive - I've heard worse things at academic conferences!

It used to be traditional to throw rotten eggs at politicians! Though no rotten egg could smell worse than New Labour do at the moment.
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D-Notice Donating Member (820 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 01:44 PM
Response to Original message
10. Found these comments on the
Edited on Thu Sep-29-05 01:49 PM by english guy
BBC's Have Your Say:

It was totally right for Wolfgang to be ejected. He is typical of the old lefty image New Labour want to get rid of. He has no place in a modern party like ours and I only wish the stewards had chucked out the rest of them. Better still, we should send them off to Iraq to see how they would solve the situation.
Jeff Graves, Bromley, England


For once I'm struggling to work out whether this is sacrasm or not... :shrug:

How about this one:

Anti-terrorist legislation was rushed in on the back of massive public support. A majority of people are in favour of ID cards. After the London bombings, a majority thought the government had been too lenient on 'Preachers of Hate'. Attacks on liberty are popular (and therefore democratic). Unless people realize what they are advocating, the mistreatment of Walter Wolfgang will seem like small fry.
Mike H, London, U.K.


or this:

No, it is not acceptable for people to heckle. What happens if 20, 50, 200 people heckle? No one can hear anyone else and those who want to hear the speaker could not hear him. Regardless of age Mr Wolfgang should've remained quiet during the speech then he is free to voice his displeasure.
Jon, Manchester


This guy makes a good point:

Throwing him out for a harmless heckle is bad enough - but using the Prevention of Terrorism Act to stop him getting back in is far more alarming. If we say "well done Walter" will we be had up for glorifying terrorism? Good grief - we really are on the slippery slope. The last possibility of me ever voting for this Labour Party went out the door with Mr Wolfgang.
Frank, Bristol, UK
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fedsron2us Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 02:24 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. I suspect some of those comments on the BBC site
Edited on Thu Sep-29-05 02:36 PM by fedsron2us
were posted by New Labour stooges. The recent TV documentary on the party showed that they had a small army of apparatchiks engaged in spreading disinformation in the media. I am afraid they are wasting their time on this issue. It is a massive unmitigated PR disaster. I am pretty sure their opponents will be storing those photos of poor old Walter being manhandled and frog marched out of the hall for use on a rainy day. The organisers of the conference have handled affairs within the hall so badly that at one stage a complete boycott by sections of the press was threatened.

http://www.journalism.co.uk/news/story1533.shtml

The way the party has been run has been rotten for some time but now the stench of decay is becoming undisguisable.
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D-Notice Donating Member (820 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 02:29 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. That's what I was thinking
I'd dread to think that some people are deluded enough to actually agree with the stuff they post...
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Briar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 04:33 PM
Response to Reply #12
15. These people sound like the Americans
who criticise Cindy Sheehan for being so lacking in middle class respectability as get herself arrested.

And while we are on the subject of the BBC and reactionary opinions, why is News Night promoting the death penalty?
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Monkey see Monkey Do Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 07:10 PM
Response to Reply #15
19. What's that about Newsnight & the death penalty?
(I watched Elizabeth I)
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Briar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 12:42 PM
Response to Reply #19
22. Newsnight
invited Christopher Hitchens and A.N. Other (it's two days ago!) in to discuss bringing back the death penalty. Apparently they feel there is a groundswell of feeling in favour of it, given the failure of the Great British Public to react to the summary execution of an innocent man on the tube.
Elizabeth 1 is on again tonight, by the way, at 7.00.

Apparently it features a marvellous scene depicting the sort of public executions which the Sun and its ilk would like to revive for all those demonised groups it feels the Human Rights Act unjustifiably protects.

And since Bliar is equally contemptuous of the protections of the Human Rights Act, and of the effort to prevent the innocent from unjust punishment, he presumably would be just as keen.
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mrfrapp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-02-05 08:46 AM
Response to Reply #22
27. Illogical
Edited on Sun Oct-02-05 08:47 AM by mrfrapp
"Apparently they feel there is a groundswell of feeling in favour of it, given the failure of the Great British Public to react to the summary execution of an innocent man on the tube."

What are they expecting? Do they think that unless a revolution takes place then the people approve? I've not met a single person who approves of the Menezes killing so Hitchens' conclusion is based on a false premise. Hitchens at his illogical best.

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Briar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-02-05 09:17 AM
Response to Reply #27
28. I don't understand
why the other delegates didn't walk out in disgust when Wolfgang was bundled out. I don't understand why we sit around and just accept these cynical acts of political brutality.
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Taxloss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-03-05 08:23 AM
Response to Reply #28
32. They probably didn't know what was going on. n/t
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Monkey see Monkey Do Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-02-05 09:17 AM
Response to Reply #22
29. Thanks.
I'm assuming it was the Huntley ruling that sparked them off.

