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    "Dave" the Police-Man;

    "Why don't you ask all these people complaining about the kettling yesterday: why did they not stick to the agreed route? The police were loudly telling people that if they stuck to the agreed route they were free to move on."

    "Unfortunately, as you know police were responding to serious violent disorder. The video clips have been quite clearly heavily edited to look like consistent "brutality" but if an officer commands to "MOVE AWAY" after four times, why should they not use the force to move them back? By this stage at night in Parliament Square/Victoria Street, the protesters should never have been there and so they were effectively breaking their part of the plea. I think it is fair to say that a lot of people at the front of these demonstrations are there to get their own back on the police; to be excited and if you're in that position, and do not move, you will be at the full front of the law."
    Responses;

    Why don't you ask Dave how a protest can really be a protest if it's route is decided by people who make no secret of the fact that they don't want a protest to happen at all.

    I find the comments of the officer (Daniel) a bit misleading ... Yes, maybe there are some people who want to get there own back on the police, but equally I think there are many police who quite enjoy dealing out a bit of pent-up frustration on the public that they can't get away with day to day.

    In response to Dave from London, the police directed us to Parliament Square from the back.

    A couple of queries regarding Daniel's comments. He seems to suggest that if you merely do not respond to his directive to move, after the fourth repetition he is then able to hit or assault you?
    I myself was stuck between the riot line and thousands of people pushing from behind. It is physically impossible to move back. Not even riot geared police-men who shouts "Get back! Get back" in your face whilst batoning and punching can get you to move back. I nearly got my ribs broke, by a police-man using a baton as a battering ram against my upper body to push me back, into a mass of bodies that are pushing pushing me back against him.


    Almost all of the defacement, fires, etc occurred after kettling – this is not to excuse that but to point out that kettling did not contain the destruction as much as incite it. I did try to step in and stop some of it, as when I told a kid to stop breaking up concrete to throw, but the people being violent were in no mood to listen. There were quite a significant number of those people there but it wasn't everyone by any means. News reports and the police have said that people who wanted to leave, could. We certainly could not and we tried every exit.
    At one point, when we were told we could leave via Westminster Abbey, there were underage children crying and being crushed in the confusion caused by police officers. We were being told to go back, but there was no way to go as those in the back of the crowd were unable to hear the police. And so anyone at the front ended up being crushed, with one girl extremely close to passing out.

    I think the only thing that prevented people from suffering as a result of the cold was down to how tightly packed in we were. There was very little room to breathe, and at times people had to stand on one leg as there was nowhere to even put your feet. It was absolutely terrifying to be in such a situation – and the police just made matters worse.
    I was pushed backwards into the people behind me in the initial charge but the crushed and scared crowd pushed back to stop everyone falling over. I saw several around me hit by batons and fall, screaming. I was then hit over the head by a baton, hard enough to knock me sideways, then again, I think by the same officer. My ears rang and I couldn't hold my balance. I fell over and an officer stepped forward and deliberately stamped his foot into my chest, winding me.

    A man next to me picked me up and held my bleeding head in front of the police (this I have heard from him as I was semi- or unconscious). They did not hit him but did not move aside. He repeatedly screamed for a medic but the police pretended not to hear him although it was clear to look at me that I needed one. He pushed his way through the police line who did not resist but hit a man who tried to follow.

    Next to him, a police officer spontaneously collapsed, apparently feigning unconsciousness. As the officer was not on the front line, had had nothing thrown at him and was wearing full body armour including helmet with visor down, he could not have been injured. The only nearby medic immediately tended to this officer, who had apparently faked an injury. Both medics and police ignored me and my friend who shouted repeatedly for assistance. Giving up, he half-walked, half-carried me to hospital. Once there he attempted to get police to take a statement from me but was told there were none available. I spent three hours in hospital, dizzy, bleeding from the head and being repeatedly sick. My speech was apparently slurred and I have poor memory of what happened for the rest of the day. I had been told to stay overnight but feeling scared and victimised from being hit I left and returned home.
    At around 5.30pm, the police charged down Whitehall. To try and escape, fearing violence, I asked an officer where I should go. I was directed, like a number of people wanting to leave the area, down an narrow alley by the Ministry of Defence. Seconds later, with no warning, we faced a charge by several mounted police. Luckily, as I was by the edge I was able to cling against the metal fence. However, several others, mainly scared children, wanting to go home were hurt. Afterwards, many were left crying on the street and were finding it very difficult to acquire medical assistance. It felt miraculous that nobody fell and was trampled to death.
    The march was very much peaceful until the police began their kettling. This started almost the moment we all gathered in parliament square. Although at this stage and for a couple of hours, people were allowed in and out, rows and rows of police had already enclosed us and this was very intimidating. Fully kitted out in riot gear with truncheons and shields, the atmosphere in the containment soon turned to one of hostility and fear when police began keeping us there. Whatever rubbish the Met might come out with, I saw at first hand the intimidation by the police and I am in no doubt this provoked people who were not only angry at the outcome of the vote but also now at the police for not allowing them to leave peacefully.
    This is from yesterday's protest and occurred whilst protesters were sitting down peacefully waiting to leave the kettle. The police line moved forward and started to physically lift and kick those sitting down. The picture depicts one of the people sitting being pulled up by their scarf. I think you would agree extremely dangerous and unwarranted in the situation.

