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Anti war demo Jan 3rd - My experience

PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 9:46 pm
by appleman77
So here's my account of the day:

Arrived at Embankment train station - loads of people there. Lots of police in the station and outside. British Transport Police, TSG [Territorial Support Group?] known to you and me as Riot police [wearing black] with their big black wooden batons and the big round plastic riot shields. Police vans, Mounted Police [horses] and normal Police [wearing fluorescent hi-vis [ibility] jackets.

So we are directed to a gated area below a bridge. We waited there while more and more people came. Then about an hour later we set off on the march to Trafalgar Square. The March stopped just outside no 10 Dowing Street. Was not planned. People started shouting "Shame on you Gordon Brown" and chucking shoes in the direction of No 10. [Thats where the Prime Minister lives for those who dont know]. Symbolising the Iraqi Journalist who threw his shoes at "Dubya" Bush.

Then the mounted police came and so we moved on to Trafalgar. We arrived, and there were many Muslims bowed down in prayer in the front, and the speeches had just started in the back. Lots of Media vans here. It was hard to hear as there was a large crowd, but I got parts. A young woman from Palestine gave a speech - the best one of all the speakers and I was moved to tears. George Galloway was on top form as usual - what a legend. It seemed as almost everyone loves the venerable old man. I love him too like a grandfather. And last were two members from a musical group called Babyshambles - one of them read a poem. It was quite witty although the only line I sort of remember was he was saying "Marks and Spencer coins turned into bullets" or sumting like that.

The event organisers said that close to around 80 - 100,000 people had turned up!!

Tony Benn was there but unfortunatley I had missed his speech to boycott Israeli goods. Then good ol' George walked right in front of me and told us we were now marching to the Israeli embassy. We followed George who was right at the front. It was a long walk. The riot police suddenly blocked our path. They split us into two. My group went on a road into a tunnel underneat a bridge, the other half was blocked and stayed still behind us. We went in the tunnel and it was pretty dark down there. Quite eerie and I had a sense that it was not a good idea being in this enclosed space and that something might happen.

We were halfway down the middle of the tunnel, when some youngsters got over excited and started pushing their way to the front. Then some real troublemakers started throwing their placards at the police. That's when all hell broke loose.

The police charged the crowd and smashing people with their batons and shields. I saw them crack innocent people in the head and face as well as the troublemakers. The crowd rushed back to escape the charging police. I was close to the front. I turned my back to the police and tried to stop them stampeding as many old people and women, girls and mothers, with their kids [in buggies or by foot] had been pushed over and were now being trampled by people stamping ontop of them to escape.

They charged us three times. We managed to help get the injured people out of the tunnel. Some people were telling me that someone had got stabbed, and that is why we were held up before the tunnel for so long, I also heard a journalist was the first to be hit by the riot police and that he had suffered head injuries and was bleeding out of his mouth. I didn't see this, I'm just letting you know what people were telling me.

We formed a line and interlocked our arms so we couldn't be pushed and the ushers and event organisers managed to calm the police down and calm down the people who were really angry now and just wanted to rush the police. Many people were upset and some were crying at what they had just seen. I myself was pushed as others were so that I trod on an old lady. Many people were on the floor. We stood there silently. I felt a mixture of anger, shock and I was upset. I felt my eyes water with angry tears.

Slowly the police retreated and let us continue our march. Some people had already left to go back out the tunnel as they were rightfully worried for themselves or family. The rest of us waited, and continued forward.

We eventually reached the end of the tunnel and exiting it people were above us on either side as the road led upwards, cheering down on us as they had heard what happened. I find it hard to explain in words what that felt like, the support from the other half of the protest on either side of us waving at us.
Hopefully someone got it on camera in the tunnel and put it on youtube for you to see.

Well it was beautiful, out of the dark and looking at a beautiful sunset ahead of us orange glow, pink sky, a huge roar went up from our group and we marched forward and joined up with the second half.

It was a reallllly long march to Kensington High Street where the Israeli Embassy was. I needed to relieve myself really bad lol, but was refused entry everywhere I asked. They dont like 'our' kind :P So i held it in. I was also hungry and the worst thing was when we were stopped because then you couldn't move your limbs and warm up - the wind chill seeped righ through to the bones - my shoulders were aching, but my feet suffered most from the cold.

We kept walking and chanting. Although I was starting to lose my voice at this point, and was feeling too tired and dizzy to keep it up. Then a portion of the crowd started running down the road trying to bypass the police and get to the embassy. But they were stopped. We eventually reached the Embassy gates and it was dark by then. India 99? the police helicopter had its spotlight on us shining in our eyes. And there were many police photographers, and spotters taking photos of us in high positions.