I saw Ann Widecombe being interviewed about a year ago & although she admitted to being in favour of the death penalty, she fully acknowledged that its time was long past. Quite why Hitchens opinion is sought on anything is beyond me.

(Incidentally, I caught a bit of See Hear yesterday. They were interviewing 2 young, deaf, muslims who were voicing serious concerns about a policeman asking them to stop, them not hearing & getting shot as a result. It's frightening to be living in a country where that's a realistic anxiety.)
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Briar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-03-05 08:02 AM
Response to Reply #29
31. Oh dear
I put down the wrong Hitchens. I just noticed. It's the one who lives in the UK now, Peter. He didn't look particularly sober either...

Sorry.
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Mr Creosote Donating Member (640 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 05:22 PM
Response to Reply #11
17. Every time Sky News has one of those polls
you know the sort of thing "Camilla Brooke-Ferret YES or NO" - I imagine dozens of little labour nazis feverishly pressing their buttons at 25p a go to get the result that Tony wants.
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non sociopath skin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 04:03 PM
Response to Original message
14. My mam - 82 last Tuesday, as it happens, and Labour all her life ...
... Couldn't believe it.

But I guess she's another of the old Lefties that "we" need to get rid of...

The Skin
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sweetheart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 06:42 PM
Response to Original message
18. Its a very serious omen
Forget the apologies, they took a loyal citizen who is representing God
almighty and Jesus Christ by heckling bliar, and threw him out. They
took a man who knows better than blair, a wiser element of the british
public and then threw him out. It is an omen, a reflection of the
weather, and the control freaks are throwing out sensibility, tossing out
wise advise and pursuing their narrow course.

And on edit (labours), an apology was issued and everything is forgiven,
except that nothing is forgiven, and the war elephant has never left
the stage.

http://politics.guardian.co.uk/labour2005/story/0,16394...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/cartoons/0,7371,337484,00.htm...

Like bush's neocons, the blairrites have been gored by the insanity of
the iraq war, become but regional yes-men to a crime against humanity,
and throwing out the wisdom of the holocaust is a profound error in
judgement that they should reflect upon, as it is their free choice
to not follow the path they've created.

There is free choice to change the whole world right now. Its not
just an issue of 9/11 or 7/7 or any other date... but now, the world
is made by our free will, and the war was a bad bad bad decision,
a bad choice and blair should take responsibility and step down.

Nice that he has done good for the poor... but he should step down
and let another wiser person make peace... it is very very very
worrysome that they would, no matter the rationale, throw the
icon of the error of ww2 out of the room "by accident". Danger
danger will robinson... an omen of ill tidings. They need to
change course radically to stay with the plot, and i don't think
they've got the juice left in 'em... fatigue and all.
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T_i_B Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 07:13 AM
Response to Original message
20. You know, I've been very rude about the Labour party in the past
After growing up in Sheffield, with its appalling Labour controlled city council I was never exactly pro-Labour to start with but PFI, Iraq, tuition fees, and the Millbank tendency amongst other things have prompted me to be very rude about Tony Blair and his supporters in the Labour party during my time on DU.

I have spend quite a while arguing that the Labour party has been taken over by the Millbank tendency permanently, and that the Labour party is incapable of reforming itself. However, in the past few months I have been becoming more disillusioned with the left and slightly more inclined towards Labour.

And then something like this happens which confirms all the nasty things I have ever said about the Labour party. :grr: This is utterly disgusting even by Labour's low standards. I cannot see any reason to vote for a party who behave like that. Why does the Labour party even bother having a conference in the first place if they are so unwilling to listen to their own members?
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Taxloss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 01:21 PM
Response to Reply #20
23. I agree wholeheartedly with this:
"Why does the Labour party even bother having a conference in the first place if they are so unwilling to listen to their own members?"

Spot on. Although it was pleasing to see the reaction of the Labour grassroots, backing Wolfgang - and in the end Labour will renew itself from the grassroots up, not from Gordon down.
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fedsron2us Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 03:44 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. I am sure that some people in the Labour leadership
Edited on Sat Oct-01-05 03:49 PM by fedsron2us
would be only to happy to do away with conference. In fact sometimes I wonder whether the current government does not want to ditch elections so that they can just rule according to the divine right of King Tony. Of course should that occur then active resistance would not be 'terrorism' but every citizens civic duty. As Thomas Jefferson so aptly put it 'Rebellion to tyrants is obediance to God'. Or as the Declaration of Independence states

"Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established, should not be changed for light and transient causes; and, accordingly, all experience shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But, when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security."

