After the events of the last couple of weeks, it is clear the Metropolitan and City of London police have not learnt a dam thing about policing demonstrations from the incident in which Ian Tomlinson was murdered by a member of the Territorial Support Group during the G20 protests.
In the video below we see mounted police officers attacking a group of students who were conducting themselves peacefully and legally during last weeks student protest against tuition fees.(24.11.10) If you add in the continued use of kettling when policing legal demonstrations and the incident of the police van which was inexplicable abandoned in Whitehall in the path of the students protests, we get a clearer picture of the police strategy.
It is hard not to work out that police agent provocateurs or other State agencies are at work, for even Inspector Clouseau would have understood, as far as a section of the protesters were concerned, the abandoned police van would act like a red rag to a bull. Ditto using horses to intimate student from protesting on their own streets, thankfully these young people are made of sterner stuff.
The mounted police charge is about 1:15 into the video, but view the whole tape as it gives one a sense of the shock and fear the students must have felt when they suddenly saw mounted police charging down upon them. I remember experiencing something similar on the Grunwick picket line and it seems as far as the Met is concerned little has changed and they still use mounted police to intimidate and bully people from exercising their democratic right to protest against injustice.
That the police lied about the use of mounted officers on the 24th November reeks of the Tomlinson affair, as too does the fact the day after the event, on being asked by a member of his Police Authority if there had been horse charges at the student protests, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Paul Stephenson replied:
"I was at the debrief last night, there was no reference to that whatsoever and I have no reference to it.”
Once again the Police are shown out to be natural born liars. What is not surprising though is how the Courts accept their word as a matter of course when they present evidence.
Later that day, a Met spokesperson said: "Police horses were involved in the operation, but that didn't involve charging the crowd."
Watch the video and you decide.
Thanks to Outrage for first posting this.
Met police issue denial but witnesses tell of terrifying ordeal
Video footage has emerged showing mounted police charging a crowd of protesters during this week's tuition fees demonstrations, the day after the Metropolitan police said tactics "did not involve charging the crowd".
Tens of thousands of school and college pupils and university students demonstrated in largely peaceful protests across the country against government plans to increase tuition fees and scrap the education maintenance allowance, but there were violent scenes at the central London protests. Hundreds of protesters were corralled or "kettled" by police, and later advanced upon by mounted officers.
Many who were in the crowd complained of being charged by police on horseback.
Police have denied that mounted officers charged at protesters; however, a five-minute video posted on YouTube last night shows a number of officers on horseback advancing at speed through a crowd of people.
Jenny Love, 22, who graduated from Bath University in July, said mounted officers "charged without warning".
"When the horses charged I was fairly near the front of the demo, where we were very tightly packed in, and found myself very quickly on the floor where I assumed the foetal position and covered my head while people simply ran over me," she said.
"Thankfully another protester picked me up before I could suffer any serious damage."
Love described the charge "as pretty terrifying" and said she suffered bruising during the ordeal. "I'm very angry that the mounted police were ordered to charge on a crowd containing many people like me who were only interested in peaceful protest," she said. "Police chiefs should think themselves lucky that no one was more seriously injured."
Naomi Bain, a member of support staff at Birkbeck University, was at Whitehall on Wednesday to protest against the government cuts. She said: "We were right at the front of the crowd. I've been in a lot of protests before, so we weren't particularly scared of police shouting at us and telling us to move. We were standing our ground – until the horse charge.
"I don't think I've ever seen anything quite so frightening. I've seen police on horseback, but this was like a cavalry charge. There was a line of police on foot, and they just moved out of the way, then maybe a hundred yards down the street there was a line of police on horseback. We'd been standing firmly and just moving back slowly, but when the police on horseback charged, that was the moment when we absolutely ran."
Bain said she was standing with school and college pupils, some as young as 15, when mounted police advanced. "There were people who fell down who would have been under the horses' hooves if they hadn't been grabbed – and these were really young kids as well."
Jonathan Warren, a freelance photojournalist who was at the protest, said mounted police advanced "with no warning". "There was a line of police officers, which parted, and then the police on horseback just started charging," he said, adding that protesters were left "angry and scared".
Archie Young, 18, who was protesting with his mother, Josa, said he was left bruised following the charges. "I was at the forefront of the crowd of protesters that they charged, yes – my left boot still has a hoofprint-shaped mark on it from where I was trodden on," he said.
Yesterday a spokesman for the Metropolitan police said: "Police horses were involved in the operation, but that did not involve charging the crowd." He added: "I dare say they [officers policing the Whitehall demonstrations] were doing the movements the horses do to help control the crowd for everyone's benefit, which has been a recognised tactic for many, many years, but no, police officers charging the crowd – we would say, 'No, they did not charge the crowd.'"
However the spokesman did also say that charging was a "quite specific term". His rebuttal came after the Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, told a Metropolitan police authority meeting he had "no reference" to police officers on horseback charging at protesters.
The Guardian witnessed a charge by police mounted on about 10 horses shortly after 7pm on Wednesday near Trafalgar Square. The incident occurred when about 1,000 protesters had gathered outside the kettle to call for those inside to be released. Some began hurling missiles and surging forward.
In a co-ordinated move, the riot officers, who numbered about 100, simultaneously retreated to the sides of the street, allowing the horses to come forward approximately 100 metres. Panic spread through the crowd as protesters sprinted away. Witnesses said it was the second time police had charged with horses in the space of an hour, with unconfirmed reports of a young man having been trampled.
The police denial that officers had charged was strongly disputed by people commenting on the Guardian's coverage of the protest aftermath yesterday.