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Police State

Samuel P Jackboot | 02.05.2003 13:07

Brutal Repression by the Metropolitan Police - eyewitness account

The Met put on a display of force in Trafalgar Square yesterday (may 1st), severely wounding several unarmed demonstrators. We were dancing to a sound system set up at the corner of the Strand and Trafalgar Square when the police began announcing that everyone had to leave by 7:05pm. A group of demonstrators and a samba band attempted to move away up the Strand at approximately 6:45, but we were met by a line of police who tried to stop people leaving. A large number of people then attempted to run down Craven Street but were chased down and beaten with riot batons. The rest continued to try and move off up the Strand but police reinforcements began pushing the crowd back towards the Square. A young man was grabbed by anofficer an punched in the face. Another line of police were pushing more people away from the square and the two groups met at the corner of the Strand. We were held here by the police and more officers arrived to contain the crowd. Tis was at about ten to seven. Some people told the police that we had been told to leave by five past seven, not quarter to, and they were told "You should have left earlier then.". Several people were savagely beaten, including women. An old Sikh man disappeared under a solid mass of police, who kicked him and laid into him with truncheons. Several people attempted to aid him and they too were assaulted by the cops. A man who asked to be allowed to leave was called a "black cunt" by a policeman. I managed to escape the growing police cordon and got away up the Strand. Dozens of police vans were disgorging armoured riot police, who moved into position to protect corporate buildings. Police with attack dogs were closing off the side streets. Over a hundred officers clad in black riot gear and helmets ran towards the crowd. The crowd was then contained within a ring of these armoured thugs, and a line of "normal" police armed with truncheons was formed about 100 yards further up the Strand to prevent bystanders from approaching the crowd. I repeatedly requested information from various police officers and was told either "No comment", "I don't know" or "Fuck off". Several people who got too close to the line of police were violently thrown away. Allthe while, more vans were arriving and riot squads were running towards Trafalgar Square. I walked around to Northumberland Avenue where over a hundred police vans were parked. I was prevented from entering the Square from the end of Northumberland Avenue by an armoured policeman who yelled "You've had your final warning now FUCK OFF!" before hitting me with his Plexiglass sheild. I eventually got back to the Strand where things were pretty much as they had been when I left. The crowd was invisible behind the ring of black uniformed riot cops and most of them had fallen silent. I asked an officer what the point of this huge display of force was and he said "Maybe you'll think twice before you demonstrate against the Government again" before shoving me away. Is this democracy? After several hours of police coming and going, and a crowd of interested onlookers asking questions, reports filtered through of people being released. I met up with my friends who had been trapped in the circle of armoured police who told me that several people had been beaten up and then arrested, and also that everyone had been photographed and their name and address taken as they were released from Trafalgar Square.
All in all a successful day for brutality and repression and another starck reminder that freedom in this country only extends to those who don't ask questions or stand up for their beliefs.

Samuel P Jackboot


Hide the following 10 comments


02.05.2003 13:33

The were pretty violent right at the outset when they prevented half the crowd following the start of a march up Shaftesbury Avenue. This was at Endell street at around 2.30pm . A police cordon stopped people marching and those at the front tried pushing against it and were pushed back pretty violently. There were several scuffles with cops pushing both press and protestors back and screaming at people. It was a short incident but did show how hyped up they were. I understand one man was knocked unconscious by police.

Meanwhile the march that got away danced around half of central london for a couple of hours taking over the streets with music and cheering, pushing past a few half hearted attempts to block its path, running down streets at other times leaving the police behind. However police following grew in numbers and got heavier at the strand as the march arrived there at around 4pm

The finale at Trafalger square was way over the top sending in riot police to deal with people who had just been dancing and chilling out. At one stage when the area had become fully militarised the police moved with 'normal' yellow cops to clear the whole square pretty quickly without warning pushing people back and making arrests - these were people who had previously been told it was ok to be in the square. As they were pushed out away from seeing anything of the surrounded group at the strand edge of the square, riot police ran in from two sides and chased two groups up different streets, where I heard several peolple were beaten.

