Sunday, 11 January 2009

So.... who started it?

Around 100-120k people marched yesterday. We were briefed that the public order branch expected, and had been told the plan had been arranged for around 15-20k, despite it being all over the media and sites like Indymedia that around 100k were due to turn up. The estimates on numbers are usually somewhere between the Police ones (invariably considerably less than there actually are) and the organisers who seriously ramp up the turn out. On this occasion however, the front of the march reached the embassy as the back had not long left Hyde Park, a distance of just under 1.5 miles, and it was packed, literally building line to building line across 4 lanes of road. We were told (at around 3pm) the official Police estimate was 20-25k, which was complete and utter bollocks. There were a hell of a lot of people, at the front end were families and old people, at the back were mostly young males.

As usual we had been told that our role was to facilitate the lawful demonstration and that we were effectively 'community Policing' unless the situation changed and things became violent. Crucially, we were told that despite the fact that nearly every march relating to the Gaza/Israel situation had experienced violence, this was not sufficient evidence to suggest that THIS march would become violent. As such, because the senior officers are so afraid of offending the wrong people, we were NOT in possession of riot helmets or shields which were left on the carriers, although we all were in our protective gear and coveralls under the yellow jackets. We were wearing our normal everyday beat helmets and to say some were not happy about that would be a slight understatement.

Unlike at football matches where fixtures are given categories to judge the expected level of violence based on previous experience (A = virtually nil, C+ something like Millwall v Chelsea, Rangers v Celtic etc) these aren't used at demos, which is why we have FIT - forward intelligence teams - who identify specific individuals based on known previous history, in order to judge the expected level of hostility.

My serial was one of the several dozen at the front of the march. The organisers had loads of volunteer stewards whose job was supposed to be to facilitate the movement of the march although they were all as emotionally involved with the march as everyone else there. They were organised at the front in three separate ranks, with the 'celeb' marchers in between the 1st and 2nd, and the rest of the march behind the 3rd. Not long after we set off a group of about a hundred young males broke through their own stewards and sprinted off towards the Police serials at the head of the march. After some negotiation with the stewards, they agreed (eventually) to rejoin the march behind the stewards and celebs. Our serials at the front were stretched out along the sides of the march, with a couple of officers every 50-10o meters or so.

Things were pretty peaceful for the whole length of the Bayswater Road and although very emotive, there was quite a bit of banter between the Police officers and the demonstrators and things stayed that way despite the massive numbers until the head of the march got to the North Gate of Kensington Gardens. Inside were a couple of PSU's on the other side of the gate, and as we passed there was nothing more than a bit of shoe throwing and jeering. We carried on down towards the front entrance to the Embassy and our end stayed pretty much the same. All of a sudden we heard calls from one of our other serials that dozens of people tried to break through the gates to get to the embassy and were climbing the fencing, throwing anything to hand, throwing burning flags at the gate and that they needed more units to help out. Within seconds we heard the call that no police officer wants to hear "more units now, urgent assistance, we're under attack, officer down"

What had started as a several dozen turned into a hundred or so and the officers were being attacked with missiles including glass bottles, balloons filled with paint, scaffolding clips and metal poles, and a couple had been dragged into the crowd and were beaten to the floor. One officer was knocked unconscious by a scaffolding pole, two received really bad facial injuries and the other officers (male and female) were kicked and punched repeatedly until a couple of PSU's managed to get to them. At the time we were not allowed to wear our protective helmets and were still marching towards the Embassy.

Not long after we got to the Embassy gates the crowd stopped to shout and jeer at the gates (as they can't get close to the Embassy itself) and there was a bit of banner and shoe throwing. From where we were the crowd couldn't see the gates and all they knew was that they had stopped. Immediately they blamed us and lots of people were asking us "why have you stopped us marching?" It's a simple fact of numbers, 100,000 people won't fit down a street at the best of times, let alone when the head of the group has stopped because they wanted to demonstrate, we hadn't blocked anyone in at that point.

Within a couple of minutes we received the order to get our shields and helmets from the carriers after the extent of the attack and injuries received by the officers at the North Gate was fed back to the commanders. Because of the scale of the march, at least half the demonstrators hadn't seen any Police presence and to see a few of us here and there trying to get our kit gave them more than enough opportunity to shout abuse and thrown coins, cans, bottles etc as we tried to make our way through. The RVP point for the vans was changed because of the hostility we were getting to make it easier to get kitted up without having to walk half a mile or so up the road through a predominately (at that point) hostile crowd.

