- Capitalism and Alternatives -

There were violent nutters there; they had body armour, tear gas and batons.

Posted by: Farinata ( L'inferno ) on December 01, 1999 at 11:24:22:

In Reply to: protests, hmmm posted by Gee on December 01, 1999 at 10:36:47:

: So that protest was a success - assuming the idea was to turn people against the protestors:

Quite the opposite; the news reports I saw on the BBC were actually pretty favourable - a first there.

It looks like people are finally waking up to the idea that the WTO is a bad idea.

: "It was chaos in the streets," said Jerry Jasinowski, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, who is attending the conference.

: "I was struck by how loopy some of the protesters were," he told CNN. "I expected a more serious group that had some message ...but they didn't. They were sort of dancing in the streets, pushing people, acting crazy, breaking windows and throwing things. So it looked like a group that was out of control."

Wow, that's an informed comment; can you say "vested interest", Gee?

: LONDON (Reuters) - Riot police broke up a violent protest on Tuesday by hundreds of anarchists who ignited a fire outside a major London train station in a demonstration against capitalism and a WTO summit in the United States.

: In a two-hour rampage the anarchists overturned vehicles and disrupted London's evening rush hour commuter travel with their attack on the forecourt of Euston Station in the center of the capital.

Speaking as an eyewitness to the above, I can confirm that the following happened;

About 500 fully equipped riot police surrounded 200 unarmed protestors and an unoccupied blue Ford Transit belonging to the British Transport Police.

The police told the demonstrators to disperse immediately - somewhat difficult, since the demonstrators were surrounded on all sides by riot police.

20 seconds later, the police mounted a baton charge.

The surrounded protestors got angry and overturned the Transit. They set it on fire a bit later. They also started throwing litter at the police, as it was the only thing to hand.

At no time were the police outnumbered or even under serious threat; one police officer was injured when he got hit by a litter bin; seven protestors were injured by police batons.

: A police spokesman said at least 15 people were arrested and about 10 bystanders were injured when the anarchists hurled bottles, iron bars, paving stones and other debris as police moved forward to push them back from the station entrance.

Again; a highly impartial source, eh?

I saw about 30 arrests.

Consider this; the protestors had to scour around for stuff to defend themselves with; the police had body armour, helmets, batons, CS gas, dogs, horses and a helicopter overhead - and they outnumbered the protestors.

Would any vaguely sane person start anything?; of course not.

The police engaged in crowd incitement and provocation, knowing that the assorted media would support their side of the story; if you look at the front covers of all of the UK papers this morning, they show a blazing Transit van with a protestor shaking his fist at the police; most of them have the words "anarchist", "thug" or "hate" somewhere in the main title.

It's media manipulation, pure and simple; something the police are damn good at. I wouldn't have resorted to violence myself, but it's hard not to when you're charged by riot police in full-on Judge Dredd mode.

I was disguised in a smart suit, so they assumed I was an innocent bystander caught up in it; I got to walk through police lines to the rear; where I saw reinforcements tooling up; and their talk was along the "lets go and kick some heads in" line; they were expecting violence and looking forward to it.

: Police herded thousands of commuters away from the glass-fronted station entrance into safety deeper inside the building.

Wrong. What they did was stand in a line and say "Go away". If you asked them why, they went into "I am the law and you will do what I tell you" mode.

: ``This was purely yobbish behavior. It was violence for the sake of it. Unnecessary and unprovoked.'' police spokeswoman Commander Judy Davison told reporters.

Quite true. The police were out to cause trouble because they get more kudos and thus more funding if the mass media can portray them as "our boys in blue" and a defence against the violent elements of society.

Oh, and we're pretty sure that three of the 'protestors' inciting people to violence were part of 100 Group; a plain-clothes police unit based in Holborn; they were "arrested" with kid gloves; taken to the rear of the demo; and uncuffed.

In the 7 hours leading up to the protests at Euston, 1 person was arrested out of the 1000 or so demonstrators - for a previous offence.

: The expression 'shooting yourself in the foot' seems appropriate. The WTO couldn't have wished for more positive publicity. Why do protestors, given such an opportunity in relatively free countries to speak out, mess it up by appearing to be 'looneys' who just wreck things for the hell of it?

Because there are plainclothes police agitating in the crowd and because it takes almost superhuman patience not to resist when you get charged by a bunch of adrenaline-fuelled cops acting out fantasies from 2000 A.D.

And because the media will happily ignore the 95% who protest peacefully in favour of garish pictures that will sell more papers.

:A Londoner I know e-mailed me that there were some people handing out envelopes purporting to be information but actually containing razor blades so arranged to hurt people!

Complete bullshit. Can your friend produce any evidence of this, or are they just making unsupported claims?

: Please tell me it was a tiny minority spoiling it for everyone plus some hamfisted policing. Mcspotlight usually has some 'in' knowledge about. maybe some other posters do too.

It *wasn't* hamfisted policing. It was policing that knew *exactly* what it was doing; and was out to blacken RTS's name by making them look like terrorist nutters.

Here in the UK, the police have "performance-related pay"; basically, the more "crimes" the police force solves as a fraction of total crimes, the more pay that police force gets. So if they provoke a small bunch of people into public disorders like the one last night and then nick them, they get easy arrests and bolster their figures; improving their chances of getting pay bonuses. In addition, if the protestors do something that generate media-friendly images for the police (like torching a blue Transit van), then the police can use that as an argument when it comes to police funding levels.

The activists *know* that violence damages the cause. They're not stupid enough to try mixing it with superior numbers of cops armed up to the eyeballs; but it takes superhuman restraint not to defend yourself with whatever comes to hand when you get baton-charged.

Basically, the police aren't serving the law, they are serving their boss; and their boss is a politician; who has a vested interest in silencing protests and criticism.


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