Thursday, October 9, 2014

Justice in the land of the Toblerone

Say what you like about the Guardian (and people generally do), but they can cover instances of over-zealous policing particularly well.

The latest comes from a rather unlikely quarter though, with business editor Andrew Clark starting the day as an accredited correspondent covering George Osborne's speech at the Davos summit, but somehow managing to end it with his hands tied behind his back in an underground car park detained by Swiss riot police.

Andrew Clark clearly isn't used to the Paul Lewis cop-baiting routine - his surreptitious Blackberry shots came out decidedly blurry - but when push came to shove, he knew what to do.

One by one, we were taken upstairs to the police station, at a rate of perhaps one every 15 minutes. After an hour or so, a policeman finally listened to my appeals and, examining my passport and press card, took me upstairs. I was photographed, mugshot-style, holding a number. & nbsp;
Then an English-speaking senior officer ordered me to delete any pictures taken on the train, and to rip out any pages from my notebook relating to the incident. I declined, asking him whether it was truly illegal in Switzerland to take pictures of the police.
He replied that policing the World Economic Forum was a ""special zone"" and that ""special rules"" applied. ""You have one minute. You can do this and go or, if you don't, you stay here,"" he said. & nbsp;
Again demurring, I asked to make a phone call – which prompted the assembled police to go into a huddle. Instead, the senior officer reached for his phone himself and made a long, animated call in German. More discussion ensued when he had hung up. Then he strolled over and he snapped: ""You can go back to your country.""
Well played.

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