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Climate Festival turns to Fear and Loathing on Bishopsgate

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
As stated in this article here;

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/apr/02/police-tactics-protests-g20-rbs

There were two faces of Policing on display yesterday - and one of them was out of control. I should make clear that I am talking about the camp on Bishopsgate, not the Bank demo, which I didn't make it to due to work.

OK so - was following on Twitter & Beeb for most of the day; Climate Camp set up around 12, people coming and going as they please, unilaterally reported to be a peaceful affair. Police seen laughing and joking with people, all very nice. No windows boarded up, nothing smashed up either. Police walking unmolested through the camp.

So we got there abotu 6pm and stayed til 9 - real carnival atmosphere, farmers market, lots of really positive stuff.

Then at about 7pm I think the police shifts changed, because they began to replace the yellow jacketed officers who had been there all day with black, face-covered, riot cops. About 8pm they sealed off one end (the one furthest from Liverpool Street).

A group of Christian students, mainly female, were sat having what I later learned was a prayer meeting near the front of the camp, in a circle, very quiet and contempletive.

Without warning, the cops rushed in, beating them back with truncheons, kicking and stamping - utterly outrageous. Then they shut the cordon so no-one could get in or out. Managed to escape the kettle through a side street, and went to the other side of the perimeter where crowds had gathered.

The police bought up the vans and blocked the street off, putting a line of yellow uniformed officers in front, so no-one could see what was going on. Just before we left, they began doing what they'd already said they wouldn't - using anti-terror legislation against the bi-standers outside the perimeter, forcing people to hand over cameras and delete all images of officers.

We left at this point, but pick up the Twitter feed from 9pm and read;

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/apr/01/g20-london-summit-twitter

Again, as has been observed on this board many times, there are two faces of British Policing. One is reasonable, public spirited, tolerant, intelligent and concilliatory. The other are common thugs, mean-spirited boot boys who love any excuse to be violent, and they are just licensed hooligans.

The sad thing (and I said this to an officer on the outside I was talking to) was that they'd been doing a good community policing job all day, like they did at the Saturday march, and then someone higher up just decided that he or she needed to do some prick-waving and turf out a peaceful, planned event that the police knew all the details of ahead of time, because they had been told.

There were plenty of cameras and personal media there yesterday so I doubt they'll be able to get away with this for long - a wholly disproportionate use of force.

Among the supporters on the outside of the cordon when we left were a number of city workers shouting 'this is political policing'...

Consider this...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2009/apr/01/g20-policing-climate-protest-riot

FAO: WhoWhere - the worst part of this was I met an officer on the outside, who sounded alot like you. He was respectful and intelligent and reasonable - and I asked him why you guys are out here and the boot boys are in there, to which he didn't have an answer, and I had to move on.

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'm not going to disagree with anything you said, I'll take your word for it. I'm not surprised however that the only videos available are badly edited and don't actually show much of anything.

    They either show everyone having a sit down and a sing song with the cops standing by at the side doing not much of anything, or they show running battles, windows being smashed and heads being cracked.
    Without filming any of the events leading up to these clashes nothing will ever be proven, but I doubt we'll see it because invariably they show that the police actions were reasonable in the circumstances.

    The footage of the fights themselves is normally blurred, bits are cut out and the previously unobstructed view is suddenly obstructed.

    But again, you're right. I don't get involved in riots, I hope I never do. I can accept that in some situations the police will act unreasonably. I also know that the protestors in these situations will deliberately hide the truth of their own bad behaviour to paint an unreasonable picture of the police. (When I say protestors I mean the idiots who turn up specifically to cause trouble and are normally wearing disuises and smashing windows before chanting "shame on you").....
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    But again, you're right. I don't get involved in riots, I hope I never do. I can accept that in some situations the police will act unreasonably. I also know that the protestors in these situations will deliberately hide the truth of their own bad behaviour to paint an unreasonable picture of the police. (When I say protestors I mean the idiots who turn up specifically to cause trouble and are normally wearing disuises and smashing windows before chanting "shame on you").....

    I was with a journalist friend of mine who published video of the attack on RBS, and when I was talking to the cop at the outside of the Bishopsgate kettle he said 'we've had officers injured' to which a group of us replied - 'and you defended yourselves'.

    RBS and a few incendiary elements at the front of the meltdown protest were fair game, but the peaceful meltdown sitdown that was charged and the actions after dark at Bishopsgate were ridiculous.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    but the peaceful meltdown sitdown that was charged and the actions after dark at Bishopsgate were ridiculous.



    I agree with the above completely.

    If the protestors who started the violence/damage e.t.c. got injured then sod them, they got what they were asking for.

    There are ways to remove protestors who are sitting down without baton-charging them and that don't result in injury.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Whowhere wrote: »
    I agree with the above completely.

    If the protestors who started the violence/damage e.t.c. got injured then sod them, they got what they were asking for.