I expect Charles Clarke will be wanting that particular passage expunged from the history books.
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Taxloss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 03:53 PM
Response to Reply #24
25. No, they'll never ditch conference, it's week-long party political
broadcast ... if done well. The Tories don't DO anything at their conference but speechify and rally the troops, but they still have a conference. The Labour leadership might want to neuter the conference - they've already taken steps that way - but never scrap it.
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fedsron2us Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 05:53 PM
Response to Reply #25
26. They won't want to repeat last week's conference in a hurry
Edited on Sat Oct-01-05 05:59 PM by fedsron2us
It was a PR disaster. The picture of Walter Wolfgang being manhandled by the conference stewards is going to be replayed again and again by Labours opponents in their propaganda. Tory conferences have always been as much social as political events so they have usually been predictable affairs. I do not think even the current leadership election is going to change that situation particularly as all the current Conservative factions positions on the various issues have been repeated a thousand times before in previous contests. As for the Labour leadership. its treatment of elements of the press in Brighton last week suggest that it has lost even the ability to utilise conference as means of spinning its agenda. I think the whole situation was best summmed up by David Clark, the former Labour government's former adviser, in an article in the Guardian

The Labour Party is in urgent need of renewal and that cant happen until Blair has gone. The party that met in Brighton is visibly exhausted. More than a third of constituencies failed to send a delegate and the ones that did turn up seemed lost and demoralised. Membership is below 200,000 and falling, and the base that is left is ageing and largely inactive. Labour is in a state of incipient organisational collapse. With Blair still in charge, next years local elections threaten the sort of wipeout that would leave Labour effectively moribund in large parts of the country.


http://politics.guardian.co.uk/labour/comment/0,9236,15...
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T_i_B Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-03-05 06:58 AM
Response to Reply #25
30. Maybe if the TV cameras were taken away...
...then the parties might actually try and indulge in a bit of open debate?

But then again maybe the control freaks have too much control for that to happen anyway.
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Monkey see Monkey Do Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 10:39 AM
Response to Original message
21. More conference control-freakery
(that doesn't really deserve a new thread)

Channel 4 crew barred from Labour conference

Channel 4 has complained to the Labour party after a team from its flagship current affairs show Dispatches was banned from its annual conference.

Two days after an 82-year-old delegate was forcibly ejected from the conference for heckling, Labour has again been accused of control freakery, this time by the broadcaster's head of news and current affairs, Dorothy Byrne.

Ms Byrne has sent a strongly worded letter to Jo Murray, Labour's chief press and broadcasting officer, after the Dispatches crew was refused entrance to the party's conference in Brighton earlier this week.

The team from independent production company Lion Television was initially given permission to attend Monday's speech by Gordon Brown. But when the crew arrived at the conference centre on Monday, it was informed that all Channel 4 documentary makers were banned.

(...)

"The team was initially given access and then refused entry," said a Channel 4 insider. "It seems to be a blanket ban on all documentary makers ever attending a Labour party conference, and this includes current affairs programmes like Dispatches.

http://media.guardian.co.uk/site/story/0,14173,1582237,...

--------------

Ann Black, a member of the NEC, criticised the heavy-handed security at conference which saw boiled sweets confiscated by security guards.

Ms Black was chairing the conference when Mr Wolfgang was finally allowed back into the conference on Thursday, and applauded him when he entered. She said the treatment of activists disagreeing with the leadership, and allegations of interference in the election of delegates to party committees, needed to be addressed.

"This was a PR dbcle. We have had two whole days taken up by this. People were not allowed to bring in sweets because they could be used as missiles but they were allowed to keep pound coins which could also be used as missiles. Last year we had a man who said he was sitting down for peace during conference. His pass was taken away. There's a question of where you draw the line here. This issue will be on the agenda at the next NEC meeting in November. It is an away day when we will be taking stock."

http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/article316362...
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D-Notice Donating Member (820 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-04-05 01:44 PM
Response to Original message
33. He wasn't the only one
http://news.scotsman.com/uk.cfm?id=2028602005

MORE than 600 people were detained under the Terrorism Act during the Labour party conference, it was reported yesterday.

Anti-Iraq war protesters, anti-Blairite OAPs and conference delegates were all detained by police under legislation that was designed to combat violent fanatics and bombers - even though none of them was suspected of terrorist links. None of those detained under Section 44 stop-and-search rules in the 2000 Terrorism Act was arrested and no-one was charged under the terrorism laws.
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