Three in hospital as police use CS gas at UKuncut protest


4:05 pm - January 30th 2011

by Sunny Hundal    


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Eye witness accounts for the nationwide UKuncut protests today say that the police use CS gas pepper spray on peaceful protesters in London.

Around 3pm outside Boots on Oxford Street today, a female activist tried to push a leaflet through the closed door of Boots explaining the details of Boots’ tax avoidance to the staff.

A police officer then arrested the individual for “criminal damage”.

Around 20 people tried to help the female being arrested and 10 were subsequently pepper sprayed with CS gas. Ambulances had to be called and three people have now been taken to hospital.

Anna Williams, who took part in the UKuncut action, said:

This is yet another example of political policing that is about protecting corporate interests and not those of ordinary people. We will not however be intimidated off the streets! We have a right to protest when the government are making unnecessary cuts that will hit the poorest in our society the hardest.

Earlier today writer and Dr Ben Goldacre tweeted:

When I went on #Ukuncut it was a really strikingly peaceful protest. Interested in justification for police pepperspraying ppl in face.

Tweeter Linda Marric said:

Way to go Cameron! CS gas being used on peaceful protesters. Is thus [sic] fucking Cairo?

Some pictures from today’s London action here.

Updates:

Also worth asking – why were armed police called? @TheThirdEstate confirm they asked and were told the police were definitely carrying guns. Apparently they were diplomatic protection officers

» Gary Dunion points out: Pepper spray is so dangerous it is under a Firearms Act general prohibition – i.e. civilian possession is completely banned.

» A Boots Twitter account today tweeted that they too were “disgusted by police behaviour” today. [it has since been deleted]

» Gary Dunion has filed a FOI request to ask whether the police are carrying pepper spray illegally.

» Tim Hardy was there and has written up an account.

More updates
The Guardian report has the police confirming that CS gas was used, without further explanation.

Protesters said staff at Boots had been shocked by the police tactics, and took those who were suffering from the effects of CS spray into the store and offered them free eye wash.

» A video by Dawn Foster just after it happened

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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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Reader comments


1. Chaise Guevara

If this is accurate then it’s appalling, but it might be an idea to wait for more details to emerge.

Once again the police show themselves to be the thugs of the corporations. Pitty, said corporations try to avoid paying any tax for their services.

CS and pepper spray aren’t the same.

More details please!

[deleted for being an idiot right-wing troll]

As bad as kettling. The police need to re-think their methods.

Sunny,

Around 20 people tried to help the female being arrested and 10 were subsequently pepper-sprayed.

What do you mean by ‘help’?

That Twitter link isn’t working and the page now seems to have been removed.

Odd, I glanced at the BootsMealDeal page when I mate retweeted the comment 30 mins ago and it looked genuine (Dean Gaffney celeb spots etc), but it has now been suspended.

8. Chaise Guevara

@ 6

“What do you mean by ‘help’?”

Yeah, I was wondering about that.

It’s also very possible that some vital information is missing between these two paragraphs:

“Around 3pm outside Boots on Oxford Street today, a female activist tried to push a leaflet through the closed door of Boots explaining the details of Boots’ tax avoidance to the staff.

A police officer then arrested the individual for “criminal damage”.”

I imagine “help” means “de-arrest”, although I wasn’t there so that’s a guess. Pepper spray should not be used, regardless.

10. Chaise Guevara

“I imagine “help” means “de-arrest”, although I wasn’t there so that’s a guess.”

Which sounds quite a lot like “assault on a police officer.

“Pepper spray should not be used, regardless.”

Whether or not pepper spray is appropriate police gear is a different issue. If it isn’t, they shouldn’t have had it in the first place. For this story to be what it purports to be, two things need to be made clear:

1) The original arrest really was made purely on the basis of the protester posting a leaflet.

2) The use of pepper spray was not in self-defence.

Chaise, the text up to Ben Goldacre’s twitter is from a UKuncut press release.

12. Chaise Guevara

@ 11

Ah. Not the most unbaised of sources, then.

#10

It would be more helpful to listen to people who were there rather than us trying to work out what happened from first principles.

However, I would note that I’ve seen people being de-arrested before without police officers being assaulted. “De-arrest” is a common verb used by activists. It is sometimes possible for a crowd to make it impossible for police to successfully cart someone off, without going so far as striking an officer. For example, if they are not handcuffed etc, the activist could simply be pulled back into the crowd, and become lost in a moving demonstration. I have no idea whether that is what people were trying to achieve in this case or not.