We got back to our posts near the front of the march to be told that a couple of shops opposite the embassy had been attacked and ransacked and that protestors had been seen stealing bottles and knives which were distributed through the crowd and subsequently thrown at the officers at the front gate. We were then informed by a serial at the gate that they had had several bottles of accelerant thrown at them which failed to ignite. At that point PSU's were brought in to contain the crowd which did effectively block them in, the hope being that they would dissipate out the other end. The confrontation became even more violent, demonstrators destroyed the fencing that was keeping the pavements clear for the shops and emergency evac units, and some of the fencing was used as a barricade to stop the Police PSU's from getting into the crowd to arrest people, specifically those from last weeks demo who had been recognised by the intelligence teams.

We then used filter cordons to try and dissipate the crowds to get the vast majority of people out of the area, this consists of a couple of ranks of officers with people still able to pass through. The people responsible for destroying the shops and throwing the missiles/accelerants were still in the crowd outside the embassy so they were contained. When information about the cordons started feeding back into the crowd a number of demonstrators tried to break out and were using anything and everything to attack the officers on the cordons, including the barriers themselves.

As the violence increased, our escalation increased, and for the first time in almost 8 years (in the Met) full deployment of longshield units was authorised, it was probably around 8pm at that point. Short of watercannon, rubber bullets and teargas, this is the highest state of force we can use in a public order situation and the decision to authorise it was not taken lightly, because it is so obviously aggressive.

Over the next several hours we had to use more cordons to force back crowds that had gathered on all sides to dissipate them as some (but not all by a long shot as there were a lot of normal demonstrators mixed in with them) of the group contained in the embassy continued attacking officers, vehicles, property, horses etc. We kept the cordons in as the protestors were taken out of the embassy cordon section individually where they were videoed for evidential purposes (to check against CCTV later) and searched for any items taken from the stores, they were then allowed to leave. As the number of people in the contained area shrunk we were able to move the cordons in further which released more officers to assist in searching so the whole group could dissipate quicker. Our cordons and teams were eventually taken down around half ten, having been in place from around four when it first started kicking off outside the embassy.

Here are a couple of vids already on youtube, make of them what you will.

The march along Bayswater Road and then Kensington High Street, just down from the embassy after we were ordered to get our full protective gear and shields.

At the gates of the embassy, note the bloke singing "all Police are pigs, lets kill coppers" which was pretty much the order of the day from the majority of the people attacking officers.

missiles being thrown and fencing used as barricades.



Old BE said...

It drives me absolutely nuts how "peaceful" marches suddenly turn into riots and somehow it's the police's fault. The police couldn't bend over backwards to "facilitate" more if they tried!

People used to talk about "rent a mob" who go to any protest or demo just to try and turn it into a riot. I wonder if it's the same now...

Old BE said...

ps that last video in particular shows actually how restrained the police were.

The cleaning up people have done sterling work because there was no sign of a mess this lunchtime when I was up in the West End.

Metcountymounty said...

Blue eyes, Rent-a-mob might not have been there, but rentacunt were. lots of them.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the description.

Quick question - you say that water cannon, baton rounds, tear gas etc cannot be used for public order. When exactly can they be used?

Anonymous said...

So....WHO started it?

SATAN, the evil one started "it" a very long time ago, way back in the mists of time. He started a rebellion in Heaven by challenging the authority and power of The Lord God Almighty. Satan thought that he should "rule" as he felt that his power was equal to that of God's. God cast him out of Heaven to "rule" over the earth. He set about corrupting the human souls, AND RELIGIONS, century after century, by introducing false belief into some Holy Books.

Satan did this to thwart God and God's plan for humanity and this earth. Satan had his own plan, which was to destroy God's beautiful creation, earth, and all life upon it, by all foul means and especially by war. And the rest they say is "history". Tribe against tribe, making endless war, killing each other.

Killing women because they "sinned" , claiming to be doing God's will. HA! They have been fooled by Satan, the great deceiver and corrupter. His lies are within in some of the Holy Books, Islam and Christianity. One such lie is that God will destroy this world. Another is that God hates Homosexuals. This is Satan's deception to cause as much suffering to humanity as is possible.

