Skip to content or view screen version

Indiscriminate police brutality at Anti-Israel Protests

Rose | 03.01.2009 21:34 | Palestine | Repression

A demonstration that began non-violantly and in high spirits became the scene of chaos and violence as police unleashed indiscriminate violence and brutality against demonstrators in what appears to be a coordinated attack in a tunnel away from public view. Unknown numbers of protestors arrested and numerous injuries including one case requiring hostpital treatment.

The demonstration today opposing the continuing Israeli arial bombardment, which has now become a full scale ground offensive, began in high spirits bringing together thousands of protesters, estimates ranging from 25,000 - 75,000 people, to voice their opposition to Israeli military tactics which have left at least 420 dead and thousands injured in the Gaza strip. Having marched from Embankment through to Trafalger Spuare, pausing to throw a number of shoes symbolicly at Westminister, protesters congregated for a rally and speaches against the violance and to call the British government to act. Speakers included former MP Tony Benn, the former Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone and numerous others.

At approximately 4pm demonstrators began to march towards the embassy, shouting chants and protests but maintaining a non violant approach. As protestors neared the tunnel at the end of Regent street leading to Kensington police blocked protestors from moving forward. Despite innitial opposition and obvious frustration at not being allowed to pass, when demonstrators up till this point had been non-violent and non aggressive, the police barracades and aggression worked to escalate the tension. As protestors waited, police informed members of the crowd that in a couple of minutes, and if the demonstrators calm down they would be able to pass. Demonstrators complied, lowered the chants and waited until the police began slowly inching backwards to allow the demonstrators to move forward. Having reached deep inside the tunnel and with no photographers or media present the police stopped unnexpectantly, held the protestors and then charged with battons and shields at protestors who comprised youths, students, women, elderly and children. In the ensuing crush and indescriminate violance by the police many were trampelled and severly hurt. One protestor recieving a substantial gash to the head with blood pooring out. There were scores of other protesters further injured as police regrouped and charged twice more batterring people without restraint including young women who desperate to avoid involvement stood to the side yet were still battered and pushed and people seeking medical treatment denied any route out of the tunnel.

Eventually protestors were allowed out of the tunnel to cheers from activists who had managed to avoid what appeared to be an orchestrated attack of indiscriminate police brutality which was totally unnecessary. The police took blatant advantage of the closed nature of the tunnel ensuring that general members of the public would not be able to witness their violence.

Protestors proceeded onto the embassy and joined others who had reached there by other means. Despite police attempts to pen them in, protestors broke free, throwing barracades aside and took the streets although access to the emabassy was once again denied. Police continued with heavy agression and violance against protestors in a gratuitous fashion with police seen to be smirking at the opportunity to beat innocent protestors who were uninvolved in aggession. As protestors finally left the police penned in a final group of approximately 300 who it is hoped will be released without further harrasment. An unknown number of arrests took place and dozens more injured with at least one needing hospital treatment and stiches to his head and observation for the next 48 hours.



I was there

04.01.2009 01:01

I was at the London demo. The police allowed people into the tunnel and attacked in the most brutal manner. The police were criminal in their behaviour and although people were injured the situation could have been very serious. There were women with pushchairs in the tunnel. The Police were smirking as we came back out of the tunnel.

I am going to write to the Police Chief and ask for an explanation. I urge others to do the same.

A note for future march the crowd should stay closely together. Never be cornered by the police and pushed into tunnels.

The police were stupid as in future demos some of the youth will be ready for them.

I hope the police get everything they deserve.