Yes, I am saying that the police shouldn’t have had pepper spray in the first place. I’m not defending (or attacking) the account UKUncut give; I have no basis to do so since I’ve no other account to go on. I’m stating my own view that the use of pepper spray by police is disproportionate and unnecessary. It may also be illegal, although others are better informed than me on that question.

14. Chaise Guevara

@ 13

The thing is, the people who were there and who are currently talking about it are a pretty biased source. Like I said at 1, we probably need more information.

Thanks for the info on de-arresting. It could very well be that such tactics were used, which would seem to make the police reaction indefensible. Also possible is that one of those situations happened that always looks like the people you support were in the right (i.e. a lot of pushing an shoving, with deciding who started it and who took it too far requiring a judgement call by the observer).

I don’t know enough about pepper-spray to feel I can say very much about it.

I remember when the police were given pepper sprays and we were told, as we always are, that it will only be used in the most extreme circumstance. And with weeks a 70 year old man was sprayed over a parking dispute.

Then the police were given Tazzers, and once again we were told that only in the most extraordinary circumstances would the police use them. Not long after an 84 year old man was being tazzered by police in an Old Peoples home.

@OP, Sunny: “Around 3pm outside Boots on Oxford Street today, a female activist tried to push a leaflet through the closed door of Boots explaining the details of Boots’ tax avoidance to the staff.

A police officer then arrested the individual for “criminal damage”.”

At this point, I struggle to understand what the police were doing. Like others, I seek more information before posting a more concrete argument about the events that followed. But what can a protestor do to a shuttered shop on a Sunday afternoon that justifies arrest for criminal damage?

I was there when it happened.

I won’t repeat what I’ve written so I’ll just direct anyone interested here:
http://beyondclicktivism.com/2011/01/30/three-hospitalized-by-police-during-peaceful-demonstration-in-london/

(Sunny hope this is ok to just link rather than copy and paste it all into the comments here.)

Charlieman,

At this point, I struggle to understand what the police were doing. Like others, I seek more information before posting a more concrete argument about the events that followed. But what can a protestor do to a shuttered shop on a Sunday afternoon that justifies arrest for criminal damage?

Who knows? We have very little to go on. Seems unreasonable to come to any conclusion.

@15 Sally

The noun is Taser, Sally, and it is a trademark. And for once I agree with you wholeheartedly.

The argument for Tasers and close proximity sprays is that they disable an attacker when a firearm might be used by police in defence. They are weapons that can be used as a “non-lethal” alternative to a gun. The case for using such weapons is “if I didn’t use it, somebody would have had to shoot”.

I’ll shut up now, because there is insufficient evidence to speculate further about the Oxford Street events.

@19. Charlieman

The only people with guns there today were the police.

21. David Ellis

`Tweeter Linda Marric said:

Way to go Cameron! CS gas being used on peaceful protesters. Is thus [sic] fucking Cairo?’

Oddly enough I believe UKUncut have been active in pursuing Vodafone as one of the biggest corporate tax avoiders not just in Britain but globally and it seems that Vodafone is quite instrumental in locking down Egypt on behalf of the regime making it difficult for Egyptians to connect with the rest of the world. Shame on those who abuse their power to curtail the human right to communicate and discuss and shame on these police officers who appear to have been engaged in something similar by arresting a woman for trying to deliver a leaflet.

22. john p_reid

It’s not CS gas it’s a spray, A gas is a vapor, spray’s a liquid

SAlly the reason the 84 year old was tasered in a olds folk home was becasue he had a gun and refused to put it down,If the fellow protesters tried to help ‘de arrest’ the girl who was nicked, then they weren;t CS sprayed for being protester, they were sprayed by P.C.s acting in self defence by people who were preventing them from arresting someone,
CS spray is made from Lemons its like having a cut Onion right in your face,

tim Hardy are you sure the polcie had guns there, was an emergnecy Protection team called after a P.C said on their radio they had an emergency?

whether sdomeone finds a loop hole so they don’t have to pay a sort of tax doesn”t mean that there not entitled to police protection same as the rest of us,

When I say “help” – in all likelihood it means they locked arms with each other to stop one person getting dragged away.

I’ve not once seen the UKuncut protests even get vaguely violent, even towards the police. At the last one we were quite jolly and on good terms with the police.

@18 ukliberty: “Seems unreasonable to come to any conclusion.”

A question, ukliberty, not a conclusion. I seriously wonder how a protestor can cause criminal damage to a shop that is defended by police officers. It is possible, but I question probability.