God loves ALL people equally, black, white, Arab, Jew, male, female, gay and bi-sexual. GOD IS LOVE, pure love, spiritual and unconditional. It is animalistic lust that God disapproves of, and WARS, hatred and persecution, and the fact that humanity is slow to learn and take notice of what God REALLY wants of us. And that is, for ALL the tribes to live in peace, to END all wars and conflict. We are to forgive and love one another. This is God's will and command for the 21st Century and beyond.

It isn't the police's fault at all.

It is SATAN'S fault.
He started it, and the police "sorted" him in 2004.

So all those people who say it's the police's fault are WRONG.
They should be thanking cops, and the Heavenly Host of Angels, for getting Satan incarnate, the biggest baddie on the planet, and chaining him, his dark soul.

Sadly though, some of Satan's demons are still at it, making war and destruction. God aint happy.


Anonymous said...

It seems that there is always a presence at high-profile demonstrations - particularly ones about wars or economic policy - whose entire purpose seems to be to provoke the police in order to get some good images on the news and some nice photos to take out of context on Indymedia.

Whether they think like that deliberately I don't know - there are enough people involved in these things that at least some of them must be deliberate - but I suppose there's also the possibility that people see these things on the news, they misinterpret (helped mostly by the news reporting concentrating on the violent bits), go along expecting the police to try and stop them doing things, so they're already angry and aggressive, they're ready to snap at the slightest thing and then of course when they get into a crowd with a bunch of likeminded people, mob mentality takes over.

This is why I won't go to demonstrations, even for things I really believe in, because if it's something like this I know somebody's going to go and ruin it.

Anonymous said...

They were at it here in Edinburgh as well - the US Consulate copped it (as well as three police officers).

I must be stupid - I fail to see how hurting bobbies doing their jobs and pelting the consulate building of a country not actively involved in the conflict is going to help anyone in the Middle East?

The article states that the organisers handed out shoes to be thrown - surely that's an offence?


TonyF said...

Apache helicopters and 'Hellfires' Blow them to hell.

Anonymous said...

Another good read, thanks MCM.

But once again, I find myself extremely frustrated. If you look at a copper the wrong way at a football match you get a baton across the shoulder to keep you on your way, say something to them and you get nicked on the spot (I am speaking from personal experience here).

Yet from all the videos here it seems you can do whatever you want to the police and they won't do anything. Calling for all and sundry (who don't believe in your superstition) to be killed? Fine. Dowsing people with petrol? You crack on mate. Shouting "Rubbish" at J. Straw? You're nicked sunshine!

How much has all this taken from the police budget?

Why do YOU let them get away with this?

The police take bog rolls off hippies at climate protests, but are happy for these thugs to trash the city.

How many were arrested? None? Or did one of them dare to do 33mph on his way to get there?

Anonymous said...

Very dissapointed at most of the reporting on this from the papers. Even the normally very-factual Independent couldn't manage to put an objective eye to the day(meaning that as usual it's the generic "police baton unarmed peaceful protesters wank on the front page)...

One thing that did give me some cheer - the mounted line. Better than a riot van full of coppers to control the crowds -looks like most of the city's mounted units must have been in one place there?

Do they still teach the large shield restraint techniques to PSU teams? (just out of curiosity)? I'd guess they get used to little they've been dropped from training?

Glad that most of the coppers made it through that without serious injury - that helmet decision at the start sounded like another "risk assessment" gone wrong (lets be honest here - lets change the word risk and substitute it for "blame" in that phrase).

Metcountymounty said...

Hugh - Watercannon, teargas and rubber bullets can be used in public order but they have to be authorised at Commissioner/assistant commissioner level and would invariably be for preplanned significant disorder, I dread to think how bad things would have to get to see them rolled out in the UK having seen how bad demos/public order incidents can get before they even let us get kitted up, let alone break out the long shields. For 'spontaneous' events, a longshield running line and baton charge is about as heavy as it gets.

Veritas - er, thanks!

MattW - I've worked on dozens if not hundreds of demos and the vast majority pass off without any incident and are (to be completely honest) actually a reassuring display of democracy and free speech at work. As soon as the big ones hit anything like Indymedia then they are going to go wrong as they just become shit magnets.

Fee - same as above really!! We raised the shoe thing when they did it at Downing street and because it's a 'cultural expression' they let them get away with it. I'm just waiting for the first group of people to try walking down the street shooting AK47's up in the air claiming 'cultural expression' as they've done in other countries.

