G20 MSM outrage at police – updated with photos
Why did the police punish bystanders?
Commentary: Tom Whipple
Rob was a predictably tedious anarchist, with tediously predictable views. Standing beneath a hanged effigy of Sir Fred Goodwin, he explained how the police work. “They aren’t here for us, they’re here for the bankers,” he told me. “But mainly, they are here for a fight.”.Having just watched protesters smash up the Royal Bank of Scotland, I was not in the mood. Not only was Rob wrong, I told him, he was the worst kind of wrong — a clichéd wrong. Seven hours later — seven hours of detention without food or water — I had come to believe that I was the one who had been naive..Wednesday’s police operation against G20 protesters was, by most accounts, a success. Minimal violence, stoical police, and London back up and running a few hours later. But there is another story. It is the story of how a largely peaceful protest that happily coexisted with a Starbucks and an HSBC — each just one brick arc from anti-capitalist destruction — eventually turned violent. Most of all, it is the story of how the police wilfully criminalised and alienated 4,000 innocent people...
The police tactics were simple. At the first hint of trouble, they enacted a long-planned strategy — trapping and detaining all the protesters, violent or not, outside the Bank of England. Tom Brake, a Liberal Democrat MP there as an observer, spoke to an elderly couple unrelated to the protests who were nevertheless caught in the cordon. He said that they feared for their safety. Later he would tell me he feared for his own safety.
Once established, the cordon slowly squeezed — each police charge rolling past any protesters who refused to move, battering them. No one was released. If I were to design a system to provoke and alienate, I could not do better.
It is difficult to say when though, for me, the phoney war of Threadneedle Street became the battle of Threadneedle Street. Perhaps it was when four drunk thugs, gleefully filmed by every news channel, started taunting police. Perhaps it was when Jack Bright, a slight, softly-spoken twentysomething who had been sitting during a police charge, struggled out of the crowd with blood dripping from his forehead to his chin. Perhaps it was when the first hooded idiot threw a glass bottle, or perhaps it was when an enraged crowd, by then detained without charge for five hours, began chanting: “Let us out.” –more–
G20 protests: Riot police, or rioting police?
At the G20 protests in London only one group appears to be looking for violent confrontation – and it’s not the protesters
The trouble-makers are out in force again. Dressed in black, their faces partly obscured, some of them appear to be interested only in violent confrontation. It’s almost as if they are deliberately raising the temperature, pushing and pushing until a fight kicks off. But this isn’t some disorganised rabble: these people were bussed in and are plainly acting in concert. There’s another dead giveaway. They are all wearing the same slogan: Police.
The police have been talking up violence at the G20 protests for weeks. They briefed journalists and companies in the City of London about the evil designs of the climate campaigners intending to demonstrate there, but refused to let the campaigners attend the briefings and put their own side of the story. They also rebuffed the campaigners when they sought to explain to the police what they wanted to do.
The way officers tooled themselves up in riot gear and waded into a peaceful crowd this afternoon makes it look almost as if they were trying to ensure that their predictions came true. Their bosses appear to have failed either to read or to heed the report by the parliamentary committee on human rights last week, about the misuse of police powers against protesters. “Whilst we recognise police officers should not be placed at risk of serious injury,” the report said, “the deployment of riot police can unnecessarily raise the temperature at protests.” –more–
Amateur video snippet
HatTip for newspaper articles 12.160MHZ
photos from: http://greengorilla47.wordpress.com/2009/04/03/1025/