@22. john p_reid
It’s not CS gas it’s a spray, A gas is a vapor, spray’s a liquid

tim Hardy are you sure the polcie had guns there, was an emergnecy Protection team called after a P.C said on their radio they had an emergency?

Yes. They had handguns although obviously they did not draw them. I don’t know why they came but they were on the scene in around 20 seconds.

whether sdomeone finds a loop hole so they don’t have to pay a sort of tax doesn”t mean that there not entitled to police protection same as the rest of us,

Errm, you do know that this is people handing out leaflets and chanting outside a shop, right?

@21. David Ellis

Yes, they have been complicit with government shut down of communications in Egypt.

Can’t comment on why the police arrested her. I didn’t witness that part.

@20 Tim Hardy: “The only people with guns there today were the police.”

I really hope that you are mistaken about police officers with guns.

Police officers carrying side arms should not be controlling crowds or demos. Perhaps I am an old fart but I hate to see police officers carrying guns, full stop. I like to know that there are police officers who are trained to use guns in extraordinary circumstances. But they should be an invisible force, monitored and controlled, held in reserve.

@27. Charlieman

I will swear on oath in court that officers with guns were sent to the scene.

It was also witnessed by Green and Black legal observers.

And yes, I agree, the creeping normalisation of an armed police presence on the street makes me uncomfortable too.

That should read Green and Black Cross.

A Police chief made it clear the other day he sees protestors as vermin. So there is no surprise that this shit is going on.

And you can bet the global elite puppets in govt are carrying out orders from their global masters. The elites are getting very edgy at the moment.

31. john p_reid

protewction from having your shop be criminally damaged,

32. john p_reid

sally if a police chief did say that he/she could be done for slander.

“The noun is Taser, Sally, and it is a trademark. “

Yes, I should know that. The number of deaths in the US from Taers is going through the roof. In some cases it seems that the police are using tasers as a punishment. The police are not given the power to punish , that is the courts job.

@31 john p_reid

Are you suggesting that activists sought to damage Boots with a leaflet? Is that the extent you are prepared to go to just for some kind of puerile point scoring? You aren’t that pisshead we had as home sec are you?

@31 john p_reid: “protewction from having your shop be criminally damaged,”

Case law on criminal damage is described in thousands of pages of books. Proof of criminal damage is not always obvious.

For events occurring at a demo, a protestor will claim lawful excuse for any minor damage. It is not always in the interest of Regina or the property owner to prosecute, because the cost of litigation is disproportionately greater than that of damage. Criminal damage is often difficult to demonstrate; many drunken fools deliver a thumping to windows and doors which are impervious to their blows; consequently they get nabbed by the police for disorderly conduct or breach of the peace.

At a demonstration, police officers perform two significant roles. In theory, at least:

1. To manage peaceful assembly. Protestors are assisted to arrange an assembly point and advised on stewarding. Those who are not peaceful can expect to be policed in the same way as any other violent individual. Management implies a duty of care to protestors, so no kettling.

2. To protect property.

Point 1 is deliberately listed above point 2. Even when police officers perceive (mistakenly or correctly) that property has been damaged, their primary responsibility is management of order. If a protestor commits a petty act, police should determine whether law enforcement will cause more disorder than ignoring the event (and picking up the perpetrator later).

36. john p_reid

no i’m not the former home sec, his middle initial wasn’t P, actually where crimes like theft itsthe prosecutions job to prove that there was ,a, intentional attempt at taking it, and ,b, that they ewanted to out it beyond the owners grip,

criminal damage is based on the perception that the owner of such object didn’t give consent for the person who’s damaged it to do so ,and ,b, that the owner consders it damaged,

so it’s not upto the police to decide.

37. Chaise Guevara

@ 36

Maybe so, but if the police are trying to arrest someone for criminal damage when no damage could in any way be considered to have happened, it’s obviously either a frame or an excuse to get someone out of the scene before releasing them without charge later.

I actually find it unlikely that police would be so malicious and so unaware of basic cause and effect to try to arrest someone who has clearly done nothing wrong at a protest, which is one of the reasons I’m waiting for more info on this story. If it’s true, it’s inexcusable.

@37 Chaise Guevara: “I actually find it unlikely that police would be so malicious and so unaware of basic cause and effect to try to arrest someone who has clearly done nothing wrong at a protest, which is one of the reasons I’m waiting for more info on this story.”

Like you, Chaise, I am waiting before I comment directly on these allegations. But I’ll talk about similar events.

In 2009, I poo-pooed here when three LibDem MPs announced that they would attend London G20 protests as independent observers. I argued that the police had moved on and that peaceful demonstration would be respected. I was wrong. So, so fucking wrong.