TonyF - you have no idea how many times we've had that conversation.

Hibbo - Believe me mate, you're not the only one who gets extremely frustrated at the differences between how we Police 60k people at a football match with a known fighting hardcore and a 'peaceful demo' with a known fighting hardcore stating their intention to attend. As I said to another 'question' on the previous post "I don't really care who is protesting against what, it's not as if we're ever going to see a mass rally for burglars or rapists marching for their right to exercise their chosen profession/hobbies for us to really go to town on are we? If someone is going to attack me or my colleagues then I'll fight back, no matter what side they are on. There is no difference between a bottle, scaffolding clip, battery or brick whether it's thrown by someone who is pro/anti anything, it still fucking hurts and still does damage to property and people"

The latest cost was estimated at £1.2m by the Standard today, NOT including Saturday's festivities, the damage cost or the economic cost of the road closures and disruption.

Why are they allowed to get away with it? Simple, the senior management are afraid of being branded racists. We were even slagged off today for only two people getting nicked at the Pro-Israeli march compared to 24 from the Pro-Palestine on Saturday. Er, they didn't kick off and start throwing glass bottles or scaffolding clips or trash shops and restaurants!!

You may get from my tone that I'm not happy about it either. The same people turn up to demos that kick off, just like the same people who turn up to football matches that kick off and we should be able to just say to them "no, you've had your chance to demonstrate peacefully and you blew it, so fuck off"

Re the post, I was going to call it "persecuting motorists" just for you! I've got a few bits on at work so won't be around for a few days but when I get the chance (if I'm not in the middle of another riot and need a cathartic rant before my head explodes) I'll finish it.

BinarySurfer - ditto, for the amount of TV crews and freelance photogs I'm surprised there isn't more footage or decent photos (I wanted to save some off dammit!!) but hey ho. The mounted line was impressive although they did get attacked just as much as the shield teams. Shame they didn't do a running dispersal, that is bloody scary even down at Gravesend, let alone outside Topshop.

We still do a lot of training with the long shields including running lines and large restraints specifically because we don't use them that often actually, when the wheel comes off it's good to know that we are still trained for it.

I am absolutely with you on the blame/risk thing, shame our bloody heads are in the firing line (literally) before they make a decision.

Thanks for the comments everyone.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you posted an accurate version of events as you saw them, which seems pretty similar to what I experienced. It's inherently difficult to understand each set of people's perspective at the time.

I was one of the (peaceful!) demonstrators, as well as getting out and taking a lot of photos from outside the enclosures. I didn't stick around past the official end at around 16:40, which is when I believe it started deteriorating.

At one point I was firmly embedded in the throng outside the south gates, where the front line of protesters had started using barriers against the longshields. It took about ten minutes just to get back out.

I'd like to say I'm grateful that neither the police nor the rest of the crowd behind them, almost all peaceful, tried to surge in either direction as it certainly would have led to injury. To their credit, plenty of people in the crowd were urging to stop pushing and remain calm.

I know things got worse later in the evening but from what I saw, and in contrast to certain incidents in the past, the police, the stewards and the protesters showed a great deal of respect to one another. Many negatives are reported, and yet I suspect for most of the 100,000+ who attended, they experienced a very peaceful march.

thinblueline said...

mcm, ill let you know, ive been dicked to join the team gawping at the cctv for th next 6 mnths..

Anonymous said...

how typical ws this video of police behaviour

which one waz you

Metcountymounty said...

anon 0841 - I wasn't on pall mall, but thanks for asking. As for typical behaviour, not according to the anarchist websites who say we do nothing but baton charge innocent peaceful protesters all the time.

Anonymous said...

I once heard that they wanted the Army on standby for one of those Reclaim the Streets/Stop the city type events a few years back.

The the army guy I know of, who was asked, wouldn't allow his men to come to London in this role.

This never made the news.

Anyone heard the same?

Metcountymounty said...

er, no. That would be a whole other can of whoop-ass involving military rules of engagement and martial law which would leave a considerable number of dead protesters who would quite quickly realise that they should have just fucked off when asked by the police in the first place. I seriously can't see something like "reclaim the streets" mayday or G8 ever requiring the military, you'd have to be looking at days if not weeks of rioting across the whole capital of a level not seen for decades and involving MASSIVE damage to property and significant loss of life before whitehall ever considered sending in the troops.

Anonymous said...