    Clare Byrne, a PhD student and teaching assistant at King's College, London, writes to explain her experience. She too says "I saw absolutely no violence of any kind until the police began containing and ramming people with a level of aggression that was utterly absurd in the face of the fact that, at that time, most people were standing about in clusters in Parliament Square chatting or perhaps chanting a little".

    She adds:
    As we stood around drinking coffee, a huge number of police vans drove up Parliament street, each full of riot police. These swarmed from the vans, pushing and ramming those who, like us, were around the edges of the square. We found ourselves in the absurd position of being shoved and screamed and sworn at by extremely aggressive and very frightening riot police dressed top to toe in black – we had been standing in a small group sipping coffee and found ourselves treated like criminals. One of my female friends was knocked to the ground by three male riot policemen, her glasses stamped on. Luckily, because they hadn't quite formed the line yet, we managed to grab and pull one another along and run away.
    I was at the protests yesterday and witnessed many examples of police brutality. My 19-year-old sister was forced to the floor by police when caught in a crowd and when attempting to get up was punched in the face by a male officer. She is sporting a black eye this morning. I was also punched in the face by an officer and when I went to make a note of his numbers, two of his colleagues spotted me doing so and placed their hands on his shoulders, making sure I couldn't see them. I continuously asked for him to make his numbers visible. His response was to smirk and say that he couldn't hear me. The police behaved in a totally disgusting manner. I saw many, many examples of this type of behaviour throughout the day.

    This was not containment of violent protesters – the line disingenuously suggested by Met commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson and run by that a disturbing proportion of an inadequate and cowardly media. It was an unjustifiable and illegal means of punishing wholly non-violent and rather docile protesters – chants included "This is not a riot" and "We are peaceful, what are you?"; protesters put their hands up in unison to signal non-violent intent – in pretty much the coldest, most uncomfortable place possible. It was roughly the sixth hour of the kettling protesters – many of whom, it can't be restated enough, were children ...

    It seemed more to be motivated by traditional aims of kettling that are rarely stated: to demoralise protesters so much that they are dissuaded from taking part again, and to exhaust them physically so that they go home quietly (not that there was any need for the latter by this stage of the night). While queueing to leave Parliament Square, a woman next to me jokingly told a police officer that if they let us go, she would promise that this would be her last demonstration. The officer replied, "That's the point."
    Alfie Meadows, a philosophy student at Middlesex University, was struck as he tried to leave the area outside Westminster Abbey during last night's tuition fee protests, his mother said.

    After falling unconscious on the way to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, he underwent a three-hour operation for bleeding on the brain.

    Susan Meadows, 55, an English literature lecturer at Roehampton University, said: "He was hit on the head by a police truncheon. He said it was the hugest blow he ever felt in his life. The surface wound wasn't very big but three hours after the blow, he suffered bleeding to the brain. He survived the operation and he's in the recovery room."

    Mr Meadows was with a number of friends, including two lecturers, Nina Power, a colleague of his mother's, and Peter Hallward, a philosophy lecturer at Kingston University.

    But as they tried to leave the area where protesters were being held in a police "kettling" operation, the second-year undergraduate suffered a blow to the head.
    I was outside the kettle in Parliament Square yesterday watching as riot police fought with protesters and then split like the Red Sea to allow two charges of police on horseback into the crowd. It was absolutely horrific to witness. These are dispersal tactics used on the continent but the Met are using it against people who have nowhere to run because they are kettled. The horses charged at high speed and from where I was they seemed to end up wading through the protesters. It's a miracle that no-one was seriously injured, or even killed.