Three LibDem MPs at the party conference:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/sep/23/g20-martin-horwood-lib-dem-conference

39. Chaise Guevara

@ 38

Cheers for that. Worrying if true. And it would support claims that police are using agents provocateur because they want an excuse to engage. Good quote from it too, which I generally feel police need reminding about:

“Protesting is not a bad thing. It’s a good thing. It’s a right, not only for the protesters; it’s a right for everybody else to know what protesters are protesting about.”

I understand that the viewpoint of the person who is likely to be on the receiving end when things turn nasty is going to be different to the viewpoint of myself, sitting safely here at my computer. So my assumption is that when this happens, it’s normally because the police want to get people under their control at the first opportunity, such as by using kettling. But “I hit him because he might have hit me” is ultimately not a defense, and the political implications are downright frightening.

Chaise,

I actually find it unlikely that police would be so malicious and so unaware of basic cause and effect to try to arrest someone who has clearly done nothing wrong at a protest, which is one of the reasons I’m waiting for more info on this story.

Hmm, I don’t know, I find it conceivable that a few officers are idiots but yes, absolutely reasonable to wait for more info.

But “I hit him because he might have hit me” is ultimately not a defense, and the political implications are downright frightening.

There is no rule in law to say that a person must wait to be struck first before they may defend themselves

Charlieman,

At a demonstration, police officers perform two significant roles. In theory, at least:

1. To manage peaceful assembly. Protestors are assisted to arrange an assembly point and advised on stewarding. Those who are not peaceful can expect to be policed in the same way as any other violent individual. Management implies a duty of care to protestors, so no kettling.

Kettling has been tested in the Lords:

Austin (FC) (Appellant) & another v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis (Respondent):

If measures of this kind are to avoid being prohibited by the Convention therefore it must be by recognising that they are not within the ambit of article 5(1) at all. In my opinion measures of crowd control will fall outside the area of its application, so long as they are not arbitrary. This means that they must be resorted to in good faith, that they must be proportionate and that they are enforced for no longer than is reasonably necessary.

The first broadsheet stories:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/jan/30/police-cs-spray-tax-protesters

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/8291528/Police-use-CS-gas-on-tax-protesters.html

Two points:
1. Boots appears to be open at the time of the demo. Can Tim Hardy or others clarify?

2. Telegraph: “Demonstrators said she simply bent the rubber seal between the doors of the premises as she attempted to force leaflets through.

As officers arrested her, a confrontation took place during which a member of the police deployed CS spray against a small group.”

And a third one. The Guardian reports: “At today’s London demonstration protesters dressed in surgical masks and bloody bandages…” If you are attending a demo, it is somewhat stupid to smear your face with stage blood. How is anyone to determine whether you have been smacked in the gob or you’re a performance artist?

43. Chaise Guevara

@ 40

Yes, but in practice you’d obviously need to justify your belief that you were going to be attacked. The most obvious reason being that the person threatened to attack you, but I can think of other examples (stranger stops you and starts asking you for directions in a dark alley at night, then you notice someone else creeping up on you out of the corner of your eye). In any case, I don’t see anyone getting off by saying “he looked like the violent type” or some such. The behaviour of the victim would need to be indicative of a desire to attack you in some way.

@41 ukliberty

The case to which you refer (Lois Austin, European Court of Human Rights) delivered a very open judgement. You quoted it: “In my opinion measures of crowd control will fall outside the area of its [ed: ECHR] application, so long as they are not arbitrary. This means that they must be resorted to in good faith, that they must be proportionate and that they are enforced for no longer than is reasonably necessary.”

From this, we can assume that kettling must be planned and proportionate. If kettling fails those qualifications, it can be challenged again.

Charlieman @44, of course – it can be tested every time there is kettling.

I think it’s fair to say there will always be some form of ‘containment’ or kettling because the police are obliged to protect not only the right to protest but also public order, the freedom of others to go about their lawful business, and so on. (some protesters seem to think they ought to be free to interfere with people who aren’t interested.)

The problem is that people obviously don’t enjoy being kettled and emotions will run high, the police line will be tested, and inevitably it seems there will be some outbreak of physicality – even violence.

I’m not sure there is an easy answer. People say “no kettling” but that is not going to happen, unless the protest doesn’t meet the criteria to be kettled…

@45 ukliberty

Do you have any suggestions about what “planned” or “proportionate” might mean? Police or court language? (The judgement says “not arbitrary”, which I presume as “planned”, perhaps “rule based”.)

