Wednesday, 1 April 2009

*Police tactics at today's demo.


I've just returned shaken and appalled at the policing tactics employed at the G20 protests in the City.

It is only thanks to my NUJ press pass that I managed to (eventually) escape the terrifying crush imposed by aggressive police. By that point I had spent at least two hours rammed in with other peaceful protesters, bursting for the loo and battling against a resurgence of a phobia of being trapped in tight crowds.

Before the police cordon around the roads leading to the Bank of England was implemented, I (along with another Haringey Green) had already decided not to proceed any further into the protest as it was becoming clear that the police had one thing in mind - to pen everyone in. However, when we tried to retrace our steps and move away from the crowds, we were prevented from doing so by a row of officers who ordered us to 'move on', aggressively pushing my colleague in the process. From then onwards we were condemned to a terrifying ordeal of being trapped in a confined space – a section of Princes Street - with an increasingly frustrated and angry group of protesters.

When police in riot gear appeared and one protester was arrested, bottles started to fly over our heads, so we edged away from our corner of Princes Street to try and find a safer spot. By now, a lot of people desperately wanted to be let out of the cordon and the atmosphere was becoming increasingly volatile. Luckily my NUJ pass gave me access out of the mob around about this time - just as my crowd phobia was escalating to a terrifying level!

I really hope that the Green Party will use its powers at GLA, Euro and National Party level to hold the Met Police to account for the heavy handedness of their actions against peaceful protestors. There must surely be a law against holding law abiding citizens against their will when they are at risk of harm..... As a seasoned activist, I can honestly say that I have never experienced such bullying tactics by our own police, and it makes me very sad.

What do others who were there think?

Anna Bragga

Haringey Green Party


Noel Lynch said...

I'm just returning from Trafalgar Square but was at Bank previously.
Myself, Romayne, Payam and Andy suffered the same appalling treatment
as Anna in what had been, until then a peaceful protest. I did call
Bindman's solicitors as I wanted our, and other protestors treatment

I will write a fuller account later and will be blogging on this so
the truth is known against the one sided view of the press.


Sent from the iPhone of Mark Sanders-Barwick

DocRichard said...

I am just back from the Trafalgar Square demo, the StW demo from US embassy Grosvenor Sq. There was no trouble at all, the police couldn't have been nicer (ads far as I was concerned). This shows the alternatives in policing : light touch - no probs. Heavy control : frustration and violence. We were told by the organisers that there were no breakages before the police corralled everyone up, the scuffles began when people tried to escape confinement after two and a half hours of being penned in.

DocRichard said...

We have got to take Commander Bob broadhurst to court to challenge his provocative and dangerous Kettling (penning up) tactics.