Some dude climbed up a building and waved the Palestinian flag - quite a sight. And then that minority few who like to cause a ruckus started lighting stuff. They burnt Israeli flags and stamped on them and then started chucking stuff at the police.

Call me a cynic, but the police did nothing, did not arrest them. And all this took place in front of a set place for the media with all their cameras in one group. I believe like most other people it was a staged event just for the media so that people would think it was a violent protest on behalf of the protestors - when it was not.

I bet they weren't even Muslims, they all covered their faces, and the protestors stayed away from them and booed them and told them to stop chucking stuff [wood stones] They were probably paid by Mi5 or sumting so that people would think they were legit protesters and extremists.

Anyway, they suck.

I protested a bit more till I felt it was time to go home for the day. As I left towards Ken high street tube station I saw another cordon - loads of police vans and riot police with their sticks out facing a large crowd - I realised that they had split up the protestors into two groups again. So I passed them and went to the station and went home.

The end.

Re: Anti war demo Jan 3rd - My experience

PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 9:59 pm
by Furious_George
I guess thats the difficulty for the Police. They want to arrest those who cause the issues, and for whom peaceful protest is an excuse to riot, but they are unable to distinguish them from those like yourself, who are (it seems) there to protest legally. For the police, the whole baton charge stuff has to be a real last resort, cause there simply isnt the tolerance for that kind of heavy handedness without serious reasoning. Anyway, kudos for getting up there and standing for something, and it sucks to hear it went sour due to idiots on both sides :/

Re: Anti war demo Jan 3rd - My experience

PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 10:00 pm
by sirstanly
that is a truely amazing experience young thomas
i hope your ok
i dont get that though, why do people always have to start violence
is it not a bit ironic, we dont want to go to war, just attack our own people
stupid chavs thats all i can say


Re: Anti war demo Jan 3rd - My experience

PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 10:36 pm
by ShoTz
Great read thomas, one of the best things ive actually read on these forums. It sounds like a great turn out, I was hearing it would be a very small scale thing.

Ive seen stuff on the national news focusing on the violence that "scared" the event, but did focus on the minority that you were talking about. I was gearing up for going if it wasnt for the football that was eventually called off.

The local london news focused various people that were there, ken livingston etc who were condenming the atrocious attacks by the isreal army.

Like i said before if there are any more mass demos in london i'll be attending and will come and say "SAFE THOMAS" haha. and btw when you were on the beat did you ever attend demos with the police, do you know what there sort of mentality is on these sort of events without speculating?


Re: Anti war demo Jan 3rd - My experience

PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 1:01 am
by appleman77
No unfortunately during my 8 working months in the Police I never experienced anything on this scale. Just posted to small demonstrations - like football games Chelsea, Fulham, QPR ...etc Sometimes they got rowdy and the TSG [riot police] and mounted police kicked in.

In the force, and probably out of it, it's common knowledge that the majority of the TSG are ex- army and they often the butt of many jokes in the Police station I was based at, and even at Hendon during my training. They are known as 'knuckle draggers' not very bright, but very aggressive, and there's no one else you would rather have at your side backing you up. I think they have taken some of the KILL KILL KILL aggression and thought conditioning and brought it into the policing of British civilians. This is where I think the main problem lies.

Don't get me wrong, there are some top, top lads in the police - who i still keep in contact with. The hierarchy [sergeants, inspectors - basically the old guard and also the ex army] they are the problem. The Met as an institution as a whole makes it very difficult for the good coppers to their job. So I have total symapthy with them. Long hours, night shifts, no sleep, constant stress, constant abuse, pay conditions ... etc I'm not surprised that some officers crack under the pressure and take it out on the public. The Senior Management [and don't forget that the Met is actually a 'business' that provides a public service] heaps paperwork and pressure on your ordinary officer that is shocking.

However, all that being said. This should never be an excuse for losing control. And today what I saw was unprofessional and brutal. The officers were scared, you could see the fear in their eyes - this turned into hate - one officer lashes out - they all follow suit and lash out wit their batons. People would have recorded this on their mobile phones/ video cameras in the tunnel. So although the mainstream media won't ever show what happened in there, hopefully you will see the footage on youtube for youselves.

I do have mixed feelings towards the police as I worked for them and made good friends, and met people who genuinely want to do good and help people - unfortunately they are in the minority, and many have left and are still leaving the police because they are being prevented from helping and serving the public and being pressured into doing things that go against their conscience.

This was the main reason I left. I was ordered on a number of occasions to do things that made me feel inhuman, I felt I was losing my soul to be frank. So I left. Before it was too late, and I became a cog in the machinery of the police state.

I even used to call my nick 'home' when i returned to it, not realising I had called it home. The station was like a home for all of us officers. And we were one big happy family.