Charlieman @47, IIUC, the judgement says that for the kettling or containment to be “not arbitrary”, it “must be resorted to in good faith, … proportionate and …. enforced for no longer than is reasonably necessary” – I don’t think a plan is requisite.

The word “proportionate” means that the interference in question doesn’t go any further than necessary.

The HMIC report on the G20 protests said containment would always be needed but officers on the ground needed greater discretion to let people out.

@46 ukliberty: “I’m not sure there is an easy answer. People say “no kettling” but that is not going to happen, unless the protest doesn’t meet the criteria to be kettled…”

We know that there are no easy answers. Extreme kettling is associated with public disorder; the people who should be asking about cause and effect in such disturbances are senior police officers; are they talking about it?

Last week Hugh Orde discussed more violent tactics against protestors. From his words, my presumption was that current methods fail and that more violence was required. Was he suggesting an immoral public order experiment to determine whether aggressive coppers manage demos better than more placatory ones? I sincerely hope not.

Moral public order experiments can be conducted, of course. I’m not talking about coppers handing out lollipops. It is called policing, without any qualifications such as “community policing”.

I am fed up with images of young people with broken heads. And coppers with broken heads.

@48 ukliberty: “…I don’t think a plan is requisite.”

I was thinking about PACE procedures that require a PLAN in capital letters. Section 117.

When police are managing a demo, they need a PLAN.

I was there. I’m blogging about it in full tomorrow, but there was no violence from the protesters whatsoever. In fact, one of the policemen told us the number of the officer that sprayed the CS gas and how to complain about him. It was utterly disgraceful.

In terms of help, I would say it was the protesters gathering around the girl who was arrested, chanting ‘shame on you!’.

I must emphasise there was no violence or criminal damage. It was a totally disproportionate response from what seemed to be a minority of the police force present.

53. Chaise Guevara

@ 51

“In fact, one of the policemen told us the number of the officer that sprayed the CS gas and how to complain about him.”

Wait. Was it (allegedly and so forth) a single officer that was responsible? Because that would make the story as told in the OP a hell of a lot more likely. On the other hand, how easily can one person spray that many people?

I am ashamed disgusted and appalled by our police if these reports are true . How dare British police stoop to this level – bad enough that our politicians are so inept without dragging the police down with them

I couldn’t say accurately how many officers were acting aggressively as it all happened very quickly. It was a bit of a blur.

The police had been very nice to us all day. The mood changed very quickly.

CS gas is a bit like air freshener in terms of its consistency, so it’s very easy to get a lot of people at once in a short amount of time.

To be honest even the police seemed shocked afterwards. The Inspector wouldn’t talk to us. I got the impression they felt the officer/s in question had gone too far.

Charlieman,

49. Charlieman
@46 ukliberty: “I’m not sure there is an easy answer. People say “no kettling” but that is not going to happen, unless the protest doesn’t meet the criteria to be kettled…”

We know that there are no easy answers.

You and I know that – some people don’t appear to know it.

Extreme kettling is associated with public disorder; the people who should be asking about cause and effect in such disturbances are senior police officers; are they talking about it?

Well… there are comments from HMIC relating to the G20 protest and the HMIC’s report, Policing and Protest – so some senior officers are talking about it, at least. Among other things it said that some senior officers did not start from the presumption of protecting the freedom of assembly but rather that there would be unlawful behaviour from protesters (I inferred that some other senior officers do start with that presumption) – so that’s an obvious thing that needs to change. It criticised specific uses of force, e.g. shield edge aimed at face.

The report made a number of immediate recommendations, including that police:

Facilitate peaceful protest
Improve dialogue with protest groups where possible
Improve communication with the public
Moderate impact of containment when used
Improve training to equip officers to deal with the full spectrum of protest activity
Wear clear identification at all times
and that:

National guidance on the policing of protest needs overhauling by ACPO.

So some senior officers are talking about it.

But look, good/bad behaviour doesn’t happen in vacuo… what I mean by that is, take the “Improve dialogue with protest groups where possible” for example. That relates to not only dialogue before the event but also during the event including when there is kettling. When there is containment or kettling HMIC wants the officers to engage with those contained and let them know what is going on, when they expect to let people out, stop the kettle etc. The police could do with having people to talk to that can help spread the information – ‘leaders’ or ‘organisers’. But take the LC article from the other day:

This idiot [Hugh Orde] has no right to tell any of the protesters that it is “not good enough” to have no leader. These people are not docile little sheep, and they don’t have to follow anyone to object to the government conducting a slash-and-burn campaign on our benefits and our public services.