    There are ways to remove protestors who are sitting down without baton-charging them and that don't result in injury.

    yeh after5mins into this you see thebaont charge whichj is well out of order http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2009/apr/02/g20-protest
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    yeh after5mins into this you see thebaont charge whichj is well out of order http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2009/apr/02/g20-protest


    At 5 minutes you see a guy talking to the camera with no police around. At 5.12 you see a completely different street with different people being charged by the police with no footage to show what caused it.
    At 5.15 it's the same street with the police not doing anything.
    At 5.17 the camera footage jumps and they're all fighting again.

    You honestly think that awful piece of editing constitutes evidence of anything except manipulation of the media?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Whowhere wrote: »
    At 5 minutes you see a guy talking to the camera with no police around. At 5.12 you see a completely different street with different people being charged by the police with no footage to show what caused it.
    At 5.15 it's the same street with the police not doing anything.
    At 5.17 the camera footage jumps and they're all fighting again.

    You honestly think that awful piece of editing constitutes evidence of anything except manipulation of the media?

    i werent asking for a film critique, nor did i give the exact time of what i was on about cause i was in a rush

    just the bit with the people sitting down and the police charging into them, and what u made of it - since in one ofthe snippets it's clear peopel are sitting down, and it's clear the police are charging into them
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    i werent asking for a film critique, nor did i give the exact time of what i was on about cause i was in a rush

    just the bit with the people sitting down and the police charging into them, and what u made of it - since in one ofthe snippets it's clear peopel are sitting down, and it's clear the police are charging into them

    Hardly a charge. They're obviously blocking the highway (which I'm pretty sure is a criminal act) and resisting attempts to move them. Most of the police are pushing them up with their shields, whilst one possibly two is giving some light taps with his truncheon (I couldn't see any connect, there was abolsutetely no force behind it and the best view of it is when he pulls back with no contact). In fact the most violence was afterwards when two people in civvies and baseball caps (who I assume, perhaps incorrectly, are two demonstrators) need to be pulled apart from each other.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    And how exactly can one prove these allegations of "police brutality"? (bloody hell, my laptop must be tired of typing that phrase out by now) Most of the footage taken is usually grainy, very poor in quality, has possibly been edited, and would never be admissible as evidence in a court of law. So the sad thing is, if "police brutality" really did happen on Wednesday, there would be little way of proving it. I'm kinda seeing Skive's point now...

    Although one other question, aimed at nobody specifically. Since most of you are indignant at the police's conduct, how do you suggest that a copper deal with an abusive individual who might lash out in violence against you or anyone else?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    When does it stop being a 'light tap with a truncheon' and start becoming enough that if it were not a police officer would constitute ABH? Assault with a weapon? Etc.

    Like I said in the other thread, they should be beyond reproach. There shouldn't be a question of whether they are acting disproportionately.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    just the bit with the people sitting down and the police charging into them, and what u made of it - since in one ofthe snippets it's clear peopel are sitting down, and it's clear the police are charging into them


    Yes, it is clear people are sitting down, but like the rest of the film everything leading up to it has been cut.

    And all the cops in that part of the video are doing is pushing into them with the shields to get them to stand up because they're blocking the road.

    If they'd run up to people sitting down and started hitting them then it would be too much, but they aren't.

    I've given a critique of the film because it seems a lot of people are watching it and are either ignoring or not noticing the way it's been edited.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Lol Looks like a bloody mess. I reckon the cops and some of the protesters are as bad as eachother tbh. Bunch of mugs.

    Before someone has a go, yes I'm sure most of the protesters were peaceful, and I'm sure the majority of cops aren't baton swinging thugs either. But from what I can see in thst video, neither are shown in a very positive light. Though I am aware there's more to the story than what is shown in that video.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Again, can't speak to Bank but at Bishopsgate, force wasn't neccessary at all, never mind what level. The police were moving through all day doing a great job, totally unmolested. They did a great community policing job until they changed tac, at which point it became unneccessary.

    Also we need to untangle what happened at Bishopsgate from what happened at Bank & Threadneedle, where officers did face a level of violence.

    Good article here;

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/apr/03/g20-protests-police-tactics

    The right to peaceful protest, especially that which has been done in consult with the authorities, needs to respected and defended, and British political history is a testament to this.

    No, we don't live in a police state - but they didn't cover themselves in glory on Bishopsgate and could have handled it much better.

    Quote from the aforemetioned article;
    David Howarth, the Liberal Democrat justice spokesman, said: "How did the police end up in a situation where they used the same degree of force on the most peaceful demonstration as they did for a violent protest at the Bank of England? They seem to only have one trick."

    This is not true - they have two tricks, and trick number one worked perfectly well on Saturday, as it did for most of the day at the Bishopsgate climate camp. Then, again, with the prick waving...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ShyBoy wrote: »
    When does it stop being a 'light tap with a truncheon' and start becoming enough that if it were not a police officer would constitute ABH? Assault with a weapon? Etc.

