Late reporting from Whitehall and surroundings.
Arrived in Trafalgar Square in the early afternoon, then marched on Whitehall towards Parliament Square. Police were busy directing people where they wanted them to be. Barriers stood in the middle all along Whitehall and police seemed intent in making the march go only on one side of them.
Once in Parliament square, I ended up on the green outside Westminster Abbey. A sound system was on one corner and on another one, a banner with the words “Workers Assembly”. Next to it was a speaker that seemed to welcome anyone who wanted to speak. I could see lots of people with the same model of t-shirt: “Real Democracy Now”, the main demand of what seems to be known as “The Spanish Revolution”. A real assembly seemed to be happening right there. People raised their hands and waved them from time to time (a sign of agreement with what is said at that moment).
On the way back to Trafalgar Square, I saw a small group in the distance, between the Square itself and the McDonalds restaurant, that seemed to be kettled, or in the process of being kettled. Heard reports of snatch squads and seemingly random arrest. People had seen police with “snatch cards” on their hands.
Noticed a police line being formed on one of the side streets. They allowed people to get through the line but at a given point, they stopped allowing anyone through. Before I could figure what was going on, a noise of running came from a few yards back. Three very big guys, bully thugs style, were running very close together. They were carrying a smaller guy between the three of them, clearly against his will. I then realised that the guy being carried in this way had his hands tied up behind his back. He did not have handcuffs, but one of those plastic bands used to hold cables together. His hands were placed in a very ackward and obviously painful position.
Now, these big guys in plain normal clothing carrying this other guy “were” allowed through this police cordon. Then the cordon eased off to allow a van in. After some talking and lots of note-taking by the thuggy guys and uniformed police officers, the guy with his hands on his back was put into the police van.
The incident just described is what is known as “snatch squad arrest”, where police in plain clothes choose one person from the crowd and quickly, by surprise and without any warning or even any word, they immobilise him/her and they quickly take him/her into police custody. I saw another person being taken into a police van in this very same way up in Trafalgar Square too.
Saw another, smaller march also in Trafalgar Square. People dancing to a samba band and with banners about Congo and Sudan marched towards Whitehall. They were escorted and surrounded by police, various big vehicles and other hired workers. Some of the workers picked up traffic cones in front of the march, from one of the big vehicles, leaving them there as the march passed next to them. Other workers put a white tape between the cones, in a way that made the march enclosed by police and by white tape too. Then a last worker removed the tape and put the cones on a last vehicle moving slowly behind the march.
When this small march went on to Whitehall, police had made sure the Strike march was out of the way from the smaller march. So both marches were never mixed up.
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Original article on IMC London: http://london.indymedia.org/articles/9465