BIT OF STICK

Tim Blair
Thursday, April 02, 2009 at 08:55am

Some old-fashioned British police work at the G20 street party:

Further images here.

UPDATE. The Age‘s Paola Totaro reports:

He came, he covered his face, he shimmied up a two-storey Corinthian column – and conquered the mighty Bank of England.

And when the protester’s black-and-white banner unfurled over the stone scrollwork, reading ‘Stop Trading on our Future’, the spontaneous roar and cheer of thousands said more than a million essays.

More than a million essays written by Paola Totaro, perhaps. Her early enthusiasm for the event slowly evaporated as the protesters reverted to type:

Unfortunately, the walls of the banks and every available corner were also used as urinals.

Typically, these carbon-hating clean-earth types trashed the place:

Protesters were still in the square burning effigies as night fell.

The cesspool they would leave behind, however, was probably the worst damage of the protest.

That cesspool says more than a million essays.

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Back on Planet Earth, the Cesspools in Eden were the responsibility of the police, who employ a tactic known as ‘kettling’.

Outside the Bank of England, thousands were held for up to eight hours behind a police cordon, in a practice known as “kettling”. Parents with children and passers-by were told by officers on the cordon that “no one could leave”. According to witnesses, when they were finally allowed to go on Wednesday night, they were ordered to provide names and addresses and have their pictures taken. If they refused, they were sent back behind the cordon.

Paola failed to notice this; she did, however, assemble enough evidence to conclude that, on the whole:

The great majority of the police, seemingly ever-patient and self-controlled, stood for hours as kids baited and yelled, shoved and provoked. A handful of officers used well-placed elbows while batons were raised only in response to the vandalism.

For reportage see: Schnews, Friday 3rd April 2009 | Issue 671:

BOILING KETTLE

Despite the media’s apocalyptic predictions, the four horsemen (See SchNEWS 667) did at least make it to the Bank of England. Whether this was a good idea or not is open to question. It certainly brought a measure of mayhem to the financial heart of London, which seemed largely closed down for the duration. Our numbers were impressive – given the short notice and the media hype of extreme violence. But tactics adopted gave the Met free rein to place a huge cordon around the entire demo – the so-called kettle.

As soon as the final Black Horse (ironically the one symbolising land enclosure) arrived, police lines rapidly snapped into place across the streets surrounding the plaza that the bank sits on. Unfortunately – although many did successfully make a break for it – the majority of the crowd, with little idea of what to do (unless they’d read last week’s SchNEWS public order guide obviously) stood around as this manoeuvre was executed. Whilst we know that the protests were organised on very short notice, there seemed to be little aim other than simply getting into the area – there were no bust-cards, and no attempts at crowd co-ordination.

At first most seemed happy to be inside the huge kettle – a few soundsystems were blasting out and there was even a bizarre outburst of contemporary dance in front of the The Royal Exchange. As the hours wore on and the few city types caught in the circle had shown ID and got themselves extracted, it became obvious that if the police had their way no-one was getting out ‘til long after dark. No water, no food, not even a toilet. The reason given? – ‘to prevent a breach of the peace’.

By around half-one the kettle had been truly brought [to] the boil and fighting had broken out along Threadneedle St. A line of police were pushed back by a crowd shouting, “Let us out”. A few bottles were lobbed but even without these the cops were forced to give way to the sheer physical pressure. Alerted by the noise, support streamed over from the other exits to reinforce Threadneedle and push the cops back to the junction with Bartholomew Lane. This left the windows of Royal Bank of Scotland exposed. They were duly smashed, although rioters were outnumbered by photographers by around fifteen to one. However police lines here were too strong to breach.

At around 2.30, the crowd facing a thinner police line across Victoria St suddenly surged forward and by sheer weight of numbers pushed their way through. One of the shovers told SchNEWS, “It was amazing – we were resigned to being in the kettle until midnight but the lines broke right in front of me and confused police were shouting asking each other, ‘What’s the plan?’”. Despite the rapid deployment of riot cops, possibly up to a thousand people escaped at this point. Soon the windows of HSBC on Cheapside had gone in.

