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As Climate Camp Begins…

Posted on Wednesday, August 26, 2009 in civil liberties, government, human rights, News, protest, surveillance society

Don’t forget what the Metropolitan Police did in April at the G20 protest:

Police officers’ notebooks lodged at the high court tell how they punched people in the face and beat others with riot shields during the G20 demonstrations in April.

The notebooks, which have been lodged as evidence in an action brought by three protesters, also disclose how Metropolitan police were given no restrictions on the use of force when they were ordered to move protesters attending the Climate Change camp in the City of London on 1 April. The accounts were written up the day after the demonstrations.

In one notebook, a police constable recounts how when he saw a protester pushing against officers’ shields: “I punched him in the jaw and he moved backwards.”

Another officer describes how he hit people with “shield strikes both flat and angled. I also delivered open palm strikes to a number of individuals and fist strikes as well.”

A third constable logged: “To get the protesters who would not move, I needed to hit the flat part of my shield to get them to move back. I also used open-handed palm strikes. Once the protesters were moved back to the required distance, we remained in a closed cordon until relieved.”

The Met insists that this time they’ll engage in ‘community policing’, but what evidence is there that they’ll keep their word? Their operation last time in Bishopsgate promised (and for a time delivered) ‘community policing’, but entirely peaceful protesters still faced the brutality mentioned above. After all Chief Superintendant Helen Ball, in command of policing Climate Camp’s swoop and camp (beginning as I write) has said:

“At the moment we will be photographing people on arrival at the camp because it is important for us to know if there are people coming who want to cause violence and disorder.

“We will not be routinely stopping and searching everybody going into the camp and we have briefed officers carefully on searching people and what the spirit of the operation is.”

In other words the first tactic will be to use Forward Intelligence Teams (FIT) from the outset. Given that FIT teams used for protest are never used to track people who might cause violence and disorder, how can we possibly believe that the stop and search tactics used at Kingsnorth won’t be reappearing, not to mention the suppression and attacks on the media? The jury’s out and the country is watching…


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