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Old 2009-04-20, 03:37 PM   #1
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Death at the London G20

I've not seen any discussion on this issue on here but much in other places and would be interested to hear the thoughts of unicyclist.com on the death of Mr Tomlinson and on the right to protest in general.

Do many of you attend protests or would you if there was an issue you felt strongly enough about?

Do you believe the police's tactics at the G20 were legitimate, abhorrent or somewhere in between?

Have the events at the G20 influenced your willingness to protest in future?
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Old 2009-04-20, 09:00 PM   #2
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I have watched the videos of two of the police attacks several times.

The chap who was pushed over and later died. He was not a protestor. He was a newspaper salesman allegedly walking home. Reports say he was a homeless alcoholic - which does not mean he deserved to be assaulted or killed, but which does raise questions about the way that his family have reacted with high profile media grief.

He was quite clearly trying to irritate the police. He was zig zagging in front of them insolently. One of them over reacted and pushed him to the floor, That was an assault, and the police officer should at least be charged with that.

There is some medical disagreement over whether his death was related to the assault. Internal bleeding was caused by factors associated with chronic alcoholism, but the push may have been the catalyst.


The girl who was hit on the leg with the baton. Interviews give the impression she was "rent-a-mob" rather than a protestor making a considered point. The copper pushed her, and she pushed back. The copper then lashed out before deliberately removing his baton from his belt, deploying it (it is telescopic) and then striking her on the leg. At the time that he struck her, she was not acting provocatively, and the police officer was clearly punishing her. Again, there can be little doubt that the police officer committed an assault.


If the roles had been reversed, have no doubt that the culprits would have been arrested immediately.


This is what happens when you put large numbers of men in uniforms.


Recently, in Nottingham, approximately 100 people were arrested in a 3:00 a.m. raid for plannign a protest!


Welcome to Gordon Brown's Britain.
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Old 2009-04-20, 11:29 PM   #3
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Those were by no means the only assaults provoked or otherwise at the protests. The Climate Camp legal team released their report on policing tactics at the protests today. There are some pretty nasty eye witness accounts in appendix 3.

the report

I've been at the pointy end of similar police tactics at previous demonstrations so there's certainly nothing that new in them. What's different this time is that a chap died as a result of them.

And I don't think it's just Brown's Britain where protestors are criminalised and assaulted by police, it's definitely been going on since at least the 60's but what seems different under this Labour government is their enthusiasm to enforce the negative stereotyping and stifle the rights of protestors with legislation.

I'm attending a demonstration in a couple o weeks at a local arms factory. The last time I was at a big protest there it got pretty hectic. I'm interested to see if the police tactics are different this time with the G20 shenanigans still topping the news.

What was the protest being planned in Nottingham?
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Old 2009-04-21, 12:11 AM   #4
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I can't help that the day went pretty smoothly until the protesters realised they were blocked in with no food, water, or toilets for 8 or so hours.
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Old 2009-04-21, 06:28 PM   #5
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What exactly is this guy protesting? What does he think he'll accomplish with his actions?

I'm against police brutality and all, but I only see one outcome to this situation, and I think the guy's got it coming to him.

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Old 2009-04-21, 06:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maestro8 View Post
What exactly is this guy protesting? What does he think he'll accomplish with his actions?

I'm against police brutality and all, but I only see one outcome to this situation, and I think the guy's got it coming to him.

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Old 2009-04-21, 08:05 PM   #7
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I'm against police brutality and all, but I only see one outcome to this situation, and I think the guy's got it coming to him.
Free speech, the right of free association, and the right to protest - but not the right to act like an arsehole.

In a free society, your freedom to put your fist where you like is limited by the other man's freedom to put his nose where he likes.

Although it is not fashionable to say it, real progress on real issues is made by patient and considered lobbying, arguing, and research behind the scenes. This is why groups like the Motorcycle Action Group, NSPCC, Marine Conservation Society, Amnesty, etc. etc. have organised membership, letter writing campaigns, poster campaigns and so on. Slowly but surely, change is made.

A rent-a-mob confronting the police in the hope of a bit of self-publicity helps no one.
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Old 2009-04-21, 08:16 PM   #8
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The girl who was hit on the leg with the baton. Interviews give the impression she was "rent-a-mob" rather than a protestor making a considered point. The copper pushed her, and she pushed back. The copper then lashed out before deliberately removing his baton from his belt, deploying it (it is telescopic) and then striking her on the leg. At the time that he struck her, she was not acting provocatively, and the police officer was clearly punishing her. Again, there can be little doubt that the police officer committed an assault.
He was controlling mob of people and he is allowed to push them. There is a line on which pushing turns into assault but he didn't assault her, he was controlling her. Police officers are trained to protect them selves if any form of aggression is shown against them. She pushed him in a threatening manner, he didn't know what she would do next and his training tells him to neutralize the threat. Therefor he hit her with his baton. He didn't repeatedly hit her, he neutralized her.

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Old 2009-04-21, 08:37 PM   #9
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I'm afraid I have little sympathy for the woman who ended up with a bruise on her thigh.
From the footage I've seen she was like a screaming banshee.
In a well stage-managed interview later she spoke softly and demurely about what had happened.
In a hushed voice she explained that if the policeman had asked her nicely, then she would have got out of the way.

Suuure.