How helpful.

I’m not ‘defending’ the police or protesters. There ought to be movement on both sides. I think you wrote eloquently once on LC along the lines of how freedoms and rights are negotiations / compromises between competing freedoms and rights.

Last week Hugh Orde discussed more violent tactics against protestors. From his words, my presumption was that current methods fail and that more violence was required.

I think he has been mis-represented somewhat – Liberal Conspiracy recently had a post partly based on a Guardian article that has since been corrected:

This article was amended on 28 January 2011. The original wrongly gave the impression that Sir Hugh Orde used the phrase “hyper-kettling”, an extreme form of the containment method used to police demonstrations. He did not. Instead, he defended the practice of kettling in principle. This has been corrected.

The LC post hasn’t been corrected.

correction: “… good/bad behaviour doesn’t always happen in vacuo …”

These demonstrations and this Un-cut thing sound quite auful and I’m glad they don’t happen in my city. They’re a bunch of drama queens by the sound of it.

60. Chaise Guevara

Gosh, thanks for your input.

Charlieman, here is the Guardian’s version of events:

In London protesters had successfully closed down Boots in Oxford Street – one of the companies campaigners accuse of tax avoidance – when police tried to arrest a woman for pushing a leaflet through the store’s doors. Other demonstrators tried to stop the arrest and at least one police officer used CS spray, which hospitalised three people.

Jed Weightman, one of those who went to hospital, said protesters had joined hands to try and prevent the arrest.

I’m not excusing the use of CS spray here; I’m quoting this to support my point about the behaviour of each ‘side’ feeding into the behaviour of the other.

damon,

These demonstrations and this Un-cut thing sound quite auful and I’m glad they don’t happen in my city. They’re a bunch of drama queens by the sound of it.

Huh? You think someone is a ‘drama queen’ for complaining about being sprayed by something that, at best, causes great discomfort?

63. DisgustedOfTunbridgeWells

david cameron attacks his own people.

@42. Charlieman

Sorry for slow response. Been very busy.

Two points:

1. Boots appears to be open at the time of the demo. Can Tim Hardy or others clarify?

Boots was closed by the manager at the start of the demonstration but staff indoors were horrified by the police action and offered first aid to those who needed it.

If you are attending a demo, it is somewhat stupid to smear your face with stage blood. How is anyone to determine whether you have been smacked in the gob or you’re a performance artist?

I see where you’re coming from but if you are attending a peaceful, theatrical demonstration you don’t anticipate cracked skulls – the idea was to recreate a NHS hospital with some people dressed as doctors and others as patients suffering from the cuts.

Thanks for posting. I see where you’re coming from but if you are attending a peaceful, theatrical display you don’t expect fractured skulls – the idea was to restructure a NHS hospital with some people dressed as doctors and others as patients suffering from the cuts. Keep on posting such wonderful thoughts. I would have to visit it every day.

ukliberty, if you create dramatic situations (out of nowhere) you have to expect a bit of reaction. Maybe the policeman or woman overreacted – big deal.
It will happen if you go out to create a middle class riot, as well as it will at a football match. The police cost a fortune to produce and deploy – and trying to close down big stores on a weekend afternoon is bound to cause some kind of reaction from the police.
Some of them might get too excited by the events. It’s a non-story in my opinion.

Where next, Harrods? Selfridges? I’m a liberal person most of the time but I don’t like these demonstrations. That is OK I take it, or is the movement so into itself, that any criticism has to be rejected as right wing?

@66 hits the nail on the head for me.

I’m a supporter of ukuncut, but fast my support is wavering. Why? I can’t see any good coming from these shutting stores protests. It won’t change the tax behaviour of these firms at all. I saw a tweet that INDIVIDUALS owe 4x these firms. Where are the protests at folk fiddling their tax returns?

Tweets quickly get retweeted with no thought on if its true. Like some tweeting a pic of a copper simply standing there as the cs sprayer. Or a cop punching a protester, yet the photographer would have been on multi frame capture, so where’s the whole sequence of the event? If its true, and it was me, is post everything.

This deliberate cropping of pics & vids really troubles me. These people will be the undoing of our cause against cuts.

Ukuncut has a massive following, and a golden opportunity to be THE platform against the savage cuts. But so long as the focus is on shutting shops, media will stop covering unless like yesterday something juicy happens. It’s old news otherwise, and another worry I have

People see events in Egypt unfolding, and certainly wouldn’t support anything like that here. I wonder how many people if asked think this is an early stage to becoming like Egypt?