While there in the square and the strand I asked several 'normal' yellow police if they'd heard of anything getting trashed or any serious trouble during the afternoon. They said nothing like that had happened and that it had been a pretty good day. When I asked then if the scores of riot vans, hundreds of riot police and the actions being taken were not just a little over the top then, they declined to comment.


more violence

02.05.2003 14:00

I have a little story to add here, I was in Trafalgar square, although not inside the cordon (I had been earlier, with the group 'escorted' from Lockheed Martin, but managed to break out with a few others on reaching Trafalgar). Before the riot cops were sent in to the section 14'd group, they decided to clear everyone else from the centre of the square, presumably so we couldn't watch what they were doing. Anyhow, this wasn't very popular, and a number of us went on an impromptu march / jog through the streets in protest of being forcefully kicked out of a public area, including the guy with the soundsystem (he was stopped pretty quickly, but the rest of us carried on). we ended up on Picadilly running down the pavement, with the cops kinda following (hehe, some of them were so knackered - get more exercise, fellas!), when we saw riot cops running across to block the road ahead, so I tried to dodge past the copper on the pavement, but he caught me off balance and managed to knock me down, by the time I tried to stand up the riot cop is right there & shoves me down with his shield, screaming "GET UP GET UP" whilst putting the boot in & pushing me down. Then another cop ripped my hat off, and pulled me up by my hair, all the time kicking me in the arse and leg (I seem to have developed a slight limp today).

So I finally managed to stand up despite being pushed & kicked and tried to leave the area, I walked past a normal copper who shouted something like "leave the area now" (which I was quite obviously doing) before pinning me up against some railings and said something along the lines of "I'm invoking section 14 blah blah if you don't leave the area you will be arrested right you haven't left the area you're nicked now fuck off" in one breath and let me leave. I realy didn't get that.

bruised arse, legs & arm grazed elbows (manage to protect me head, thankfully), lesson learnt... cops realy don't like black masked protestors, and next time I'll wear some damn padding


Trafalgar square web stream stills

02.05.2003 14:45

Trafalgar square web stream stills
Trafalgar square web stream stills

These pics were taken from between 9 and 10 PM.


Trafalgar square web stream stills

02.05.2003 14:45

Trafalgar square web stream stills
Trafalgar square web stream stills

These pics were taken from between 9 and 10 PM.


Trafalgar square web stream stills

02.05.2003 14:45

Trafalgar square web stream stills
Trafalgar square web stream stills

These pics were taken from between 9 and 10 PM.


disperse and regroup?

02.05.2003 14:46

I watched some of the cops getting tooled up - they have loads of padding - a sort of body shield in front,
arm and shin pads (no padding to rear of shins), padded jock straps over their trousers (really regret not having a camera).

The thing I always wonder is about our response to the the police tactic of surround and hold, which they have been using (at least) since 'Stop the city'. I know they do it, and I'm _very_ careful not to get trapped inside their lines (narrow sqeaks at Euston and Oxford circus).

Is it not beyond our wits to disperse and regroup elsewhere?(away from their attention for a while)

mail e-mail: nofear

pulp and pis off

02.05.2003 22:50

Go to school and get educated you dumb fools.



03.05.2003 00:44

If protesters were not so pissed attempts to break out b4 the riot police came may have worked. Iv'e never seen so much alcahol on a demo! When is this gonna stop. Iv'e seen more politics at a football match - of the wrong kind though.


A Note From the Other Side...

03.05.2003 01:01

...of the Planet. Here in U.S. occupied Cali(the Yanks call it California-refer to Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States, and you'll see what I mean by "U.S. occupied"), the cops in Los Angeles have also been employing the surround and hold tactic at anti-war demos. This seems to be a world wide epidemic. Time to come up with effective counter strategies.

Friend in Cali

Force against women

03.05.2003 13:02

Attacks by police on women seem to have been getting worse recently - compare eg. to Greenham Common. I noticed on TV news one woman on a bicycle, standing still, with hardly anyone else around, suddenly and violently pushed to the ground by a policeman for no reason. Also witnessed a policeman violently pushing a woman back into a police pen by her breasts.