    Will they keep using this tactic until someone falls and their head is trampled on? It makes absolutely no sense. Do they want to kettle (if so, police it properly with the right numbers) or disperse (if so, give people somewhere to disperse to)? (I got out of the way by climbing onto some gates, it was ****ing close).
    I just got home after attending the embers of the protest at the end of Victoria Street. While there I got chatting to a 17year-old girl. A while later a group of people who I believe to be neo-Nazis turned up and started causing trouble. They were trying to start on an old man of about 60. A policeman calmed him down. They then started picking on this girl. They all started to scream "****!" at her and she called them this back. The group (about 12-15) walked up to her in a very menacing way. We backed off towards the police and then one of the group pushed the girl violently in the head, causing her to fall down on her back. I pulled her away to the police and asked for help. Two of them smirked at each other and one said: "You wanted free speech." They then continued to watch as the neo-Nazis caused trouble. This occurred at around 7pm.
    Three things I saw:

    One, a guy running away from police along Whitehall getting being unable to run further because of a stray barrier. Before he could jump over, two police charged into him with their shields and repeatedly hit him with their shields, against the barrier.

    Two, other people have mentioned it, but still: a V-shaped wedge of mounted police charging into a crowd of teenagers – whose only objective at the time was to leave Parliament Square.

    Three, someone trapped behind police lines with two policemen standing over them, repeatedly bringing their batons down, while the rest of us were pushed back.

    There were people seriously hurt. I saw a couple of people prone being tended by police medics.
    Bob Brecher, who is professor of moral philosophy at the University of Brighton, suggests police were "ordered to frighten people into not demonstrating again", although he says some individual officers seemed uncomfortable about this:


    The "violence" that occurred — and the disproportionality of physical violence against the person used by the police as against that used by demonstrators is significant — was deliberately engineered. The twofold intention was to ensure that the demonstration received "a bad press"; and to dissuade future protesters.

    Three of our students, I have just been told, are unable to attend classes today, having been physically attacked by the police.
    Violent thugs? I am a 21-year-old literature student and I am a protester. I danced to music on Parliament Square as people spray painted NO on the grass, I shouted 'tory **** tory ****' with pride, I got pushed to the police front line and charged by horses on two occasions (please see footage of charges on 24th and 9th). I am not ashamed.

    If you want to look at thugs then look to to the police.

    I am a girl of five foot two, I was pushed several times in the face, dragged on the floor and laughed at by police when I told them I had asthma. This is why people get angry, because people were being trapped and wanted to get out.

    All afternoon we were told people were able to leave from various places but this was just not true.

    I asked a policeman were I could go to the toilet; he pointed at the floor by his feet.

    Another shouted: "Move, *****, or I'll squash you with my horse."

    Eventually, when the protests had died down and people were desperate to go home, a group of around 1,000 protesters were finally escorted to Westminster Bridge to exit; however this was a trick. What then happened was we were held on the bridge for hours in the freezing cold. The crowd remained calm, but after hours of freezing people began to chant "let us out" and then the crowd pushed forwards. Being small I was carried by the crowd and ended up by the police line. I was tired and cold and hadn't eaten for 12 hours or had any water.

    I screamed at the police not to hurt me because I was being pushed but they still went for my face, almost pulling me to the floor. A man to my right put his arms over my face, screaming, "Leave her alone, she's a girl, she's not harming you," but the police began to hit him several times on the head.

    When we were finally let off the bridge it was one at a time through huge crowds of jeering officers. We were told we were being photographed in case we had damaged royal car. But how this could have happened whilst we were kettled in parliament i don't know.

    What I will say is that by this stage the anarchists had fought their way out, and just lots of women and children were left to freeze.
    We were told at 8.30pm that the police would lead us across Westminster bridge and then let us leave, but we were actually held on the bridge until 11pm. I estimate that there were at least 2,000 of us. People were fainting from being so crushed, and from not having eaten since before we arrived at Parliament Square. We were told nothing about why we were being held there, and, as frustration understandably rose, people began to push forward. Were the police waiting for someone to be crushed, to break a limb, or to be pushed over the edge of the bridge by the force of people behind them?

