NEWS FROM CELTIC PRESS
A member of the Kernow Branch of the Celtic League and a previous Branch Secretary has lodged a complaint of harassment with the Devon and Cornwall Police Constabulary today (18th May 2012).
Mike Chappell, who was the Kernow Branch Secretary of the Celtic League between 2006 and 2011, was visited by police staff at his home last night who wanted to know what he was planning ahead of the visit to Cornwall of the Olympic torch tomorrow. Mr Chappell, who stepped down from the Kernow Branch Secretary role due to ill health, said that the call was “shocking” and contacted other members of the branch to warn them that they could also receive a visit.
The assistant general secretary of the League, Tony Leamon, also reported that he knew of three other people that had been visited by the police recently in relation to the Olympic torch, as it passes through Cornwall on the first leg of its UK tour. The general secretary of the League, Rhisiart Tal-e-bot, who lives in Cornwall, said that even though he can appreciate that the authorities want the relay to run smoothly, there was no need for the police to intimate people, adding:
“It is disappointing that such bullying tactics are being employed. If people want to protest in a peaceful way they should be allowed to, as part of the democratic process. It seems as though the Olympics has become less of a sporting contest and more of a corporate money making exercise sponsored by big business, with more security than a G8 Summit. Besides, not everyone is interested in or supports such an event taking place; the torch may reach London, but the event itself seems to have lost its way.”
Mr Chappell’s message to members is set out below.
“At around 5PM on Thursday 17th May, 2012, I was visited at home by two Police Community Support Officers (PCSO’S).
“Almost embarrassingly, one of them explained that they had been instructed to visit to inquire as to what my intentions were in respect of ‘the torch’.
“My puzzled face and question ‘What torch?’ seemed to cause utter confusion. I must admit that nothing could be further from my mind than the passage of the Olympic Torch through Kernow.
“I explained as much.
“During the evening, I was given to understand that chat on Facebook and Twitter confirmed that others had been home visited by representatives of the police. Apparently any criticism of the Olympic Games or the Olympic Torch procession merited home visits by the police.
“Postings then occurred on Northcliffe’s Media website ‘This Is Cornwall’ further confirmed that many others had been visited by the police. Mysteriously, these postings were removed by Northcliffe moderators overnight. This is hardly surprising in view of the blanket coverage of the Olympic Torch by newspapers in the Northcliffe Group.
“A survey being run by Northcliffe and open until Sunday 20th. May currently indicates 25% of respondents are interested in this event.
“I have lodged a formal complaint with Devon and Cornwall Police for harassment.”
The Olympic torch will arrive at RNAS Culdrose in Helston, Cornwall to be welcomed by English Sports/TV personalities and will then begin its 70-day relay throughout the UK, before arriving in London to open the Games on July 27.
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The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues.