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I still blame police brutality


4:21 am - April 2nd 2009

by Sunny Hundal    


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We knew this was coming. The Met police had been scaremongering about the G20 protests for weeks through a willing media, based on a few random website postings. This, from an institution which the Joint Select Committee on Human Rights said only a week ago was “too heavy-handed in dealing with protests”. This, from an institution that intentionally harassed and went completely over the top with Climate Camp last year.

And the same happened yesterday. We were only reporting for the Guardian and yet, unexplicably, the police closed in on all protestors from as early as 12:30pm and would not let the several thousand people go anywhere. We managed to escape through the police cordon, but Dave Hill was stuck there till late evening and some, according to the police, would be there till midnight. They all had to be photographed and had their details taken down you see. For just attending a protest.

We can argue endlessly whether the G20 protests had a point. People can even sneer at the message. That is to be expected. But this is about the fact that our basic right to stage a peaceful protest is being eroded. They will just detain you for hours on end, without a toilet to go to, and then arrest you or beat you if you choose to complain. And then they’ll take down your details. Is this the sort of democracy we want to live in?

Sure, there were trouble-makers, as any protest does. But the police penalised everyone right from the start. They predicted trouble and then created the conditions for it. And now undoubtedly they’ll play the victim, aided by a willing media that dance to their tune. And then we wonder what the fuck happened to our civil liberties.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Civil liberties ,Crime ,Media

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Reader comments


Matthew Engel in The Financial Times agrees with you (P4). The FT!!!!!

“Sun fun and pillows give way to Robocop”

3. Alisdair Cameron

ACPO will be delighted: their plan’s worked, they demonised and abused protesters, and can now press for even more disproportionate police powers, and the commercial opportunities that’ll accompany them.That’s one private capitalist enterprise that’s not only determined to rake it in in the current climate, but has been growing its market, thanks to the inability of the Govt to say no.

The riots cops were attacking people in such a frenzy, it was horrific. One cop came charging towards me fortunately I was able to move away, others weren’t. Indeed it is about eroding civil liberties and the right to protest. The cops had been psyched up for this and were looking for a ruck. It was brutal and ciolent policing. I hope New Labour are pleased with their boot boys. It reminded me 1980s political policing. Hemming people is an attack on freedom and movement. They are intent on criminalising protests and protesters especially with the wide definitions of ‘terrorists’ and ‘extremists’

I was/am still angry after yesterday and am off to the anti-war demo, don’t know what will happen there.

Here is my own report and pix of the event.
http://harpymarx.wordpress.com/2009/04/01/this-is-not-what-democracy-looks-like/

“But this is about the fact that our basic right to stage a peaceful protest is being eroded. ”

It might help if the violent protestors were kept away or restrained by the peaceful protestors.

Although I work at the St Paul’s end of Cheapside, near Paternoster Square, it was like being in a different world. The event on the TV – a made for (and by?) TV event if ever there was one – could have been on another planet, though it was just 500m away.

I would certainly like to hear the police side of things – you can clearly see what the “penning in” strategy is designed to achieve but why use it unnecessarily, etc. – and despite disagreeing with the protestors about just about everything I am certainly very disturbed by what appeared at least to be a heavy handed approach. It doesn’t exactly help my side of the argument!

But it was not only the police who were hyping things up a bit.
The Guardian published a piece by an “anonymous” protestor – “Theo Rilla” – who spoke of bringing the “spirit of Athens” to London. Though most of it was so moronically Dave Spart-ish that it could quite easily have been an April Fooler. And of course there was that idiot from the East London “uinversity”. No doubt other bigmouths too on the interweb.

Honestly, Sunny – I have no idea how you can be so naive. You join a mass protest that was always going to attract a violent element, then complain that the police were keen to contain the protest.

I wrote you a letter on my blog this morning explaining why your account of yesterday’s events is at best laughable and at worst idiotic.

#5 & #7

Who were these violent protesters? From what I can make out, there were people who (after police provoked them) attacked an empty building, and there may have been a handful of people who fought back when police attacked them, but I think of violence as attacking people, not vandalism or defending yourself. Even at the climate camp gathering which was univerally reported as entirely peaceful even by Sky News, the police waited for the media to go home then acted brutally.

A person died, FFS.

is pretty sickened by the stories of how the police acted at yesterdays protests, no democracy here… – http://tinyurl.com/d9yv65

Sunny why do you not join the Police and learn at first hand about the problems of large crowds. It is 20 years since Hilsborough, when the Police made mistakes. Large crowds do think rationally; someone only has to fall and a stampede can result.

Once there are a few hundred people trying to commit acts of violence in a crowd of thousands, control is very difficult. People have a right to their property being protected. There has been plenty of violence at other G 8 meetings and enough comments made about this one for the Police to have to many decisions prior to the event starting. I have walked past the Police many times without feeling the need to hurl abuse at them or damage property. When people say they were provoked into violence, it has the same justification as a man hitting his female partner because he was provoked.

5. Richard .Why do the peaceful protestors not take took responsibility for the violent ones? Then there would be no need for the Police.

Strangely enough I have never found myself “provoked” into attacking any building – empty or otherwise.
Have you?

You join a mass protest that was always going to attract a violent element, then complain that the police were keen to contain the protest.

You’re the one that’s naive if you think the Police are totally innocent in the outcome of these type of actions.

Strangely enough I have never found myself provoked into hitting protesters over the head with batons

Have you?

I condemn that too – while you appear happy to excuse vandalism.

Have you ever heard the expression: two wrongs don’t make a right?

#9

I wasn’t on this demo, but I have been on peaceful marches where police have charged with batons, tactically attacking the section of the march they believed most likely to respond in kind. People have reacted and then been labelled violent demonstrators.

As for peaceful protesters protecting those engaged in vandalism (I still refuse to call them violent; there is a difference between attacking people as the police have done and attacking a building with no people in it), my point is that if police have already provoked them the dynamics of crowd mentality are that you protect the people who are on your side, not people who have already provoked and abused you. The police would actually get more co-operation if they hadn’t already provoked and abused people. But they’re not primarily looking for co-operation to protect the buildings, they’re primarily looking to manage the protests in a way that demonises protesters and in a way which allows them to arrest people they see as organisers of or serial agitators towards protests.

#13 – but by condemning both even-handedly you make them seem equivalent, which they’re not.

Where do you live?
I’m feeling a bit of provocation towards your windows coming on…don’t worry, I’ll make sure you’re not there when I break them, it’s only an empty building after all.
Meanwhile walking past the RBS branch yesterday in Paternoster Square yesterday afternoon, which was open before the news of the attack on the other branch came through, the staff looked pretty scared while waiting for some security to arrive.
But who cares about them, eh, when the self-righteous are “provoked”.

In fact, although the RBS branch which was attacked was closed, there were still staff working inside. So not empty after all. I wouldn’t have liked to have been one of them, would you? But who cares about them?

@8 Tim F: “Who were these violent protesters?”

They were the ones deliberately charging the police throughout the morning, they were the ones smashing up RBS and looting equipment, they were the ones who attacked HSBC, they were the ones who were goading the police and hitting them with poles.

Just so we’re clear.

Apparently the bloke who died collapsed and when police tried to assist him they were pelted with bottles by protestors.

I think there’s a lot of hyperbole going around about police ‘brutality’.

Only an idiot would deny that a small but determined number of protestors came looking for fight. When things looked like they might be getting out of hand the police had to contain the situation. Unfortunately it some peaceful bystanders got caught up in it, but I hardly think anyone going along to this demo couldn’t have expected this to happen.

Overall I think the police did a reasonable job – although they obviously failed to protect that RBS branch. What if people had been working inside there? Could have been ugly.

Shorter lfat/cjcjc: “Lefties are fair game.”

Bang on, Sunny. The protest was peaceful and good natured until hundreds of police with truncheons and shields turned up and started pushing people around and not letting them leave. It was perfectly clear to everyone there that this was designed to provoke a reaction. I saw one girl knocked unconscious by a policeman and lots of people with cracked skulls. When we headed down to climate camp in the evening around 9 pm we were told to leave by riot police who had sealed it off. When my friend didn’t leave quick enough a policeman started whacking him repeatedly with his truncheon and screaming at him.

The whole operation from start to finish was a self-fulfilling prophecy, as you say, the ultimate aim being to secure more power and resources for the police.

Would you be up for some kind of co-ordinated response? I think we should encourage people to complain to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

I’m not trying to be cynical or anything but I have a few questions:

1) What was the aim of the protest?

2) Do protests like these actually work in the UK? I know they work well in France and Greece, but here most people don’t seem to give a damn – they might complain about Goodwin but they forget after a bit and life goes on.

According to the FT there were people inside that RBS branch.

It’s a f***ing branch, FFS. And we own most of it now, too.

Those thugs – what morons.

Neil – no. On balance I am inclinded to agree with Sunny. Probably. Just. Maybe.
Though I would be interested in a full account from the police side.
(I know – we won’t get one.)
But the window smashing thugs, yes, they’re fair game allright.

“But the window smashing thugs, yes, they’re fair game allright.”

In a kind of 1 window pane = 1 skull kind of way? Just asking, you know.

There were staff inside that building, but I guess you don’t care about them, only about the thugs.

I agree with Sunny’s post wholeheartedly. I went down to the protest yesterday, as much out of curiosity as anything else, and decided to leave when it became clear that the police were about to start “kettling” the whole thing. Five minutes later and I’d probably have been there as long as Dave Hill was.

I should point out, by the way, that that happened significantly before anyone started smashing RBS windows and so on. Now, of course there were troublemakers there who would probably have done something bad from the outset, but I also believe that the police probably added significantly to those numbers by simply acting as if they expected it of everyone present.

I don’t know what the appropriate way to police this kind of event is, but I’m pretty sure what I saw yesterday isn’t it.

ps. @Charlie, there were nowhere near “hundreds” of violent protesters. There were perhaps fifty. I’m not even sure there were that many.

What kind of morons are these people who turn violent simply on the basis of other peoples’ expectations?
They sound exactly like the kind of intelligent, rational and self-controlled people we should be listening to – not.

“There were staff inside that building”

Ah, so it would have been okay to attack the building if it was not staffed?

Interesting.

Of course not – though tim f seems to think so.

So it is 1 window pane = 1 skull, then?

I would try to stop them without getting to the “skull” stage, but if necessary, yes.

What’s your answer? Stand back and let them get on with it?

“2) Do protests like these actually work in the UK? I know they work well in France and Greece, but here most people don’t seem to give a damn – they might complain about Goodwin but they forget after a bit and life goes on.”

If they don’t work it is because our government has taken huge steps to ensure they don’t, that the protests can be belittled as violent extremists…not far of enemies of the state, and that therefore they need not be listened to.

In collusion with the media the whole protest is then seen by the centrist and right wing population as “hippies” causing trouble unnecessarily and thus no public support goes towards an of the good messages either.

Our government doesn’t fear protest as they’ve neutered it.

“Unfortunately it some peaceful bystanders got caught up in it, but I hardly think anyone going along to this demo couldn’t have expected this to happen.”

And this is an example of how they’ve neutered it. They’ve allowed protests to become stages for anti-state versus police battles, and in the public mind have let it become “normal” for police to step in the way of our right to protest because of a minority. I don’t even need to go in to how this is counter-productive since so many other bloggers have done that perfectly well.

Lee, how does your analysis apply to Saturday’s protest which was many times larger and saw no trouble?

You mean the one no-one heard about and that is, as every other march, routinely ignored by those it’s intended to reach?

Shorter cjcjc: Window panes are more valuable than leftie skulls.

Shorter Neil: let vandalism run riot.

I think we should encourage people to complain to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

No doubt this will cause the Government pause for thought before they instruct the police to illegally neuter the next demonstration.

I don’t want to deprecate Sunny’s protest but I have to say there is a class element to this. The police rather enjoy breaking a few student heads on this kind of jaunt. They will be rather less keen to tackle spontaneous working class rioting this summer in the provinces.

That is if it happens.

I’m worried the spirit of Orgreave and the Poll tax rioters has been doused by too much reality TV. What do you think Chavscum?

I do have to question the thinking powers of people who decide to protest against private capital by attacking consumer branches of publicly-owned banks. Being stupid isn’t a crime, but vandalising public property is, and of course the police have to respond.

What really isn’t a crime is peacefully protesting somewhere in the same vicinity as people who are, allegedly, being ‘violent’. If I’m happily walking down the street and someone else is causing trouble, I don’t expect the police to be coming after me. This has absolutely fuck all to do with the ‘right to protest’, as protest is nothing more than the right to assemble, the right to free speech and the exercise of public rights of way. These are not to be suspended for the majority merely because a handful of people are violating the rights of others.

Both sides in this debate have been ramping up the propaganda to the extent that I’ve no idea if there was a violent undercurrent throughout the protest that left the police with no choice but to intervene in force, or if there was a largely peaceful protest that was deliberately disrupted and antagonised by a police for that has a vested interest in there being trouble for them to crack down on. My suspicion is that we’ll have to spend a long time sifting through the evidence to get the real picture, and that there will end up having been violations on both sides. What benefits nobody is the whole idea that the police and peaceful protestors are on opposite sides; law-abiding protestors really should expect to be treated as such and given the protection and consideration that their rights afford them. Somewhere along the line, this seems to have been forgotten.

27. Andy Hinton. When thousands are packed together, a few tens of people trying to push can start panic in crowd leading to a stampede. If one looks at the CND marches to Aldermaston in the 50s and 60s they were peaceful because noone was trying to cause trouble. Nowadays , the problem now is that within these large demonstrations five groups of ten people , spread out over alarge area and acting together, can cause panic. After the demonstrators had said they would use Twitter to coordinate their movements, the possibility of groups acting together but dispersed over a large area ,could have caused serious problems.

As cjcj has said there were people in the RBS building which was attacked. If demonstrators had been let in and a fire started in the building how would have the fire engines and ambulances arrived at the scene? If I had been a Police commander that would have been my nightmare ; a buildng on fire, people tracked inside and it impossible for the fire engines and ambulances to attend. As Vince Cable said at, the financial crisis happened in part because the banks did not undertake scenario planning( as Shell he was expected to undertake at Shell)l planning only computer modelling.

It would be interesting if any of the people criticising the Police operation had any operational experience of managing large demonstrations. In my experience, the most authoritative criticism comes from those with plenty of experience and a track record of proven competence .

Amazing, really, how the right-wing liberty lovers come here to complain about how za-nu-lie-bour are marching us toward a police state, yet the moment it actually starts to happen they can’t find figleaves to cover the police behaviour quick enough: But the hooligans broke windows! The horror!

Lee – yes, that one!
But it wasn’t ignored/neutered for the reason you suggest.
It wasn’t a “stage for anti-state versus police battles” was it?
Nor are the vast majority of protests, are they?
In fact most protests are almost by definition self-neutering, as only the most passionate (likely to be more “extereme”) can be bothered to organise one, while the line they take will only attract the most like-minded.

Neil – are you capable of reading what people write, or are your responses ready made?

Simple question: a group of people are smashing windows. What is your recommended response exactly?

I really don’t understand why, if a large number of people really want to make an effective protest about the way the country is being run, they don’t just all disperse to random road junctions and lie down in the road. A few thousand people could literally bring the whole capital to a halt.

Imagine if all the people who swanned through London to ‘protest’ the Iraq War had, instead of going home feeling smug, just sat down, in the road. If you really give a damn, give up 24 hours, not just an afternoon. Actually do something that isn’t just a ritual.

‘Protesters’ who seem more interested in the chance to have a pop at the cops [or to have a chance to complain about the cops having a pop] seem to have missed the point rather. ‘Protest’ that takes the form of ‘demonstrations’ is just noise. ‘Demonstrations’ that devolve into fighting are always counter-productive. Real non-violent direct action could involve a thousand alternatives.

Charlie:

I don’t really see how what you say addresses what I said to any great extent. I agree with much of it. I don’t suggest for a moment that my comments have any “authority”, I’m just telling you what I thought as someone who was there.

To be honest, I would have understood if the police had charged in in force to remove the people who smashed into RBS and arrest them. I was surprised they didn’t. If they had taken that as a “final straw” and told everyone to sod off home as a result, that I could understand.

What I don’t understand the point of is keeping everyone stood around for several hours, even if they wanted to go home, getting them more and more wound up.

“Oh, won’t someone think of the windows!”

Neil, if you could just let me know where your windows are, I’ll pop round with a brick later.

49. Cheesy Monkey

I didn’t understand why the RBS branch was attacked…

…where the headquarters were a six-minute walk up the road. As well as those of UBS, Henderson, Barings, Deutsche Bank amongst others…

Minding my own business, planting seeds…

Why was permission given for this march ? It was bound to cause violence , it contained a direct physical threat to innocent workers and inevitably lead to damage . This is surely a text book example of a reasonable curtailment of freedom and I would suggest in future such permission is denied .

Hey I thought you lot were vehmently opposed to initiation of violence.

Or did I initiate the violence by writing something you disagree with?

52. Cheesy Monkey

Freedom’s just for you and your mates, innit Newmania?

Now please kindly fuck off you ignorant cunting troll.

Toodles!

Careful Cheesy Monkey, cjcjc might come round and kick your dog for that.

54. Cheesy Monkey

Heh – maybe. Or stand on my roof waving a fiver…

Cheesy – because the people involved in that RBS branch attack are morons, that’s why.
They have no idea which firm in the City is which.
(NB Barings hasn’t existed for some time.)

Neil – were the morons who broke into the RBS branch subject to any violence from anyone inside? Is that the “initiation” you refer to? Was it self-defence??
I am still struggling to understand your justification for what they did, and waiting for your suggestion as to how such behaviour should be dealt with.

I think you should explain why you’re soliciting my address in order to come and brick my windows first, cjcjc.

57. Cheesy Monkey

Barings does exist – I worked for them for three months last year. Offices on floors 9 and 10 in 155 Bishopsgate if I remember. They are part of a US asset management firm nowadays. But they are definitely a going concern.

Careful Cheesy Monkey, cjcjc might come round and kick your dog for that.

Makes just as much sense as attacking RBS after having been “provoked” by a third party.

Sorry – I’m the moron there – so they do.

60. Matt Munro

I dunno what everyones getting so excited about, we haven’t had a decent riot for a while, and it made much more intersting viewing than a load of VIPs going into buildings. It wasn’t a patch on the poll tax riots, but that just about sums up this country, even public disorder is feminised and innofensive.

61. Vulpus_rex

I work near Bank and was down there about 20 mins before the window smashing.

There were lots of police and yes clearly they were containing the protestors but I had no sense of an ugly mood and no sense that things were about to get violent. It seemed to me that curious office workers milling around outnumbered the protestors by about 10 to 1.

The fact that 20 mins later I can see photos on the web of RBS getting smashed in smacked to me of a stage managed phot opportunity.

Matt you’re right.

I didn’t even think the police were hitting very hard.

And these new batons look woosy.

45. Andy Hinton . Moving through a group of peaceful protestors to get to those who are violent can be difficult. Containing people in one area may be less of problem than large groups of people moving through an area of whom a few wish to cause violence. Once a demonstration has disperesd but there are runnings battle with a few groups, then it is very difficult to control.

If we can revert to the peaceful protests, such as the marches Aldermaston of the 50s and 60s , then life will be easier for all concerned.

67: I laughed.

65. Shatterface

You might blame the police but I blame a government which has made peaceful protest impossible.

66. Vulpus_rex

I’ve just been for another look round the bank of England area, still pretty busy.

I must say, anyone who tries to dismiss the protestors as a bunch of posturing middle class trustafarians is wrong.

The standard of spelling and punctuation in the graffiti is shocking. Compelling evidence that the writers are the product of the Blair/Brown ravaged state education system, I’d say.

Poor sods, no wonder they’re angry.

Amazing, really, how the right-wing liberty lovers come here to complain about how za-nu-lie-bour are marching us toward a police state, yet the moment it actually starts to happen they can’t find figleaves to cover the police behaviour quick enough: But the hooligans broke windows! The horror!

Because when the rubber meets the road, the right wing libertarians will always be found siding with money and property, and that’s it. Think Uncle Miltie Friedman’s response to the Patriot Act – Oh well, those horrible Islamisses are so nasty we’ll just have to crack down on freedom for the forseeable future, and revisit the question at some indeterminate point.

I once had this graphically ground home when I pointed out that an actual right wing Libertarian government would face extremely violent riots in its first week in office – Perry De Havilland, one of the oddballs at Samizdata, popped up and told me that the rioters would quickly find out that Lots of money buys Lots of guns.

For the unimaginitive amongst you, that means the majority of the populace being violently kept in line by heavily armed state agents. Ah, the sweet smell of freedom!

I say, let them put that in their manifestos.

68. Luis Enrique

That was more or less Miltie’s response, but is it really so strange that a libertarian should accept limitations to freedom at a time when national security is (perceived to be) threatened? I don’t know about foaming idiot libertarians, but that’s the sort of response I’d have expected a sensible libertarian* to make.

* among whose numbers I do not count myself.

69. Cheesy Monkey

@Flying Rodent: excellent as ever, dear sir!

Oh well, those horrible Islamisses are so nasty …

Absolutely: Libertarians = Gollum.

…is it really so strange that a libertarian should accept limitations to freedom at a time when national security is (perceived to be) threatened?

That depends – are we talking about a) a well-planned and considered decision on whether to accept certain minor limitations on freedom and small enhancements in the power of state officials to the benefit of all, or b) a quick back-of-a-fag-packet calculation on whether or not offering sweeping powers to the government would benefit the Republican Party?

Because I have a sneaking suspicion that Uncle Miltie, like 99% of American “libertarians”, was more influenced by the latter.

71. Luis Enrique

It seems I have more generous view of American libertarians than you do …. I know a lot of people think that Milton was mainly motivated by b), and I’ve read lots of people I respect describe his later career public statements as often made in bad faith. I couldn’t say. Your option a) is a bit demanding … is their room for a version somewhere along the lines of “well I don’t like it, but I guess we’re going to have to put up with it for a while” – it’s possible to have a sensible and consistent-with-ones-principles response without it being well planned and considered. But I’m not sure what we’re discussing … the character of an ill-specified collection of people called ‘libertarians’, some of whom are going to be arseholes of the sort you describe, and some of whom won’t. I guess we disagree on the proportions, but have no way of settling it either way.

Not wishing to speak for FR, but I’ve had too many discussions with online libertarians where, once cornered, they start braging about their gun collection to afford them any generosity whatsoever.

I assume that libertarians would want to do their own shooting, not have the state do it for them?

Christ, are you still here cjcjc? Aren’t there some leftie windows you should be off bricking?

Perhaps we should organise a protest against the scare-mongering and brutality of the police.

76. Cheesy Monkey

@cjcjc

I assume that libertarians would want to do their own shooting, not have the state do it for them?

Quite. But no doubt those incorrigible frauds blame the “nanny state” for not being able to do so.

Anyway, I’m not sure if “libertarian” is the correct term for those bumshowers – “fundamentalist capitalists” seeps far more apposite.

Can everybody on all sides of this “debate” please stop making me hate them? kthxbai

Anyone who actually wants to discuss police/protester violence in a sane manner, we’re running a few good pieces at Lib Dem Voice, if I do say so myself…

I’ll leave the window smashing to the morons, if that’s OK

79. Cheesy Monkey

Or even “seems”. Damn my one-fingered typing…

That’s not what you said at #47.

81. Cheesy Monkey

@Alix

Well yes – I could go along to that site and witness dullards fart inconsequentially in favour of whatever the Lib Dems are in favour of today; or I could just go outside and sit on a fence. Much the same outcome, granted, but at least the sun’s out…

Cheesy Monkey, there is something very important you must understand if you are to make your way in life, and it is this: nobody wants to see your little willy. Put it away again.

Charlie: “Once a demonstration has dispersed but there are running battles with a few groups, then it is very difficult to control.”

Ah, I see. So the peaceful protesters who were there are to be seen less as humans with their own rights to things like not being detained for hours without charge, and more as a sort of packing foam for the few nutters who the police want to contain. Got you. Much clearer now, thanks.

Yeah – it was a joke aimed at your apparent indifference to vandalism.

Some more argy-bargy at Bank this pm apparently.

My end of Cheapside sunny and peaceful – nicest day of the year.

85. Cheesy Monkey

Damn it. To many “in favour ofs”, too little sentences. Apologies. But the Lib Dems still suck balls. The police were bastards yesterday, but when have they ever been otherwise?

86. Cheesy Monkey

@Alix

But it’s so impressively small, people don’t believe me unless I show it to them…

We can test this point. @Cjcjc, do you believe Cheesy Monkey when he says that his willy is very small? I would ask Newmania as well, but he appears to have been banished.

88. Cheesy Monkey

Show me a thimble and I see a robust contraceptive…

@84 – Lovely libertarian sense of humour.

90. Cheesy Monkey

@Neil

Lovely libertarian sense of humour

Damn, that hurts a left-wing democratic socialist such as myself…

91. Luis Enrique

“The police were bastards yesterday, but when have they ever been otherwise?”

jesus wept

Guy – something definitely needs to be said about police brutality and stupidity. I’d be up for talking more on that too.

Yeah – it was a joke aimed at your apparent indifference to vandalism.

cjcjc – I see your mission in life is to create strawmen when faced with a bunch of people you don’t want to defend even if you should.

But hey, this doesn’t surprise me because you lot are the first to strat screaming ‘police state’ when people like Damian Green MP get arrested.

Iain Dale is full of the same hypocrisy.

93. Cheesy Monkey

@Luis Enrique

Not been to many demonstrations, have we dear?

Do the comment numbers change on-the-fly here, or what?

95. Different Duncan

Do the police have any right to detain people without arresting them?

Whom am I supposed to be defending?
The window smashers you mean? I hope not.
Do the police have some answering to do, though – absolutely. Absolutely.
They should be held to account – though who will do so? – if things really were as bad as you are reporting.
I am not taking the Letters from a Tory line that the police always know best.
Surely the Countryside Alliance policing would have taught the Tories that anway?
Though of course I don’t recall much condemnation from the lefties towards the police on that occasion! 🙂
Bottom line is while eschewing some of your rhetoric – I probably agree with you!

Do the comment numbers change on-the-fly here, or what?

I deleted newmania’s trolling and spamming of the thread, apologies.

cjcjc – cheers. Look, I have little sympathy for people who come to protests merely to throw bricks or be idiots. But these people are always a very small minority and rather than specifically target them the police always penalise everyone. That doesn’t help anything. Hence my rhetoric.
LFaT is just a hypocrite who will cream his pants when lefties get beaten, and then fly off the handle when some Tory MP gets arrested with even worse rhetoric.

I was listening to CNN when the hemming in tactic was on and there was an MP involved – the police wouldn’t let him out either – any one know who it was? I didn’t catch his name.

99. Stuart White

Dear Liberal Conspiracy readers: I have blog recounting my experiences, which accord with Sunny Hindal’s, at the Fabian blog, Next Left:

http://www.nextleft.org/2009/04/siege-mentality.html

100. Stuart White

Apologies, I meant Sunny Hundal’s account…

@ Luis Enrique…

…is there room for a version somewhere along the lines of “well I don’t like it, but I guess we’re going to have to put up with it for a while”

Sure – that’s what Uncle Miltie said, and if you believe he was speaking from anything other than pure political expediency, I’ll respect that. You’re a whole lot less cynical and more forgiving than I am, though.

But I’m not sure what we’re discussing … the character of an ill-specified collection of people called ‘libertarians’, some of whom are going to be arseholes of the sort you describe, and some of whom won’t.

For clarity – I mean Angry Tories don Thatcherite clown-shoes, bellow dogma at the Littlebrains.

Favourite topics – think drugs and prostitution should be legalised, although would go bananas if their sons took up careers as crackhead rent boys;

Think people who lust for power should never, ever be allowed any responsibility at all, under any circumstances; curiously evasive about why they’re so keen for machine guns to be legalised;

Base their entire philosophy on the belief that everyone will lie, cheat and deceive to enrich themselves; can’t understand why none of us believe they make their economic policies with our best interests at heart;

Read science fiction and are blown away by the realism, and so on.

Hey, I think I feel a blog post coming on at last…

82. Andy Hinton.You obviously find policing demonstrations easy, so why do you not join and show the Police what they are doing wrong?

I notice I’m the ‘sneer’ link, thanks Sunny 😀

Discovered something quite interesting about protests: It’s never the opinions or messages of individuals that count. It’s a collective mob, and it’s the leaders and organisers that get to say what the ‘message’ is.

I made that mistake writing about it. The police made that mistake in dealing with it.

But, when faced with thousands of heads, how exactly do you make a single voice count other than as ‘making up the numbers’?

Do you expect the police to treat people differently based on their political beliefs and intentions for attending a protest? How, exactly? Do you want the police to take sides.

This, to me, is the downside of collective action all the time. I’m just astounded by how easy it was to see the group as a faceless single entity. Very easy isn’t it?

105. Cheesy Monkey

Check out the policemen’s blogs, as those bastards are busy back-slapping themselves in an orgy of poorly-spelled glee. I won’t link, ‘cos I’d feel cheap and dirty.

To any coppers reading this: sit down, pour yourself a drink and look closely at the forthcoming paragraph. Wipe clean your eyes and look clearly, contemplate and comprehend.

Please kill yourselves. You are all worthless. Kill yourselves. You are all pointless. Kill yourselves. The past thirty years have seen civil liberties eroded but your powers increased. Kill yourselves. Yet you all think you don’t have enough power and that the state’s ‘soft’. Kill yourselves. No-one will miss you. Kill yourselves, and kill yourselves now.

I’m currently taking bookings for children’s parties…

106. douglas clark

Cheesy Monkey @ 105,

That is fairly irritating, so it is.

Says the middle of the road, me.

I would never have thought, correct me if I am wrong, that a cry for mass suicide was likely to be effective?

107. Ivor Cornish

One clip I saw on the BBC news was of a protester facing a policeman who had a shield. Not too sure what, if anything, the protester said, but the response by the policeman was to smack him in the face with the shield.
They are moving into the vacuum created by a weak and spineless government.
If not reined in they will become a force no party in government can control.

It might help if the violent protestors were kept away or restrained by the peaceful protestors.

It might help if the violent police were kept away or restrained by the peaceful police.

109. Cheesy Monkey

@douglas clark

I would never have thought, correct me if I am wrong, that a cry for mass suicide was likely to be effective?

Well, if you don’t ask…

Cheesy Monkey @ several, but particularly @105:

Please don’t do that here. You make me, Alix and everyone else sane on here look like raving loonies because you agree with us about some things.

Most of the beat coppers I’ve dealt with are professional, sane people. You think the squeeze tactics are designed only to raise temperatures among protesters?

Thatcher’s constables, the men who were beating on pregnant women at the Battle of the Beanfield and on poll-tax protesters in Trafalgar Square, are now running the Met. They know how to turn a peaceful protest into a riot; prime your cops, then push the two sides up against each other and don’t let anyone leave. Now you just have to wait; the partisan atmosphere will infect the front-line people on both sides, the strain on the bladder will result in temper tantrums on both sides, and eventually violence will out.

So calling for the deaths of coppers just puts you among the lunatic fringe, and LibCon is not the lunatic fringe.

111. Cheesy Monkey

But… it was a polite request…

112. chavscum

Listening to the whingers. You lefties make me laugh. You’re such a bunch of selfish, self-righteous cretins, you come out once a year from your middle-class safety nets for a day out at a demo and think you are the first people to encounter police crowd control tactics. You seem to forget that the British Police are renowned masters at crowd control, owing to experience policing football fans for 30/40 yrs.

Kettling or whatever you want to call it has been used as a tactic to control football fans looking for trouble since the early 90s at least. Fans would mob up and roam the streets looking for the opposing mob or firm. The Police will follow them in large numbers and gradually hassle them until they corner and surround them. Sometimes they would force you into a pub and hold you hostage for hours. They moved from this after some fans would set fire to the pub, forcing the Police to let them out. More likely, they would pin you in a street for as long as they want. Then they will let you out one by one after photographing and taking details from each ‘offender’, to kept on the Football Intelligence Unit database.

Often innocent fans or passers by would end up penned in with the hardcore troublemakers. When the Belgian Police did this at Euro 2000, they even deported some American tourists to England. Many fans arrested were beaten and had their €s stolen.

So where was the hysterical reaction from the Left and their human rights for all? Don’t white working-class fellas have human rights? Its probably because football fans realise there is a small minority looking for aggro and a bigger minority still, that are gawpers or like to hang around when there is potential, just like these anti-capitalist demos. Reasonable people understand the need for such tactics to prevent serious injury or disorder. It works.

It a shame the poor fella who died was just an ordinary lower-class newsagent worker and not some trustafarian student. It should make these socialist indoctrinated pricks think again that their pathetic protests are mostly detrimental to ordinary working people, not some media led stereotype bankers. I doubt it.

You need to think about what you were doing there and what you were attempting to achieve. Don’t give me that shit about your right to protest. You were there to disrupt a working day in the City, as an attention seeking irrelevance.

113. Cheesy Monkey

Ah, chavscum: been at the Twat-O-Tron again?

Chav, might I ask what you’re actually doing on this site? I’ve yet to see any evidence of you trying to engage with people & discuss the issues at hand. You’ve only ever sneered at & berated those you deem unacceptable. It’s not as if you’re winning people over, is it?

Freedom of speech & so on, but I do wonder why you’re using your own time in such a way.

Chavscum: Fuck off.

“Please kill yourselves. You are all worthless. Kill yourselves. You are all pointless. Kill yourselves. The past thirty years have seen civil liberties eroded but your powers increased. Kill yourselves. Yet you all think you don’t have enough power and that the state’s ’soft’. Kill yourselves. No-one will miss you. Kill yourselves, and kill yourselves now.”