The policeman who pushed the newspaper seller however deserves to have the book thrown at him.
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Old 2009-04-21, 08:47 PM   #10
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Therefore he hit her with his baton. He didn't repeatedly hit her, he neutralized her.

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He drew the baton seconds after she had pushed him, and deliberately struck her on the leg in retaliation for what she had done.

She was acting like a yob, and so was he.
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Old 2009-04-21, 08:57 PM   #11
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I dont feel sympathy for the woman, she attaked the police officer. But the newspaper seller, that is different... he had his hands in his pockets, facing away from the police, walking away! There was no reason to push him like that. That officer deserves to be punished for that really.
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Old 2009-04-21, 11:33 PM   #12
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What exactly is this guy protesting? What does he think he'll accomplish with his actions?
Hard to tell, but it looks like he may already be wearing handcuffs. In which case he's got less to lose.

Or maybe it's not what it appears? Possible Caption:
"No, see, I wear my ring on my right middle finger, not the left one. But you can still see the indentation where it used to be on the left one." The policeman nods understandingly.

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Old 2009-04-22, 02:13 AM   #13
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For the most part I agree with the fact that police do have to contain the crowd, but what I don't understand is why they don't just let them stay in one place, rather than force protesters into poor spots, this will only aggravate them.

Another tactic that I find pretty disgusting and I don't understand why it is legal, is the use of police dogs, dogs that are designed to cause serious harm. These are not last resort tactis, police dogs are all about agression, and whether or not protesters are agressive towards them doesn't matter, because they shouldn't be there in the first place.

One last thing that I saw, was police using the edges of shields as a weapon towards peoples heads. I saw video of an officer raising his shield to chop into a crowd that not only had their hands in the air, they were being pushed back already just with the small pushes, and the officer was aiming at the area that would cause the most amount of harm.

I also understand that officers are under a great deal of stress in these situations, but that is their job, they are trained to handle these situations. There were tons of other officers that acted properly. I do not want police officers that can't handle the pressure of "peaceful protesters" trying to handle the pressure of gangs and real criminals.
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Old 2009-04-22, 03:38 AM   #14
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Most of the time when I see Police dogs used (usually on shows like Cops), they are used as an instant-compliance tool, to get offenders to cooperate.
"Come out from under that porch!"
"No."
"Okay, we're sending in the dog."
"Wait, I'm coming out!"
That's the usual sequence of events. Dogs make great cops.

I didn't see what dogs were up to in the G20 protests so I have no comment on that. I agree with Pigs On Unicycles that the cops, who are not there by choice, should generally have the benefit of the doubt in such situations. Usually there is no physical contact of any kind until after instructions of what is expected of the "crowd" are given out repeatedly. Those who choose to stay do so at their own risk, and they know it.

But doing a protest like that is dangerous, because if it's too peaceful it's boring, and no press is generated. That's not the point. This result is much better for the movement. For this to work, some individuals have to push hard and take risks.

Meanwhile, the police are (in the vast majority of cases) tasked with enforcing the "peace" so, in theory, the law is on their side. This does not mean some individuals can overstep their bounds, mistakes can be made, or even bad orders can be passed down, leading to larger problems. Police must, above all, be accountable to the same laws they are pledged to uphold.
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Old 2009-04-22, 10:50 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikefule View Post
Free speech, the right of free association, and the right to protest - but not the right to act like an arsehole.

In a free society, your freedom to put your fist where you like is limited by the other man's freedom to put his nose where he likes.
Absolutely

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Although it is not fashionable to say it, real progress on real issues is made by patient and considered lobbying, arguing, and research behind the scenes. This is why groups like the Motorcycle Action Group, NSPCC, Marine Conservation Society, Amnesty, etc. etc. have organised membership, letter writing campaigns, poster campaigns and so on. Slowly but surely, change is made.
So you believe protest is futile?

Ghandi might not have agreed.

I personally believe there's a time for writing letters, a time for protest and a time when a mixture of both tactics plus others are necessary to achieve the desired change or to bring attention to an issue.

Look at the embarassment Brian Haw managed to cause with his one man protest in Parliament square. That can be one of the most powerful results of a well intentioned and non violent protest: To cause embarassment to those in the wrong.

Through history there are many examples where non violent and creative protest have resulted in changing societies for the better or brought the gaze of the worlds press onto oppressive governments and we need to retain the ability to resort to protest when it's necessary.

At the moment in the UK there's an attitude amongst a large portion of the police, press and government that protestors = criminals.

I can't deny that at some protests you get the a portion of 'anarchists' who cruise round from demo to demo waiting for their next chance to throw something at a copper.

These people are not legitimate protestors and should be targeted by the police if they commit crimes at a protest. However the police currently make little attempt to distinguish between peaceful protestors and the violent minority.

In fact police often actively encourage violence at protests in order to give justification for using heavy handed tactics of their own.

I guess my problem is that the balance between the right to protest and the need to keep public order is currently very much out of skew.

For those that haven't please do read the report I posted from the Climate Camps legal team. To me the Climate Camp lot are doing things very much as they should be. They're non-violent, creative and back up their protests with research and reports.

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A rent-a-mob confronting the police in the hope of a bit of self-publicity helps no one.
Indeed, and I hope that police learn to target those types better as a result of the incidents surrounding the G20 in order allow legitimate protestors to do their thing. uch as they managed to do with football hooligans in the eighties which allowed regular football fans to enjoy football matches with fear of a clobbering.
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