In the 60s/70s, a fellow trainee teacher told me, the tactic at demos when the police arrived was to call "Chicks up front!"* and have the girls form a protective cordon for the male hairies. The assumption was that the police wouldn't beat up girls (not a safe bet in France, I think).
Now, in London, near the Mother of Parliaments, a 17-year-old girl can be arrested, charged, taken to a police station and regularly woken up at the low point of her circadian rhythm in order to tempt her to make a statement without the benefit of legal representation. All this, simply for carrying a placard. My country shames me.
Anybody reading, who has any influence with the powers that be, please communicate our shame, chagrin and anger.
*corroborated here - and either inspired by, or inspiring, the Viet Cong according to "DreadPirateRoberts" (see his April 30, 2008 5:04 pm comment here)