: Having been informed on much of the planning of J18 from August last year, I can confirm that no money was paid to anyone to attend.
Not by the official planners then...hmmmm, we'll come to this. incidently, I would readily accept that newspapers lie on a regular basis. but it does leave one trying to assess from anecdotal accounts, and interpretations from the media - all rather tricky.
: They tried to send 3 riot vans through a crowd they obviously had no chance of getting through;
The link you gave stated "Three riot police vans were immediately surrounded, with demonstrators dancing on top of them. The police retreated at speed, running over one woman"
It sounds like the police had two choices. retreat and risk hurting protestors, sit still and take whatever was coming. That they retreated "at speed" suggests a panicky unproffessionality on behalf of the police.
: Now, if it was a mistake, it's one that the police make remarkably frequently. Remember the Poll Tax riots?; they started in the same way; by a protestor being knocked down by the police.
Now we are headed toward the beginnings of a conspiracy theory. People were paid to attend? maybe by those intent on seeing the protest disgraced? The police deliberately antagonised the protestors - to the same end? Hmmm, well it sounds as plausible and implausible as the theory that the Colorado school shootings, with 'convenient' suicides of the perpetrators, happened just as gun control laws were being debated, and was quickly followed by what seemed like pre-planned gun condemning speeches by the President and a flurry of anti-gun, anti-individual stuff in the media fueling knee jerk 'pass a law' reactions.
: Crowds are emotional things;
Individual poeple in crowds can become more readily agitated, I do agree with your point. The supposed anonymity (seperation of personal action and personal consequence) in crowds seems to remove inhibitions about violence. Its a fascinating psychological process.
The point I made was the hope that the 'yeah but theyre capitalist windows so its ok' attitude was not prevalent - its as damaging to credibility as the violence.
: It takes near-superhuman patience to not respond to heavy-handed police behaviour; especially when peaceful people are injured.
It probably does take more self control. The telegraph point being that its jumped upon by the mass media as an example of why 'these anarchists' are no good - thus bolstering the idea that, for safety, a huge state is necessary.
Do you think it just went wrong, or do you think it was engineered? If so, by whom? Its plausible.