68. Chaise Guevara

@ 66 Damon

If (and I do mean if) this story happened as it’s currently being reported, we’re talking about arrest on trumped-up charges and unprovoked assault being used by police to prevent people from using their freedom of speech. I’m surprised that anyone who’s au fait with that would call themselves a “liberal person”.

damon,

Maybe the policeman or woman overreacted – big deal.

I agree that “trying to close down big stores on a weekend afternoon is bound to cause some kind of reaction from the police”, I suggested it in this thread, but if this specific police officer ‘overreacted’ that is by definition unlawful and they ought to be held accountable.

The officer might have a ‘defence’ – protesters ‘helping’ someone being arrested by obstructing the police speaks to that – but it nevertheless is a big deal.

simon h,

Tweets quickly get retweeted with no thought on if its true.

Yes, that’s something that turns me off.

Chaise,

AFAICS, damon doesn’t get worked up by much at all – he’s “liberal” in the sense of anything goes… and I mean anything.

@67. Simon h, @69. ukliberty

simon h,
Tweets quickly get retweeted with no thought on if its true.
Yes, that’s something that turns me off.

I totally agree. I am grateful for people who retweeted tweets from the day including mine but there is a danger of cascading misinformation as in the “shooting on Oxford Street” incident that turned out to be a fashion shoot.

If you are at all interested, this is one of the key problems the team at sukey.org are trying to solve by using a mixture of good, old fashioned computer science with algorithms for ranking tweets by established reputation and even more old fashioned human editorial judgement.

(Disclaimer: as of Saturday evening, I am now officially helping sukey with press.)

72. Chaise Guevara

@ 70

Ah. Although I’d have thought a libertarian would be equally against dodgy coppers.

Chaise, I don’t know if damon is a libertarian, it’s just ISTM the majority of his comments here and at PP seem to be along the lines of, “this isn’t a big deal”.

74. Chaise Guevara

…which can often be a fair response to political hyperbole. Each to his own, I suppose.

@67. Simon h

All the issues you raise are good ones.

I do not speak for ukuncut although I support them and have joined their actions.

I personally am not in favour of behaviour that could easily be seen as menacing or threatening individuals which is why shops are being targeted and activists make a point of stressing that staff are not the target and write letters to them explaining this point.

I agree re deliberate cropping of pics & vids – totally undermines the credibility of any movement to be caught in a deliberate lie.

Agree also it risks getting stale especially for the media circus but I guess that’s an incentive for people to try something new.

As for being the first rumbles of an Egyptian style revolution, does anyone apart from Glenn Beck really believe this? That’s a genuine question not sarcasm.

ukliberty, make me laugh. Your approach to many issues is to argue them into the ground from a legalistic point of view, along with much spinning.

Here I don’t think the story is ”more police brutality”, but of why are these people who think they can stop an arrest with ”direct action techniques” being stupid and annoying.
Is it all just a game and somethinbg to do when you are young and at Uni or an activist of some kind?
It must be kind of irritating for the police who have other things they could be doing.

`Is it all just a game and somethinbg to do when you are young and at Uni or an activist of some kind? It must be kind of irritating for the police who have other things they could be doing.’

Damon: you are such a crappy little provocateur. Irritating would be the worst emotion you could experience at the actions of young people trying to be civic and make a point which is why the actions of this policeman are completely barking. The guy is clearly a psychopath. He could not have been motivated by public order in reacting this way but political opposition to the harmless demonstration he was supposed to be monitoring. Young people just embarking on their journey though life have suffered physical damage that was quite severe and potentially permanent for trying to be engaged citizens. Let’s hope not.

sally,

Not long after an 84 year old man was being tazzered by police in an Old Peoples home.

Are you referring to this?

A mentally disturbed 89-year-old man who escaped from his care home was blasted by police with a 50,000 volt Taser when he threatened to kill himself.

No complaint was made.

Banquo, how old are you? I’m 48.

@75

Tim, would like to see some official polls asking if people relate the uk protests in any way with Egypt. Have heard a few on the office mentioning the 2 in the same breath – which isnt good. Are there any such polls?

There are so many areas that need to be covered ref cuts such as libraries, was collection, road safety, removal of recycling, cuts to disability & elderly services.

The movement is getting too bogged down with focusing on Vodafone etc. How about a naked ramble in a forest to highlight the Tory selling them off? A mock grangehill style school classroom in oxford st educating the public on the real truth about the condem cuts?

Ref sukey, it worries me such an app is even needed. Not just police being heavy handed, but that it allows some protesters to feel the could push the boundaries as the cloud will prewarn them when the police are coming.

