Death at a Demonstration 22


The media are going full volume now to churn out lies that policemen attempting to treat the dying man were pelted with bottles. The blogosphere is attempting to fight back with the truth – with the exception of the mainstream media’s favourite bloggers, Iain Dale, Derek Draper, Alex Hilton and Paul Staines. Which is of course precisely why they are the mainstream media’s favourite bloggers.

There is an important eyewitness account here:

http://www.redpepper.org.uk/Death-in-the-City

Justin has also an interview with an eyewitness:

http://www.chickyog.net/2009/04/02/sky-news-not-learning-lessons/#comments

All of which leads me to resurrect this bit I wrote in a comments thread in reply to someone asking why I hadn’t mentioned the possibility of agents provocateurs:

There was a fascinating and drawn out scene outside the Bank of England yesterday when a distinct group of some thirty were attacking the police, one hitting the police with a long pole. Prominent was a group of young Asian lads.

I recognised them because I was crushed up hard for a good while against the same bunch of young Asians outside the Israeli Embassy a couple of months ago, where again they were being inexcusably violent.

The very strange thing was that, plainly from Sky’s overhead cam, the Police had the ability to isolate and snatch this group of obviously violent individuals, and the police would have had my support in doing so. But they didn’t.

So who are they?

My prediction of the police tactics – written before the protests started – seems to have been entirely accurate and almost certainly the direct or indirect cause of this death:

“Each demonstration will be split up into several separated groups. Each group will be tightly corraled, penned in with barriers in an uncomfortable crush that feels threatening to those inside. Occasionally groups will be shuffled between pens. Most demonstrators will not be allowed to the destination point to limit the appearance of numbers at the rallies. Once it is over, people will be kept corralled for several hours, with no refreshment or (this is critical and no joke) toilet facilities. The tactic appears designed to create confrontation as people try to get out of penned areas to hear the speeches they came to hear, to escape the crush or just to find a loo. At the same time the argie-bargie thus deliberately sparked is confined to small numbers the police can contain.”

http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2009/04/the_field_of_pe.html#comments

Sadly there is no kind of inquiry under this government in which the public will have the slightest trust.


22 thoughts on “Death at a Demonstration

  • kardinal birkutzki

    I was there; I saw it.It is precisely what happened. The behaviour of the crowd was utterly reprehensible. It has always and forever been the case that protestors deliberately try to cause trouble and antagonise the police. This, however, was the longest I have ever observed such a demonstration and I must say that the protestors’ methods of procuring the situation in which someone will get injured and in manipulating the scene such that it looks like some innocent bystander has been attacked actually verge on the expert. I repeat: I spent the whole of yesterday observing the scene and anyone who says the police were anything but totally restrained in the circumstances is either naive and misinformed (yourself) or just plain lying.

  • #imcg20

    There is a very clear video of the police violently wading into the hippies at the climate camp on Bishopsgate up on IndyMedia.

    Whatever you or I might think of the politics of the climate camp, or indeed of fundamentalist non-violence, the video lays bare the function of the police force in all its naked, violent, powermonger-protecting glory.

    And the individuals who choose to join the police, who then – day by day, situation by situation – choose to carry out orders which include, as here, acting as an anonymous, homogenous bloc of brute force, beating, bloodying, slavering over peaceniks who don’t even defend themselves despite the shields and the batons, well… I think we all know what sort of people they are. I think we all know how big and brave they are when they face anything resembling a fair fight.

    Anyway, the video. it has been reuploaded it to YouTube so it can hopefully get more widely seen:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t244-zEENSs

  • Anonymous

    kardinal birkutzki

    If you re-read what I said, I was not attacking the police for lack of restraint, I was saying there was a specific group towards whom they were inexplicably much too restrained, and wondered why. A group were, as you observe, expertly trying to provoke something. You assume that they were genuine protestors. I wonder just who they really were.

    The police attitude in that case contrasts sharply with their over-aggressive behaviour towards genuinely innocent kids at the climate camp, as captured on video.