    Like I said in the other thread, they should be beyond reproach. There shouldn't be a question of whether they are acting disproportionately.

    In a perfect world that may be true, but the demonstrators didn't seem to be moving on after PC Plod meanders by with a throat chuckle of 'ello, ello'
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Look I understand it must be used in some situations but look at Martin Bashir's quote:
    David Howarth, the Liberal Democrat justice spokesman, said: "How did the police end up in a situation where they used the same degree of force on the most peaceful demonstration as they did for a violent protest at the Bank of England? They seem to only have one trick."

    If someone is sitting down peacefully singing a song then there are better ways to deal with it than 'a light tap with the truncheon'. It reminds me of that vid that went up on the internet recently of a police officer (not in the UK) pistol whipping a drunk football hooligan and you can guess what happened. Like I said, it's about being beyond reproach, they should be on a higher plain of tolerance than the average person and also better able to deal with situations without having to resort to what many argue is excessive force.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    yeah, because MPs know what they're talking about all the time.

    I can't talk about it all, because I wasn't there, but the clip shown doesn't show excessive force at all imhio. The sad fact is that if people break the law and then don't say 'it's a fair cop guv' force needs to be used. The force in that clip was no way excessive, I've had worse on the Rugby pitch...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Regardless of the video evidence or lack thereof, given the numerous witness accounts it is safe to conclude the police behaved completely inapproprietaly in Bishopsgate.

    If one must clear the road, one grabs the protestors and carry them away- something that the British police have done on countless occasions. But you don't charge into and beat up peaceful protesters.

    Another issue that hasn't been talked about much is the penning tactic. There are some good points made by Guardian (yeah, whatever) correspondants about this practice:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/apr/03/g20-protest-police

    Even if some of you disagree with the protesters, I urge you to consider the bigger picture and to question whether forcibly restricting the movements of protesters for many hours on end and to warn them in advance that they face such ordeal if they dare join the demonstration can be really defended in a democratic nation that prides itself in its freedom of speech for everyone.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Freedom of speech yes and assembly as well. But then as you pointed out the demos were largely peaceful, especially on the first few days, so i don't think that's at threat.

    Unfortunately freedom of speech and assembly does give you a licence to break the law. Just because you're an unaccountable group doesn't mean you can do what you like.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Freedom of speech yes and assembly as well. But then as you pointed out the demos were largely peaceful, especially on the first few days, so i don't think that's at threat.

    Unfortunately freedom of speech and assembly does give you a licence to break the law. Just because you're an unaccountable group doesn't mean you can do what you like.
    Wouldn't disagree with that, and I guess the policing of such complex demo cannot be easy.

    Though I still believe whoever is in charge should dare throwing the textbook out of the window regarding certain tactics and try a different approach. Seeing as the immense majority of people were not troublemakers, penning all of them for hours seems unjustified and counterproductive- I know of people who were there, and after a few hours of being kept against their will there,they were so pissed they were ready for trouble.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    TBH you will get poeple who go to these events, what ever the event, just to cause trouble. On the whole people seemed to be pretty calm and pleasant. The only police tactic I completely disagree with is blocking in the protest and not allowing people to leave. If I was there and restricted from leaving I'd probably start smashing things up, just not right.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    and the police call the penning 'kettling' the only thing a kettle is designed to do is boil :chin:

    the copper in this picture looks like paul kaye in the how to fight britsh style
    http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2009/4/2/1238710377305/Police-stop-G20-protester-001.jpg

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BG2q_ULluPA
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    and the police call the penning 'kettling' the only thing a kettle is designed to do is boil :chin:

    the copper in this picture looks like paul kaye in the how to fight britsh style
    http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2009/4/2/1238710377305/Police-stop-G20-protester-001.jpg

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BG2q_ULluPA

    lol'd so much :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I can't talk about it all, because I wasn't there, but the clip shown doesn't show excessive force at all imhio. The sad fact is that if people break the law and then don't say 'it's a fair cop guv' force needs to be used. The force in that clip was no way excessive, I've had worse on the Rugby pitch...

    You might have, and I play ice hockey so I'm sure I have as well.

    I'm just going to say this. I saw a prayer meeting, a group of young girls sat in a circle, charged by a police line with batons - no warning. This is not morally defensible, reasonable, or acceptable.

    The legality (or not) of their (the protesters) action is not in dispute - but if a person thinks that this is a reasonable way for Police to react to this particular situation, then that person should not be a police officer, because they quite clearly do not have the level of proportional judgement neccessary to police in a democratic society.
    The sad fact is that if people break the law and then don't say 'it's a fair cop guv' force needs to be used.

    Violence should be a last, not a first resort; and then it should be used proportionally.

    Anyone who is going to write a blank cheque on force to the police for infringement of anything on the statute book needs to take a serious look at what they think is being upheld or defended by it.

    Sitting down in a road that no one is using, on an action that the authorities have advance warning and consultation on, is not an acceptable catalyst for someone to crack their head open with a large piece of wood.
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