    I was quite close to the police line, and could not stop myself being pushed towards them. I saw people being hit and forcibly pushed back even though they were not the ones doing the pushing. Most of us were not trying to cause trouble, just get home, and the police tactics caused problems rather than solving them.
    I saw 14-year-olds carry out their friends with cracked heads and things like that. I saw that people were being kettled until 1am on Westminster Bridge. They were held there without toilet facilities, without water or food for 10 hours. We don't live in that kind of regime ... What we experienced is horrendous for a democratic regime.

    In the video you can clearly see a boy no older than 11 and two girls slightly older trying to get out and being turned back by police. I was scared; I can only imagine how they must have felt facing repeated cavalry charges. Also watch for the moment when three mounted officers charge their horses through the narrow laneway opposite Downing street to stop people escaping the kettle. It was a miracle nobody was killed or seriously injured during this reckless exercise in terror. Also note the moment when a regiment with badges covered up comes forward to confront the crowd.
    http://dai.ly/g2hzzH
    At 9 o'clock, Big Ben tolling, we were moved onto the bridge, thankful to be at last free to go home. But no. Again we stopped. Of course, the police simply wanted to move those causing damage away from buildings. By this time I was cold, hungry and tired ... Three cold teenagers in T-shirts came past, looking upset, and I asked if they were OK. "They won't let us out," they said. "My Dad's called Scotland Yard and everything."

    They were 15 and I was sure police were obliged to let minors go. I went up to the line of riot police and explained that there were three 15-year-olds here. Could they let them go? "No, no one is to leave." I asked if a senior officer could come who could make that decision. "The decision had been made," he said. I politely asked him to lower his visor so that the children could take his number so that his parents could file a complaint.

    At around 11pm, 7 hours after I was trapped on Whitehall by a line of police horses I was
    released with a camera filming me with more police lining the exit than I have ever seen.
    Someone in front of me said something to an officer about being kettled. He replied, "We don't call it kettling." I pitched in: "Whatever you call it, it is still unjust."

    "**** off," he muttered.

    "Kettling" is justified as a tactic to reduce disorder without the use of police violence. But I saw police charging on horseback into a crowd of children and police lines formed where there was no disorder. Like anyone else I do not expect to be held for seven hours on a freezing cold night for no reason when I have done nothing and when officers themselves tell me they can see I am doing nothing. To emerge to see the news coverage completely ignoring the crowds calmly waiting, frightened on the other side of the sqaure from all the mayhem, simply rubs salt into the wound. I sympathise with Charles and Camilla. I ask them and others to imagine what it was like when you were not in a car and couldn't leave.
    I quote directly from Rachel Burden on 5live yesterday lunchtime "there look to be roughly 10,000 students protesting so far. All very calm at the moment so no real story yet, we'll cross live if there are any developments"

    Kind of puts all the "if only they were peacful their message would get across" into perspective doesn't it?

    People who are either ''for'' or ''against'' what is happening are kind of missing the point - which is - it's happening. And I have been saying for ages on these boards that this sort of thing will happen - more and more frequently. It doesn't surprise me that on Newsnight last night - it appeared that from the footage many of those doing the actual rioting were young men. If you take away peoples hopes and chances of a job etc then you have to be prepared either to pay them enough dole or whatever else to keep them quiet, or you will face massive unrest.

    Even Thatcher knew that! Cut JSA and ESA to the bone, cut EMA altogether, let the banks keep not lending to SME's, so more jobs go - and you have the perfect recipe for unrest and eventually social breakdown.

    On france 24 yesterday there was a debate about Portugals debt crisis - people are also rioting in Portugal - they are angry and more than that they are scared. The report said that the standard of living for many in Portugal has collapsed in a way not seen since the 1930's. I am sure a lot of this is about more than fees for those who were running around Oxford street etc smashing things up - it is about seeing banks getting more and more money whilst whole community's are targeted for the second time by neo-liberalism.

    First they came and took working class jobs and decimated industry and now they are coming for the benefits that have kept those people able to eat at least - and then they wonder where the anger comes from. I am not saying here that I think this anger is constructive -in fact it is possibly not as there is no alternative ideology like socialism etc driving it - it is just pure anger. And that is dangerous.