    I don’t agree with imcq20’s general characterisation of the police, most of whom are decent.

  • mixmatosis

    @kardinal birkutzki

    That’s complete rubbish. You were not there. The police were acting in a very violent manner, they were swinging their batons indiscriminately and several pensioners were caught up in the melee.

    The sporadic skirmishes were all caused by the police trying to pen protesters into backstreets. The whole police force should be ashamed for disrupting a very peaceful protest.

  • Craig

    My name did not come up on the previous post. I might add that I would be interested to know just what kardinal birkutzki, a man of extreme neoconservative opinions, was doing at the demonstration.

  • Strategist

    It seems that the poor guy was just a passer-by. The Guardian is now doing a better job at reporting what happened.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/apr/02/g20-summit-protester-death

    But the tragedy of an innocent man’s death is still being marred by the need to spin the story that police were pelted with “missiles” as they attempted to attend to the man (or as the Guardian has it, “at least one missile”), described by the eye-witness as bottles. I would be very very surprised if it was a glass bottle rather than an empty plastic water bottle that was being thrown in the vicinity. The police were wearing riot gear & crash helmets that would make them entirely unaffected by a plastic bottle.

    I was at the Climate Camp when the police moved in as shown in the YouTube video. There was absolutely no need for the police to go in at that time, the crowd was all in one place, not going anywhere, eating their jacket potatoes & beans from the camp kitchen.

    Birkutzki’s comment “It has always and forever been the case that protestors deliberately try to cause trouble and antagonise the police” is complete & utter crap with respect to the Climate Campers.

  • Justin

    Hi Craig – just to let you know that I didn’t interview any eyewitnesses. I only quoted one from another source. Sorry for any confusion.

  • Strategist

    Regarding Craig’s important point about the potential that some of the most violent protesters had some strange immunity from arrest, I have read today some other comments in the blogosphere suggesting that the situation around the smashed RBS window was a bit odd, but I’m damned if I can re-find them and post the links.

    But this pic speaks volumes about the proportion of cast to audience yesterday http://news.bbc.co.uk/media/images/45623000/jpg/_45623824_rbs_window_pa_2.jpg

  • Shafiq

    I wasn’t there but from what I’m told it was the Police that started off the violence (and this is by a right-winger who disagreed with everything the protesters stood for). They purposely penned in the Climate Camp protesters for no reason whatsoever.

  • eddie

    The police tactics of kettling are wrong and borderline illegal, whatever the House of Lords says. Surely plod must realise that his approach is counter productive? From what I saw on TV the polce approach seemed like Jekyll and Hyde, cheerful and laid back early in the day and then fierce and psychotic later on.

  • IgorMarxo

    Difference between USSR Communist media and USA “mainstream media”

    In Russia government make media say what they want – even if lie.

    In USA “Mainstream media” try make government what they want – even if lie.

    ……eventually they become same thing?!

    I Igor produce Obama Birth Certificate at http://www.igormarxo.org

  • Ruth

    According to the Guardian police prevented people from leaving the area of the demonstrations near the Bank of England for more than seven hours yesterday so the area became a public lavatory as people unable to move away used the entrances to Bank underground station as a urinal. The Guardian also says that in January this year the law lords upheld the right of the police in this case to carry out such containment. Was this decision of the law lords a political one rather than a considered one? For surely women forced to urinate and men and women defaecate in a public place is in breach of Article 3 of the Human Rights Act, the prohibition of torture which states that no one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

  • researcher

    Rub their nose in the private “Bank of England”.

    Show them how they are prisoners without rights.

    How blatant.

    Who are the owners ?

  • ken

    Don’t know what anyone wants to make of this, someone may be able to draw conclusions.

    There was a big demonstration across London on Tuesday afternoon and evening. I was part of it.

    It started with the North Circular Road near Hangar Lane being almost closed for a few minutes, mid-afternoon.

    Then a ‘rolling’ blockage moved slowly along the A40 eastbound, trapping traffic within and behind the demo.

