Girls with Guns @ Non Compos Mentis | 13.11.2003 21:12 | Anti-militarism
At first, there were no police officers. Then there were two. Then there were four. Two more followed. The peaceful demonstration against the wall in Israel that took place this weekend at one o clock in the afternoon on the 9th of November consisted of around 30-or so people who brought a small number of large banners that represented a wall. Pairs of people supported the banners and stood spaced apart running lengthways of the High street so as not to hinder the movement of the Sunday shoppers. We pinned information on the wall and handed out sheets informing people of what is currently happening in Israel. We also had two people representing Israeli guards, who dressed in green and held plastic toy guns. After a while a few of the demonstrators impersonated Palestinians and with their hands zip-tied behind their backs, were kneeling together as the ‘guards’ silently stood by them. At no point were the toy guns ever pointed at anyone, or used in a threatening way, but shortly, one of police officers who had been standing by and watching, approached and told us that they could not see that the toy guns were not real and perceived them to be imitation firearms that threatened the public. When asked if any member of the public had complained they said no. The police officer did not ask the ‘guards’ themselves to put down the toys but returned to the other policemen and continued to observe whilst another wrote notes. The ‘guards’ wrote notes that they held to their ‘guns’, saying ‘THIS IS A TOY GUN’. Everybody was told through the loudspeaker that the guns were not real, but toys made for children and demonstrated such, but after another twenty minutes or so, the police officer with the notebook approached and said that he was imposing conditions and said that if the ‘guns were not removed’ he would have no choice but to end our demonstration. Not wanting to let this end the endeavour to convey an important message about the destruction of human lives and rights in Palestine, the two people representing guards put the plastic guns on the ground and stood on them, but seeing that the police were still troubled decided to smash them up and clear away the pieces. After that they held pieces of paper saying ‘This piece of paper represents a toy gun’ and the police continued to observe, until the end of the demonstration at three o clock when the ‘wall’ was ‘pulled down’ and sat on by the demonstrators.
Many leaflets were handed out and hopefully now more people are aware of what is happening to the Palestinians, where real guns are used to threaten and kill ordinary people.
I went into my student union today and there was a police vehicle parked outside. As I walked in I could see a police officer a security guard and another police officer-well armoured and holding a large, and very real machine gun. This was no toy, and this was really frightening. It was possible that the police were guarding cash transportation. But in what situation would the armed man use the weapon? Inside the union, with dozens of students and passers-by going about their lives? The armed police are just human beings-and as we know, even trained human beings make mistakes.
What struck me is the hypocrisy of the police. And the government. We provide the weapons and tools of destruction to Israel- and we provided them to Saddams regime in Iraq. This country has seen the loss of the lives of soldiers and journalists in Iraq since the U.S.A. and U.K. decided to bomb Iraq-and not all were the cause of Iraqis, but the failure, error and fault of our own sides. How many people know that Iraq made a last minute bid to stop the war by sending out representatives to the White House to inform the Americans that they will disarm to avert a war? Food for thought.
Girls with Guns @ Non Compos Mentis