    And yesterday in the US the banks payed out bonuses early so their staff could buy Christmas presents whilst thousands protested outside them asking for jobs. People can see that what is happening is the biggest gulf opening up between 'them' and 'us' since feudal times. Unlike the thirty's no bankers have thrown themselves out of windows in despair this time around - quite the opposite - the rich have got even richer.

    And as one of the academics said on France 24 last night - ''this is now very serious and in Europe and elsewhere there is a risk people will turn to extremism''. Which is again something I have been saying for ages on these boards to those ultra-pragmatic, right wingers, who think like accountants with their 'there is no money left we have to cut' mentality. The problem with neo-liberalism is it is based on the cold, hard logic of Freidman - who never once understood that economics is not purely mathemtatical - it cannot be because it deals with human beings. We are now seeing those human beings react under the strain of this shock doctrine. As things get even harder for most people then we may see much more violence than this and we may see real bloodshed. The bankers and their puppets are playing a very dangerous game.
    So please stop lumping all the students who were there in the same category. The majority were peaceful, a few violent. The few who are violent gives the police the "right" to be more brutal, which of course angers the people who are peaceful...etc etc it's a vicious circle.

    Anyway, shouldn't they know by now that kettling can turn a peaceful demonstrations into an angry, frustrated crowd?

    I just can't understand why they keep resorting to it, unless that's precisely what they want: to anger the protesters and put them on the brink of violence so they can identify and arrest the "extremists".

    In that case, they should probably arrest themselves afterwards for incitation to violence.
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    This makes me sick.
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    Great thread. I was at the Parliament Square protest and the police behaviour I witnessed against innocent people was shocking. This was the first protest I had been to, and before it I rather naively always thought that accounts of police brutality at previous protests had been exaggerated, which I can now say simply isn't true. I saw people who hadn't committed any violent actions being senselessly beaten by riot policemen, many of whom couldn't have been over 16. There were people who were peacefully sitting down being attacked, and riot police deliberately inciting violence amongst protesters. The kettling strategies were insane as well. I have no idea what purpose it could possibly serve to keep us kettled on Westminster Bridge for two hours in the freezing cold - the crowd was largely made up of completely peaceful people, as the minority of people who had been smashing things and starting fights had long since gone elsewhere. Even after we were kettled on the bridge the crowd was peaceful, but after a long hour of being kept there pointlessly and taunted by the police some people understandably had become angry. I can genuinely think of no good reason as to why we were detained there, apart from, as had been suggested, to "punish" us for having attended the protest and to scare protesters off from coming to further demonstrations. To return home to find that all this had been completely ignored by most media outlets in favour of reporting that poor Prince Charles will have to repaint his car was extremely demoralising.
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    Great thread
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    Wow, this isn't totally biased at all..
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    (Original post by Prince Rupert)
    Wow, this isn't totally biased at all..
    The mainstream media tells one side. This thread is another
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    (Original post by No Future)
    The mainstream media tells one side. This thread is another
    Indeed. :yy:
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    (Original post by No Future)
    The mainstream media tells one side. This thread is another
    The mainstream media, particularly the BBC, have done nothing but bang on about how 'unfair' these plans on tuition fees are and the how aggressive the policing has been at the protests. This mass misinformation, fuelled purely by anti Tory sentiment, is the sole reason a small section of the public supported the cause, but those numbers are declining by the minute as the true facts of the case filter down to people i.e. most students will be better off, especially the poorest than under the current system
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    (Original post by Prince Rupert)
    The mainstream media, particularly the BBC, have done nothing but bang on about how 'unfair' these plans on tuition fees are and the how aggressive the policing has been at the protests. This mass misinformation, fuelled purely by anti Tory sentiment, is the sole reason a small section of the public supported the cause, but those numbers are declining by the minute as the true facts of the case filter down to people i.e. most students will be better off, especially the poorest than under the current system
    I wonder why that is.
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    (Original post by Prince Rupert)
    The mainstream media, particularly the BBC, have done nothing but bang on about how 'unfair' these plans on tuition fees are and the how aggressive the policing has been at the protests. This mass misinformation, fuelled purely by anti Tory sentiment, is the sole reason a small section of the public supported the cause, but those numbers are declining by the minute as the true facts of the case filter down to people i.e. most students will be better off, especially the poorest than under the current system
    25% of students will be better off (the poorest)
    The rest will not be better off
    25% is not a majority
    Despite this, the poorest people are also the most debt averse and the thought of huge debt could certainly deter poor people from university
 
 
 
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