1 Apr 2009

G20 demonstrations marred by police violence

Just listening to a good report from Ch 4 news which asks 'did the met hype up threat of violence', hoping the cops let everyone go home, currently lots of people penned in

From Payam of Green Left

Peaceful demonstrators gathered today outside the Bank of England to press for a better world. The protesters arrived at the Bank of England from 4 different directions representing 4 horsemen of the apocalypse (red horse against War, green horse against Climate Chaos, silver horse against Financial Crimes and black horse against Land Enclosures and Borders).

The financial crisis has led to a great strength of feeling by demonstrating the shortcomings of neoliberal capitalism and has also led many to conclude that this is a historic moment of opportunity to push for change. The protest was very good natured with music, banners, dancing and impromptu speakers talking about their visions for a different world. A broad cross-section of society was represented including factory workers, teachers, cleaners, academics, nurses, unemployed people and pensioners all coming together to press for a change in system which has resulted in so much human suffering.

Sadly, the protest was marred by violent and provocative tactics used by the police in their attempts to contain demonstrators. Thousands of demonstrators including pregnant women and young children were ‘kettled’ in to a small area immediately outside the Bank of England with only those who had work ID for the local area or were NUJ members allowed out of the police blockades. Protesters were denied access to food, water and toilets for over 2 hours. A small minority of protesters trying to escape from the enclosure early on were arrested by the police. Furthermore, police on horseback appeared rapidly to prevent protestors advancing down a side street. The use of police on horseback against pedestrian demonstrators is wholly inapprorpiate and stokes up violence and fear in protestors unneccesarily.

Many police medics were present and did not speak out against the tactics: shame on them. Other police officers on the ground were invited to behave in a more human manner by some protesters but all (that I saw) followed orders that were patently unjust and unfair to peaceful protesters.

It was only after the police on horseback appearing (very suddenly) and the police running into the crowd and hitting people with battons that some protestors broke windows at the Royal Bank of Scotland to cheers from the majority of the crowd in that corner: such was the strength of feeling against both the system which has let the world down, and against the police who were detaining peaceful demonstrators for no just reason. Whilst I do not approve of violence as a solution to conflicts, it did not feel unjust that some protestors broke the windows of a bank that had presided over such gross misuse of funds. It was clear that there were no bank staff in the building who might have been physically hurt by the actions of that group of protestors. The financial loss to the bank pales into insignificance when compared to bonuses and pensions paid out to the management.

It was only due to active defense against such unjust imprisonment (in the form of large numbers of demonstrators pushing against the human police barrier in a non-violent way) that the police were overwhelmed by the numbers and some of the crowd was able to leave the area.

Several prominent Greens attended the protest including Cllr Romayne Pheonix (Lewisham) and Shan Oaks (parliamentary Candidate against David Davis in the Haltemprice and Howden by-election last year) and the response from the crowd to the Green Party banners was overwhelmingly positive. I am proud to have been part of such an important protest.

I will be writing to Green Party Assembly Member and member of the Metropolitan Police Authority, Jenny Jones, to describe my personal experiences of police violence and inapprorpriate tactics and would urge any others present to do the same. The wholly inapprorpriate tactics used by the police made peaceful protesters feel that they were doing something illegal and could have resulted in significant injury to both protestors and police had protestors not managed to break free. Some protestors remained behind with the radio saying that the barriers were only finally completely lifted at around 6:30pm.


At Bishopsgate, police confiscated tents from peaceful demonstrators trying to set up camp on the street earlier on although latest reports from other London Greens suggest that police have allowed the climare camp to set up and that demonstrators are chalking slogans onto the pavement and that the atmosphere is very positive.

Workers for the World Unite! We have only one world and only one chance to save it.


Green Gordon said...

I've been told this is Young Green Emma Bierman injured at the protests http://bit.ly/ngc21 she's also in the Guardian website

Anonymous said...

Many conservative and libertarian Americans Agree With the G20 Protests.

While most of the London and European protesters are from the far left, many working Americans feel the same about Washington’s excessive bailouts for Wall Street and the banking establishment. Washington has bailed out the banks, Wall Street & their Washington special interests and much of the cost is added to the national debt to by paid by this and future generations while real estate and investments continue to fall.

Find out how a growing repudiate the debt movement could stop Washington’s deficits, the exploding national debt and end the bailouts.
The Campaign to Cancel the Washington National Debt By 12/21/2012 Constitutional Amendment is starting now in the U.S.

See: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=67594690498&ref=ts

Jamie Potter said...

I was at the Climate Camp and the policing there was also wholly unnecessary. For most of the day they let people in and out with no questions asked. As soon as the offices shut and the media left, they formed a kettle around us without word of warning and held us for hours without access to water or sanitation or indeed any communication from the police whatsoever.

Thankfully, the campers reacted magnificently and refused to rise to the bait, and bar a few missile throwing idiots who were quickly reprimanded by the entire camp, the protest remained peaceful, until the police finally poured through after midnight violently beating and dragging protesters away.

We shouldn't stand for this and I urge all who were present to contact their MP and press for change.

Derek Wall said...

thanks Jamie,

here is to the climate camp in the summer..

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