The whoop-ass issue is why I was always intrigued about whether this Army refusal to get involved in demonstrations thing was true.

When I heard from a friend 'My relative was asked if he'd move his army unit from XXXX to London for the big demo', I was also promptly told never to talk about it. So I didn't.

It does indeed seem pretty unlikely - maybe the Army chap was actually just talking about some hypothetical chat they'd had at their barracks...?

I once used to be an occasional well-meaning protester type myself, though nowadays I'm pretty mainstream and very much out of sympathy with most of the insane politically correct postures and justifications for violence that you always hear.

I do have one niggling question, though - of historical interest? - from that time.

I remember a Reclaim the Streets demo at Euston where the police seemed to arrange it all so that a tiny handful of idiots could - after the world's slowest build-up - attack/set fire to a police van that had been left there when all the others drove off (with all the press waiting diligently next to it for the violence pix).

Yet the police were in total control of the whole area and had to push the few rowdies back over so that they were stuck near the van, wondering what to do.

I thought this all felt slightly odd, compared to any other demo – it felt so well choreographed, no chaos at all. But pretty much forgot about it...

But then on the next demo a large - of course potentially volatile, but peaceful - crowd decided to move up Whitehall. (Parliament Square - the focus of that demo - had been quietly flooded with enough water to prevent the crowd hanging out there, as planned - playing guitars etc.)

Obviously they would end up moving up Whitehall.

I was amazed to see a McDonalds left there, unguarded, unboarded. Still open, even, I think?

Predictably - in the end - a few radical types started to attack it.

Mayhem and riot eventually ensued.

Nearby police got needlessly injured (if the McDonalds had been boarded or even minimally guarded - the peaceful crowd would have walked right past, I suspect.)

Every major media outlet - except one, who by chance had a reporter at the spot before the trouble - falsely reported that police guarding a McDonalds had been driven away by a mob under a hail of missiles. [Repeat, no police were outside it before a then-peaceful crowd was directed to walk past it.]

The partially-hidden police cameras that were placed in buildings above and opposite the McDonalds got some great photos/film for the TV news. (Which strongly suggested to me that police knew exactly what was going to happen!)

After these two events, Reclaim the Streets just looked like the usual violent lunatics (who, of course, are always attracted - but can be kept at bay, rather than encouraged with open invitations to attack McDonalds!).

After the peaceful family picnics and improvised sandpits on the motorway of previous Reclaim the Streets events (and negotiated going-home time!), the violence of the Euston and Whitehall events, I think pretty much killed off public sympathy for the eco-hippy antics of Reclaim the Streets.

(Many of them drifted into - Islamic-led? - protests against Israel etc).

Both events really looked like a kind of set-up to me, like a planned entrapment of a gullible minority of potentially violent protesters.

As if the violence – and injured policemen too, don't forget! - was actually an entirely planned part of a wider police strategy (which wouldn't be known on the ground, of course).

I was going to ask one of the policemen who was near the McDonalds - and had an arm broken, I think - what he thought had gone on. I knew his name/station, but never got round to it.

Am I just being, well, very paranoid? Entrapment is quite a big charge, I must admit. Could all be just be random and circumstantial stuff that points to nothing...

I know there was a squad set up to put a stop to Reclaim the Streets - its name/existance was mentioned in passing in the mainstream press.

Though my views are a lot more responsible and grown-up these days – I shudder at the thought of most RTS activists being put in charge of anything! – I still sometimes wonder - out of historical interest - whether the police did totally outwit RTS with two deliberate entrapments that attracted the thugs and quickly discredited the movement.

Any thoughts?

Anonymous said...


I once heard about a protester at an anti-Criminal Justice Act demonstration - who was rather brutally assaulted by a 'policemen' about whom the Met later claimed to have no knowledge.

The victim and the Met were called to a meeting at the MI5 building - eventually lots of damages were paid out (by the Met!).

The demonstrator was legally bound never to speak about it.

Another one of those historical curiosities, that never made the press...

(As I was not directly involved, can't say for sure that this is true).

Anonymous said...

Police officers running like rabbits from rabid fascists. Seriously, your commanding officers and the Home Office needs a serious kick up the arse. Are they blind to what is going on?

Anonymous said...

the army being put on standby to deal with the mayday demonstrations of a few years ago was reported by the evening standard and i've seen the standard poster announcing 'army on standby for london riot'. 'uprising', about the riots of 1981, claims that a military liaison officer was stationed in brixton police station during the 81 riots in case it was decided to call in the army. and there is a great deal of anecdotal evidence to suggest that the army reinforced the police during the miners' strike.