Bck to ur qu shotz - when ive worked with them im happy because they've had my back against really nasty people at times. Ugly football trouble. But that's on a professional level, not a personal one. The TSG stick to themselves [mostly becaue they are ex army] and are a tight knit group - they dont really socialise with anyone outside it.

Re: Anti war demo Jan 3rd - My experience

PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 1:15 pm
by appleman77
Just to confirm the police charge in the tunnel - george galloway was in the front and was injured

Taken from the Scotsman :

Global protests end in riot on London streets - "It was very frightening. The police trapped us in the tunnel and attacked us repeatedly"
SCOTSMAN Sun, 04 Jan 2009
RIOT police had to be deployed last night as a protest outside the Israeli embassy in London over Israel's invasion of the Gaza Strip erupted into violence.

In a day of global demonstrations over Israel's military campaign against the Islamist Hamas movement, thousands of protestors gathered outside the embassy with some attempting to storm the Kensington compound.

As tensions mounted in the early evening, police officers came under fire from missiles. The barrage, including fireworks and bottles, continued despite a number of protesters being led away by the police, who armed themselves with riot shields.

Scotland Yard said that from around 6pm protestors at the front of the barrier line made repeated attempts to break through to the embassy and several arrests were made. As the situation grew more violent, more units of armoured riot police were mobilised and forcibly moved waves of protesters away from the embassy down Kensington high street.

Organisers of the demonstration said they would make an official complaint after claiming that riot police charged into people, injuring many.

Witnesses said a number of people, including children, were thrown to the ground during clashes in the underpass at Hyde Park at the end of a march.

Chris Nineham, an official of the Stop The War Coalition who has organised dozens of national demonstrations and rallies, said: "It was the most irresponsible police behaviour I have ever witnessed.

The police forced us to go down a tunnel where we were met by three or four ranks of riot officers who then charged at us at least three times using their riot sticks."

Respect MP George Galloway, who was caught up in the incident, said he and his daughter were thrown to the ground. "It was very frightening. The police trapped us in the tunnel and attacked us repeatedly."

Stephen Hodgkins, 38, from Battersea, who was among the crowd of around 100 in the underpass, said officers wielding batons made "two or three" charges at the crowd, leaving several people injured. "It was just shocking," he said.

Re: Anti war demo Jan 3rd - My experience

PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 1:42 pm
by appleman77
Just found footage of the chaos in the tunnel where I was. This guy filming this seems quite far back.

Can an admin embed these videos.

This is the after one of the police charges where everyone got really angry and started chucking the wood bits from their placards at the police. The ushers and event organisers tried to calm the protesters down.

Oh and this is where I described where we were exiting the tunnel!! Beautiful moment

at the end of the video you see us! and we are greeted by everyone on either side above us! who heard about us getting mashed up in the tunnel! YAAAAY :P

You can't see the police but they were in a line at the front. I was right at the front where the police rushed us. George Galloway was there too.

It makes for pretty emotional viewing. Part of me thinks they lured us into the tunnel to give us a good kicking as it was only protesters who were led in there - and they knew there was no cctv. I dunno - it was a sad part of the protest though

This is great footage of the riot police up close and personal and their intimidatory tactics towards the protestors

Surrounding us from behind and on all sides and hitting their shields with their truncheons - i feel sorry for the little kids that were there - they must have been scared shitless

OH guys!! there will probably be more footage put up over the next few days so just type in youtube search engine Tunnel + London or Underpass + London and change setting from relevance to - date added. And you should get some more good footage if you search for it!

Peace I'm out.


PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 3:09 pm
by BenJy!
Can i ask why the police where being brutal?

This video:

"He didn't do nothing!"..I'm sorry?

Did i not just see this person try to attack/disarm a police officer? What a joke, the police acted correctly.


PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 3:19 pm
by UK_sniper
lol agreed. 1:10. he charges an officer, lifts his riot shield and then tries to take what looks like a truncheon.


PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 3:28 pm
by BenJy!
The girls stupidity is the only redeeming and humerous thing about the video, thank you for embedding it for me.


PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 4:27 pm
by sirstanly
im sorry but the police have to be intimidating
if they werent then you would get all the little chavs who would walk all over them
as for the guy who did nothing
i guess he tripped over a very dense piece of air, while his arms were having a fit
he accidently pushes the shield up and went for the batten to stabalize hisself,
all jokin apart they have the shields for a reason, he could have easily stabbed the officer.....


PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 4:53 pm
by appleman77
Yeh obviously the last video of the guy was showing him go for the policemans baton. But you seem to have completely misunderstood the video. The girls comments were valid of the way the police were surrounding us and trying to provoke us. And there was just no need for them to resort to the intimidatory tactics when for the most part the protest was wholly peaceful. They did not just target the few troublemakers and thats where the problem is.