    Baker Street was then completely closed a few times, a few minutes each time.

    Park Lane southbound was completely blocked for maybe ten minutes, traffic trapped within and behind the demo. Then Constitution Hill ditto.

    All the streets around Whitehall Place were then completely blocked for at least two hours. This blockage was not planned although police had been informed of a demo and had given permission. As the blockage formed, two police motorcyclists came towards me arms waving in a panic. As the blockage wasn’t complete room was made for them, and three royal cars followed behind, no number plates and royal crests on the roofs. They just managed to squeeze through before the blockage became complete. Inside were young females, no one I recognised but I’m no expert on recognising members of the royal family. This blockage lasted til about 7pm. Although completely unplanned, police did not attend and took no action to clear it.

    Then the demo moved to Victoria Street where police had planned to keep traffic moving on one half of the road allowing the demo to use the other half. There were maybe 3 or 4 police there to supervise.

    Well, the road filled up like the bottom of an egg timer, from Victoria Station upwards towards Parliament Square. Within about 10 minutes it was completely blocked to all traffic, from about 7pm until around 10pm or maybe later. I wasn’t keeping track of time. Again, no police were in attendance or acted to reopen the road. A few cars were stuck, stranded within the blockage.

    Throughout all this all the pedestrians that I saw, who were witnessing what was going on, cheered, waved, took photos and lent support. Parents with young children told their children to wave. Road traffic including buses and taxis less happy, because they were held either within the demo or behind it, but generally humour was high and supportive and resigned to ‘another London demo’! The vast majority of drivers and passengers (even taxi drivers) who gave any sort of reaction were supportive, even though many of them, I’m sure, didn’t know what the demo was. Throughout the whole six hours or more of this demo, I personally saw only about eight policemen actually attached to the demo, and after Victoria Street had become completely blocked, this reduced to zero, although I’m sure there were one or two still around somewhere.

    I also attended the demonstration yesterday. No need for me to describe that one.

    So the question has to be asked, why can one demo be held in central London by one section of the community, that causes unplanned road closures and disruption for many hours, that the public mostly cheer on even though they don’t know what it’s for, despite it blocking their journeys, and the police provide almost zero supervision and no effort to clear the roads, whereas, the very next day, another demo, that’s known about, that is planned to close roads, that people mostly support, and yet the police go berserk and much violence and damage ensues? Someone with a louder and more public voice than mine should make the comparison, and ask how it is, by what mechanism, do those demonstrations that become violent actually become violent. What’s the one factor that makes the Tuesday demonstration utterly non-violent and a cause for cheering and support by people caught up in it but who don’t know what it is, and the Wednesday demonstration a scene of violence and damage, even though, according to the media that reported both, around the same number of people attended both demos?????

    Answers on a postcard, including from Mr. kardinal birkutzki.

    For those that don’t know about the Tuesday demo, maybe the majority on this blog, about 4000 to 5000 motorcyclists rode through central London during the afternoon, stopping frequently en route to block the roads, then parking up at Trafalgar Square for speeches and then on to Westminster City Hall for the evening, protesting at Westminster Council’s introduction of parking charges for motorbikes, the only city in the whole world to do so. The police had planned for maybe a few hundred of us to turn up. When the thousands arrived, they ran away, allowing the roads to become blocked, and peace and happiness broke out!

    Sorry for the long comment……

  • Whirlio

    I’m a little suprised no one else has thought that the police were embaressed that the extent of their injuries (mosquite bites, sunburn) from previous climate camps was revealed, and wanted to punish the protesters for daring to put in a FOI request.

  • Andy Dyer

    Well, we know what to do – carry a cheap digital and several large memory cards. Take a lot of video. The police may hate people collecting evidence of their wrong-doing, but YouTube is your friend, this is one battle they cannot win. Just a pity people didn’t get good, close-up, evidence of the agent provocateurs (seen by 2 MPs, George Galloway and Tom Brake) at Bush’s visit 2008 and the G20 2009.

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