Anonymous said...

"all Police are pigs, lets kill coppers"

Response: ''Move along nothing to see here''

''Is your horse gay?''

Response: ''You're nicked mate!''

we're doomed

Anonymous said...

Hey mucker, I was there too, I was one of the PSU's inside the gates of KPG when you passed by! We got shoes, bottles, half-bricks and other stuff thrown at us. Still in yellow jackets (after they had launched fireworks at us and started setting fire to stuff) and beat duty helmets... we were told to drop the grilles on the carriers BEFORE being told to don our NATO helmets and break out the shields... what sort of management cares more for a £200 windscreen than a coppers eyesight/good looks etc... more of the same tomorrow, maybe see you there... TTFN

blueknight said...

anon 18.39
I don't believe that any Military personal were employed on the street during the Miner's Strike.
The strike was Britain's (failed) revolution and all kinds of similar allegations were made at the time by the left wing press.
The rumours were that after one of the 'battles' a striking miner finds a 'military tiepin?' on the ground, which must mean that the Army were involved. - or that the Police form a cordon across the road and demonstrating miners try to get past. There is a stand off and the Police and striking Miners are nose to nose. Then one of the protesters notices that a young 'Police Officer' is wearing a Military badge'? on his uniform. The striker asks him if he is in the Army. The 'Police Officer' begins to look uncomfortable and the Sgt, Insp or Senior Officer tells the 'Police Officer' that he does not have to answer...
The facts were that during the strike, Police Officers were housed in empty Military camps. Several Police Forces marched from the vans in formation. The combined shield drills looked 'military'. In those days there was no standard uniform and some of the uniforms looked alien. Some had shoulder numbers, others wore a numbered badge on the chest. Some wore the 'woolly pulley' others the tunic. Most had black waterproof jackets but one had a jacket that would 'reverse' into a fluorescent jacket.

Anonymous said...

Silly question.

Were there any specials on the demo?

tag said...

Anonymous 1302
1) Do you think it is likely that someone who actually "knows" something about that level of operation would reveal it on a blog?
2) What evidence would you require to believe that it wasn't an enormous plot?
3) Do you believe it is likely that such a well organised series of entrapment exercises could have been carried out by us? Don't you read police blogs ;-)

Bert Rustle said...

The British Ministry of Defence has a Development Concepts And Doctrine Centre, which has published The DCDC Global Strategic Trends Programme 2007 – 2036.

This document implies such civil disturbance is likely to become more widespread.

Anonymous said...

This kind of rubbish isn't going to help matters. The underlying assumption that it could only ever possibly be the police at fault, stunningly reinforced by a politically savvy pcso looking for a commendation...? Glad it seems o have backfired on her...

Metcountymounty said...

anon 0047 - no there weren't any specials on, with the exception of a couple of specialists (detectives, photogs, FIT officers etc) all the police officers were public order trained, which at the moment Specials aren't allowed to do.

Anonymous said...

MCM, in respect to some of your insightful comments in respect of police restraint, use of/show of force and the policy variations between football matches and demo's, I was once told by a man well in the know at NSY that it was often considered `politically` appropriate for the police to "aim to achieve a victory by appearing to lose". Nothing new there, then.

Bridge said...

@Anon 1104

Shocking to think that this idiot was allowed to wear a uniform. I assume that she is not the sort of woman to attend church.

There's a reason, right or wrong, that organisations resist applications from outsiders to join - it is just too easy for their loyalties to be called into question. This PCSO should have been helping drag unconcious officers out of the melee at the embassy, not aiding and abetting the attempts of another to resist arrest.

I sincerely hope she is identified and dismissed from the force with immediate effect.

Anonymous said...

I have been on all the pro-Israel demos. I am sickened by the pro-Palestinian demos. I do not know how the police keep their tempers, the abuse you take and the things chucked at you are completely disgusting. Not to use more force is political correctness gone mad. At the first Trafalgar Square Saturday 2 weeks ago I was called a liar and assualted by a massive Asian-looking guy who told me I should leave 'for my own safety'. These people are thugs and should be behind bars. It is only misguided political correctness which saves them from prison.

septicisle said...