81. Chaise Guevara

@ damon

“Is it all just a game and somethinbg to do when you are young and at Uni or an activist of some kind?”

Y’know, this is one of the worst things about the internet. You get some armchair politician (which I admit to being as well) sneering at anyone who actually tries to make the world better. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone was as awesome as you and was too cool to even try?

“It must be kind of irritating for the police who have other things they could be doing.”

Yes, because having to do your job is such a pisser. Never mind, burn off that irritation by spray CS in that guy’s face!

Chaise Guevara

Y’know, this is one of the worst things about the internet. You get some armchair politician (which I admit to being as well) sneering at anyone who actually tries to make the world better.

I’ll admit to being an armchair politician. But the scenes on the news from Egypt tonight was real dramatic politics, not activists playing about looking for an overreaction from the police which they could then twitter about.

83. Chaise Guevara

@ 82

So your stance is all or nothing, then? Go in rioting or STFU?

damon,

It must be kind of irritating for the police who have other things they could be doing.

Oh, why didn’t you say?! I didn’t realise being irritated was a defence.

84 and 83 – I’m just not impressed by this movement. Is that OK?
If LC is host to a young twitterati thing that has a mind of it’s own and isn’t open for debate, then sorry for butting in.

damon,

84 and 83 – I’m just not impressed by this movement. Is that OK?
If LC is host to a young twitterati thing that has a mind of it’s own and isn’t open for debate, then sorry for butting in.

I have no stake in it. I’m just wondering (and criticising) at your attitude of “Maybe the policeman or woman overreacted – big deal” and “It must be kind of irritating for the police who have other things they could be doing” [than spraying people with CS].

@80. Simon h

Tim, would like to see some official polls asking if people relate the uk protests in any way with Egypt. Have heard a few on the office mentioning the 2 in the same breath – which isnt good. Are there any such polls?

Not that I know of – but right after our earlier comment exchange, I had an off-record conversation with a pretty senior political correspondent who made the connection too so clearly people are making it (which, I’ll be honest, surprised me).

I’ll dig around for polls, articles. If you see anything, please share it, if not here then via my site.

There are so many areas that need to be covered ref cuts such as libraries, was collection, road safety, removal of recycling, cuts to disability & elderly services.

The movement is getting too bogged down with focusing on Vodafone etc. How about a naked ramble in a forest to highlight the Tory selling them off? A mock grangehill style school classroom in oxford st educating the public on the real truth about the condem cuts?

Totally agree. These are all wonderful ideas – why don’t you get involved? Go on twitter for the next public meeting and make some suggestions.

Ref sukey, it worries me such an app is even needed. Not just police being heavy handed, but that it allows some protesters to feel the could push the boundaries as the cloud will prewarn them when the police are coming.

It’s true that greater transparency does have its dangers – just as free speech gives bigots the right to air their views. It saddens me that it is needed but by reducing tension we hope we can make demonstrations more peaceful in general. The cloud exists already – we’re just data mining it for relevance. We don’t warn people that the police are coming but we do help share information made public by both protesters and the police in order to reduce panic and to help deflate situations that might turn into something that the police feel they need to kettle in order to control.

88. slinkyminky

Haha this is so funny…and what makes it funnier is that water makes the effects of CS spray even worse…”Ahh I’ve been CS spayed…help me”!!!! It’s perfectly safe and PC’s get sprayed with it during thier probationer training…..did any of you know that????


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  39. Three in hospital as police use pepper spray at UKuncut protest | Victoria Ward Crosby labour

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  123. Gerrys Blog » Blog Archive » Self Defense Tools: Wasp Spray Vs. Pepper Spray

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    Three in hospital as police use CS gas at UKuncut protest | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/Qm4nc7X via @libcon

  126. Big society tsar quits over lack of time and money, crime-mapping goes online and PMQs assumes a civilised tone: political blog round up for 29 January – 4 February 2011 | British Politics and Policy at LSE

    […] As anti-cuts protesters filled the streets of London and Manchester on Saturday, Liberal Conspiracy covers the alleged incidents of police brutality. […]

  127. More attacks on the right to protest: CS spray | Latentexistence

    […] Three in hospital as police use CS gas at UK Uncut protest (Liberal Conspiracy) […]

  128. Three In The Hospital As Police Use Pepper Spray To The Protest Of The Ukuncut | Pepper Reviews

    […] of Firearms – Act i.e. civilian possession is completely prohibited. revised from this article. This entry was posted in Pepper Spray. Bookmark the permalink. ← Hello world! Recipe […]





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