SchNEWS has heard reports that others managed to sneak or blag their way out over the next few hours but during the afternoon the noose was gradually tightened with baton charges. Eyewitnesses reported a sense of panic developing inside the pen. People were not allowed out until after 8pm and only then after being photographed.

One man, Ian Tomlinson is known to have died inside the cordon. SchNEWS has heard conflicting reports as to whether he was struck by police. Perhaps a coroner[‘]s inquiry into his death will expose police tactics to public glare (unless they invoke their handy new powers to keep it all secret of course).

See also : Ian Tomlinson death: G20 witnesses tell of dogs, batons and an attack by police, Paul Lewis, The Guardian, April 8, 2009 | G20 police assault on Ian Tomlinson | ‘Bristle’s Blog from the BunKRS’ has ace coverage of G20

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2020 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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11 Responses to BIT OF STICK

  1. Bron says:

    So Tim Blair is not bothered by the fact that a man who wasn’t part of the protest died as a result of a BIT OF STICK?

    Charming fellow.

  2. @ndy says:

    Um… no.

    As Lou Reed sang: ‘Make sure it came in the original wrapper’.

    (Click on the link to Tim Bliar and you’ll see what I mean.)

  3. Bron says:

    I did. He doesn’t seem too perturbed about the excessive use of force and violence.

  4. @ndy says:

    On the contrary: he thrills to it. So does his audience, judging by their comments on that thread.

    (Frustrated libidos I reckons.)

  5. Bron says:

    From that POV, true. Pretty gruesome shit.

  6. @ndy says:

    The world needs clowns.

  7. BadBob says:

    I can’t say it on Pure Poison so I’ll say it here: Tim Blair is a vile, juvenile, dull-witted pig.

  8. @ndy says:

    Now I know why they call you BadBob.

  9. @ndy says:

    This thread has some awesome comments too:

    ARMOURED ANARCHISTS

    “From one of your links, it says the protestors were complaining that the banks “stole our money”.

    Since when has a soap-dodging, marx-reading, pot-smoking bludger ever had any money?

    The protestors look like they don’t have more than two dole cheques to rub together between the lot of them. It’s not their money that it [sic] is being used to prop up the financial system, and since they don’t pay any tax, they won’t have to pay off the massive government debt that is being run up at present.

    What is being used (or stolen, depending on your perspective) is my money.”

    One comment which escaped Tim’s notice:

    “It may be apocryphal but, true or false, this story deserves a place in anarchist mythology. As you know, 11 protesters were nicked near Bishopsgate on Wednesday on suspicion of possessing a fake armoured car and police uniforms. The word on the street is that when the constable said to one of them: “I’m arresting you for impersonating a police officer,” the immortal reply was: “No, I’m arresting you for impersonating a police officer.” Surreal, or what?” (G20 Diary: An arresting scene, Andy McSmith, Independent, April 3, 2009).

  10. @ndy says:

    Which side do you find yourself face down on. Are you a victim / criminal. Criminals are just those of us who get caught. If you’re not beautiful wealthy young and white then I’m afraid to tell you, you’re a criminal by default. Swallow, everything they’ve ever given you, everything they’ve ever told you, every piece of information. You’ve only got yourself to blame. Have you noticed there are never any close ups? They are still slightly comatose? Suck the six o’clock headshot. This is not the negative. Let them do the killing let them do the taking find out how to feel from your morning paper. You never see the bodies torn apart on the street, sanitised and washed for you, it tastes so sweet. Look at all the pretty lights exploding in the air coca-cola edited dead bodies disappear. Lock them up and shut them up and burn them in the chair. Out of sight is out of mind as long as they’re not here.

  11. dj says:

    These protestors are a political manifestation of the light wave/particle duality – both upper middle class/upper class spoilt trustafarians and soap-dodging dole-bludgers at the same time. Pretty nifty trick really.

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