I was one of the marchers and was indeed shocked by some of the morons on it who were determined to cause trouble. It does raise the question of why some of them weren't arrested earlier - there's video of them throwing things at the police right from the start, etc - which might well have stopped what happened later from going on. I saw some of what happened at the Russian embassy, nothing like you describe with officers being pulled into the crowd and beaten, but I did see firecrackers/fireworks thrown, red paint thrown and a couple of officers hit straight in the face with eggs, all incredibly unpleasant, with the police being very restrained given what they were taking. There's some pictures of what happened at the Russian embassy on my blog if you're interested:

Anonymous said...

Why are these morons allowed to do this?

Anonymous said...

I find it ironic that since Common Purpose, the Police go softly, softly on all Islamic lead protests. The police really are being used as a tool to aide the final take over of this country. Most decent coppers seem to have been forced to leave the 'service' since all this common purpose nonsense.

This Government is at war with the indigenous people, the Police are aiding the Government and allowing 'ethnic' groups to make a show of strength.

Unfortunately, the War on the Indigenous has caused a major rift between people and the once called Police 'Force'.

The police seem hell bent on seeing through this Governments policy of criminalising the whole nation as to get everyone on their database. I'm sure there are many disillusioned police officers who have to put up and shut up for now.

I have to question, which side is the Police Service really on, it certainly seems distanced and detached from the general public.

Anonymous said...

I'd pay for the opportunity to baton charge that horde of filthy swine off the street.

Also I hope you catch that bloke shouting kuffirs etc, for inciting hatred.

You should have a water cannon that fires pigs blood, as they do in India.

Anonymous said...



Q. 1) Do you think it is likely that someone who actually "knows" something about that level of operation would reveal it on a blog?

A. You just never know. Maybe if something actually did go on, and someone spent a decade feeling irked by it, they might be animated to post something here. Or somehow work out how to get in touch. When I saw the post about these Kensington demos, I just thought 'Just maybe I ought to drag this stuff up and ask...'

Q. 2) What evidence would you require to believe that it wasn't an enormous plot?

A. Oh, almost anything really - I'm not fixated on this entrapment idea. (Though the police did have a team working to undermine Reclaim the Streets - called 'Operation Yellowstone').

One possibility is that lots of police were in fact promptly sent to reinforce a McDonalds, unfortunately they went to the wrong one by mistake, on the Strand - where there had in fact been some kind of animal rights demo earlier.

It's just that a few things do point to the possibility of a 'plot'(flooding the turf, so that protesters would drift up Whitehall, cameras waiting in premises near McDonalds, and the fact that the whole media was fed a false line about a well defended McDonalds, which rendered the (alleged) entrapment invisible to all except direct witnesses.

Only the Guardian, by chance, had a journalist at that spot beforehand, who could see what it was a lie (though he never pursued it).

"The confrontation had to happen.The first 400 people went past McDonald's barely believing it was there, unboarded and unguarded. The second 300 gathered round it" - is what John Vidal wrote.

How come the *entire* rest of the media falsely said that the McDonalds was protected by the police when it came under attack? That must have been the line coming out of Scotland Yard.

The Evening Standard had already reported that 'intelligence reports' had warned that McDonalds would be a target too.

So, it was known it would be a potential flashpoint, but rather than protect it, protesters were offered it unguarded - on a plate!

You've got to admit there's some circumsantial evidence that the McDonalds was a set-up, even if not part of a grand plot to undermine Reclaim the Streets (the police did admit something about sacrificing certain monuments, in order to keep the troublemakers away from Oxford St).

3) Do you believe it is likely that such a well organised series of entrapment exercises could have been carried out by us? Don't you read police blogs ;-)

Q. Blogs didn't even exist when these events were happening, sadly - I rather wish they had. Might've been some good discussions.

Much harder to hide things, in the world of blogs.

I haven't a clue whether this kind of entrapment really gets used to heat up political situations and then undermine one side.

Can't think right now of any clear historical example (the Zinoviev letter apart!)

Anonymous 1305

Anonymous said...


It has been an element within the police who have, [and may still] been supporters of GORDON BROWN and his supporters, who have wanted to bring in their Orwellian Big Brother State; which includes plans for all the databases and getting EVERYONE on the DNA database.

I doubt that ALL police officers support Brown and his vision. Many appear to be totally brassed off by having to deal with petty offences, which in the past were dealt with by use of the officers discretion. Now that Sir Ian Blair has gone, maybe we will see a return to common sense.
I am hopefull.....