I wanted you to hear the girls comments in the last video and see how the riot police were generally runnin about like maniacs and being overall heavy handed with everyone and not just the few 'chavs' as u call em dan with their faces covered up.

Don't just focus just on that one incident and ignore everything else plz, and tbh i cant blame the guy - he was probably angry like the rest of us from being attacked in the tunnel by the police.


PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:16 pm
by FunkySpider
being angry at a group of people is no reason to start attacking them he was in the wrong (ironic if you think about it)
The thing is that kind of person (while in the minority) is still an intrinsic part of the antiwar coalition movement, it's one of the main reason i left in the first place.
Believe it or not the police were "running around like maniacs" for you own protection. Protection from idiots who will try and start a riot.
They are also protecting the people around the area who aren't involved in this demostration, people going about their business and not wanting to have their day ruined by a out of control riot if they don't "over-react" we'll have things like the Poll Tax riots again and i for one do not want a return to those days.


PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 6:10 pm
by mishymasher
About the video, I agree with everyone above me except Appleman
Also, those weren't anti-war protestors!
That was peple heckling the police, common yobs, I saw no political message been put across and feel sorry for the true protestors who actually care about what's happening and don't just protest because they enjoy been angry and shouting loudly and been anti-goverment


PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 6:39 pm
by Im over here!
IMHO <---Note..

The Police officers in that last vid did the correct thing. And he was lucky just to have been dragged off. I'm not sure if this is 100% correct but arn't police officers meant to look after themselves first? I'm pretty i've read/seen that somewhere. Might have been the army..
I commend the officers in the last video sorta, how intimidating would it be if...

Sorry, I left the room for half an hour came back and forgot what i was writing :lol:

It's all that sugar, I'll leave this here anyway.


PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 7:13 pm
by ShoTz
then think how intimidating it would be for children and mothers on a protest with 100's of riot police ahead of you beating there shields with there batons ready to knock two shits out of you

*awaits benjy or someone who cant hack a debate to say "LOCK PLZ ADMIN THIS IS GETTING OUT OF HAND"*


PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 7:41 pm
by Im over here!
I did say in that last video..

One of my points that i forgot was regarding the police acctions and intimidation in the tunnels.


PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 8:48 pm
by mishymasher
Seems like I only foccussed on the last video before.
Whoever led you into that tunnel.....the police? the organisers?
That looked really messy and made me think of all sorts of bad stuff if someone got trampled etc
We can also see that a small minority (who always spoil it for the rest) are throwing missiles at the police, this is a uncanny metaphor for the situation in Gaza.
A smallish extreme minority (Hamas) throw stuff (missiles) at the big bad police (Isreal) and they spark a reaction. This then leads to innocents getting hurt and tears all round.
Who's to blame?
Well the police (Isreal) can't just sit there and have things chucked at them, they must protect themselves so, they retaliate and because the troublemakers are hiding amongst the get a very nasty situation :(


PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 9:55 pm
by appleman77
The police led us into the tunnel and would not let us go overground. Yes you focussed on the last video because benjy 'kindly' repeated it in his reply post to detract your attention from the other videos.

I could respond to the previous posts which I disagree with as you weren't actually there or witnesses to the event. But I am tired of debating with you. I have given you my version of events. You are free to believe what you want. I won't comment upon it anymore in this forum.

Thank you to those of you who have been reasonable, open minded and balanced and not trolled or flamed my posts looking to stir things up - your feedback has been constructive and appreciated.

As a last comment. I think we should not stay focussed on the riot police and the anti war demo anymore. It's time to focus our complete attention on the growing crisis in Gaza.



PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 11:42 pm
by BenJy!
appleman77 wrote:The police led us into the tunnel and would not let us go overground. Yes you focussed on the last video because benjy 'kindly' repeated it in his reply post to detract your attention from the other videos.

I did nothing of the sort, i commented on that video because i was interested in what was going in within the situation. I'm curious as to this so called brutality, generally you don't get an 'effect' without some kind of 'cause'. I saw peaceful protesters and bless them for standing in what they believe in and i saw idiots throwing blanks of wood and objects, how is this peaceful? The police are well within there right to protect themselves in what ever manner they can if this sort of behavior is doing on.

As for shotz comment on mothers and children, to be honest if your a parent and you take your child to a protest/march then it's your responsibility they stay safe and out of harms way. No person in the right mind would think that there won't be any sort of police control or force at a protest or march, the police are there to keep things in order in case of rioting. If a mother/father see the situation deteriorating then they should sensibly move out of harms way at any great cost for there children sake.

As for the majority of this posts I've seen some small case of rioting and un-peaceful protesting as well as good honest protesting and what seemed a decent march, it's just a shame a few people spoiled it and had to bring it down to what it became.