As even people ‘on your side’ of the argument must appreciate, you are a moron.

I reckon chavscum is having us on and deep down is a true leftist just having a laugh.
His comment really had me chuckling.

118. Cheesy Monkey

@Jako

Have you ever met a policeman? Wednesday proves yet again that the police are a malign force in this country an asking for them nicely to change ain’t gonna work. Fuck ’em – they’re a tumor that needs cutting out.

I’ve held off until I thought I could get the last word in…

Who polices the Police?
We the public.

Who votes for the party of government which sets the legislative agenda and controls the Police?
We the public.

Who is to blame if we don’t like it?
We the public.

What can we do if we don’t like it?
Get involved. Vote for a different party. Scrutinise processes. Stand for election.

Stop protesting and start proposing.

Have you ever met a policeman?

Given my former line of work, I know about fifteen by name, maybe twice that by acquaintance – I’m related to two, and count one as a friend. Almost all of them are good people, and I can count the power-trippers I’ve met on one hand – arsehole coppers who get a stiffy battering people do exist, but the days of the West Midlands Serious Crimes are long gone.

That said, put anyone in a hi-tech space marine outfit, train them in crowd control and give them authority to keep the plebs in line… Well, you don’t have to be Stanley Milgram to see that’s going to bring out their unfriendly side. There’s no way to keep these events peaceful, but I think the Met could’ve done better than they did.

It’s easy to forget, but coppers do a shitty job that I wouldn’t do for twice the wage they get. I wouldn’t do crowd control for four times what they get, now I come to think of it, and you wouldn’t either.

Police brutality in response to protests or protests in response to police brutality? http://tinyurl.com/d9yv65

123. chris elmes

IIt must be noted that it was the intent of the police and the IPCC to close any of these issues as quickly as possable. It has since emerged that Ian Tomlinson was hit with a baton and knocked to the ground moments before he died, that a medical student who was giveing first aid was shoved away from him ,and that police refused to speak to the ambulance dispatcher on the phone. The IPCC in turn tried to close the issue by accepting the police version of events,when mr Tomlinsons family where informed by gardian reporters as to what had actually occured the police leaison officer was absolutly livid and orderd the media to stop upseting the family and not contact them for at least 48 hours. However with video footage of the incedent in the public domain the IPCC have been forced to launch a criminal investigation and remove city of London police, metropolitian police and transport police from this case.

The metropolitian police seem to think that their perporse is to act as Nu-Labours stoormtroopers and who appear(in my opinion)to have become a dreadful parody of the SA/Sturmabteilung thugs whose perporse was to crush violently any dissent/protest against Adolf Hitler and the NSDAP. We ignore this kind of conduct at our peril,the police in this country have effecively come under the control of what is de facto a private buissness to wit the assosiation of chief police officers(ACPO)and if we are not careful this band of self styled illuminati will become our masters.

“Choose the lesser evil” de officiis : Marcus Tullius Cicero

QUIS CUSTODIET IPSO CUSTODES

124. douglas clark

So,

Who’s going to vote me onto the IPCC?

What?

You can’t?

It is a closed institution you say?

Well, hit me over the head with a baton, why don’t you.

To steal a line:

QUIS CUSTODIET IPSO CUSTODES

Well
I hope all of you on here who whinge about a “police state” and “police brutality” finally get what you wish for, a police “service” that will not use force on anyone…You’ll be crying out when you realise what real anarchy is. Honestly I cannot believe the imbalance and stupidity on this column.And before you ask,I’m not a copper. If you have thousands of people then there will always be an element which has to be physically controlled. As for Ian Tomlinson, yes his death is a tragedy,but i find the filming of his “treatment” by the police oh so convenient…the camera seems to film everything when he is being pushed,but then conveniently turns away…perhaps it could be that he may have been out to provoke/fight police that day? Can the liberal anarchists here consider that as a possibility?
Just remember you lot ,the countless unarmed officers who have died tackling gunmen and knife wielding maniacs in the early hours while we sleep in our beds. Just imagine the feeling you would have if suddenly you no longer had that 999 facility to call police when you are in danger or someone is breaking into your home at 3am. And just remember that the vast majority of coppers whilst they are not perfect, and have few senior officers who support them,try to do their job as best they can for a very average salary ,and the majority of us would not even have the courage to think about doing their job. I find it sickening that as a society we are so quick to blame the police, it has become the default position. No one else carries self responsibility, and we eulogise criminals and scumbags because it is “cool” to do so.
We have a well trained disciplined force who by and large are good people trying to do a shitty job. Surely no one would deny we need police,so if you think you can do better ,join up,do the training and see how hard it probably is. Stop wanting a utopian police force, you aint gonna get it. But this constant police bashing will eventually lead to a totally impotent police force that can no longer by and large protect and hold society together.

You will have something to cry about then.


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