There is a hint of it reported in the Daily Mail last week. The Home Office have decided that anyone caught in possession of cannabis will now get an £80 fine, no caution, no court case, no criminal record. This seems to be a step in the right direction, despite all the hype in the press about cannabis, a lot of which is exaggeration and scare-mongering.

The Royal Commission a while back did actually recommend that cannabis should be legalised, which at the time the government ignored. The commission found that cannabis was bottom of the list of potentially harmful substances, alcohol being at the top, along with tobacco, both of which of course are legal. Madness!

So, that will mean that at least a few people who do no harm to others, but who do prefer to use cannabis to relax, rather than alcohol, will now not be turned into criminals. HALLELUJAH!

Perhaps MCM could give us more details of this change in tactic?

Anonymous said...

It's nothing new - SMT have always been afraid to let us have the kit we need with us - I was at the Mayday demos in 2001/2 and did years at Millwall when its kicked off - it's always the same, NATO helmets etc are always miles away when you need them, god forbid we scare anyone by having our helmets with us! The Germans have their attached to their belts ready for use, can't see why we can't do that as well.

bentham said...

"The Germans have their attached to their belts ready for use, can't see why we can't do that as well."

Some of the Kent PSUs at Kingsnorth had them like that - the whole uniform looked very German, and brand new.

Anonymous said...

Around 100-120k people marched yesterday. We were briefed that the public order branch expected, and had been told the plan had been arranged for around 15-20k, despite it being all over the media and sites like Indymedia that around 100k were due to turn up. The estimates on numbers are usually somewhere between the Police ones (invariably considerably less than there actually are) and the organisers who seriously ramp up the turn out. On this occasion however, the front of the march reached the embassy as the back had not long left Hyde Park, a distance of just under 1.5 miles, and it was packed, literally building line to building line across 4 lanes of road. We were told (at around 3pm) the official Police estimate was 20-25k, which was complete and utter bollocks…

I thought this was interesting for two reasons. First, it confirms the confirms the claims of the organisers that this was an absolutely massive demonstration of public outrage over Israel’s actions. And second, it suggests that poor police planning was at least partly to blame for the violence that ensued outside the Israeli embassy.

Now, one can certainly argue that the people responsible for the violence are exclusively to blame, but this is simplistic. Effective crowd control is about prevention, and in that respect the police clearly failed. What you had here was a large passionate demonstration, and an obvious hotspot - the Israeli embassy.

I wasn’t on the demo, but I was in continual phone contact with a friend of mine (a disabled middle aged lady attending her first ever demo) who had, to all intents and purposes, been imprisoned by the police outside the embassy. Despite her gender, age and disability, the police refused point blank to allow her to leave, and she was imprisoned for two to three hours in the biting cold. Because of the nature of her disability, I was pretty concerned for her physical wellbeing.

When her companion (like her, a middle aged demo newbie), tried to persuade the police to release her, he was abused by police officers who then twisted his arm behind his back and threatened to arrest him.

Needless to say, my friend’s experience of the policing outside the embassy was not exactly positive. What particularly irked her was that before she was finally released, her a police surveillance unit videoed her and another officer took her personal details, telling her that if she attended another demonstration, she would be arrested. In her view, this amounted to intimidation. According to her, there were many, many quite innocent protesters who were treated in the same manner.

Neither of my friends could remotely be described as violent extremists or troublemakers in any sense. They’re not even really ‘political’ and I was somewhat surprised that they demonstrated - Israel’s war seems to have moved a whole bunch of ‘normal’ British people out of apathy.

As I said, I was not on the demo, so I accept that I am only reporting what I was told. Over the years, I have been on several demonstrations which were well policed, and several others (particulary during the miners’ strike and Wapping) where it was clear that the police were intent on escalating conflict, not avoiding it.

Zin (London)

Anonymous said...

blue knight

i'm not talking about military tie-pins or nonsense like that, with soldiers in the miners' strike,i'm talking about anecdotes which have been related to me by former miners of colleagues seeing relatives among the police who were in the army. so, as i say, anecdotal evidence. given the army has trained for dealing with strikes (see, for example, 'televisionaries' by tom vague, where he mentions the army training for dealing with strikes in the 1970s) this is not beyond the bounds of possibility. i think, though i'm not sure, that babington, in his book on military intervention in britain has something to say on the subject: i'll check.