London cops beating the shit out of peaceful G20 demonstrators

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221 Responses to “London cops beating the shit out of peaceful G20 demonstrators”

  1. GregLondon says:

    (with apologies to Jeff Foxworthy)

    You might be a fascist:

    If you’re of the “Stop protesting or I’ll give you something to cry about” variety, you might be a fascist.

    If you’re of the “When the government tells you to shut up, you should shut the fuck up”, then you might be a fascist.

    If you think the only valid form of dissent of a political system is through whatever channels that system has left for you, then you might be a fascist.

    If you’re congratulating the police because they didn’t kill anyone this time, regardless of whether valid dissent was suppressed or not, you might be a fascist.

    If you think anyone who would publicly protest their government must neccessarily be a “punk” looking to “cause trouble”, then you might be a fascist.

  2. Takuan says:

    yep , police can incite violence any time they want, they are after all, armed.

    Gracchus, you may have your personal tastes in how you like your messages served, that however creates no obligation in others. Public demonstration is the last resort after other avenues have yielded no response. Any number of letters have already been written, all kinds of meetings held and messages delivered “through channels”. That is why people are angry enough to take to the streets. If they were heard and unworried, would 30,000 plus be arsed to get them selves to a street protest? If you complain of incoherence in their complaints, it’s because you keep your fingers in your ears in the first place. Or are you saying everything is just hunky-dory as they stand?

    Re: the girl, I see you don’t understand why I posted it. Why not read it again?

  3. grimc says:

    I had this thought while watching the BBC World News (I’m in the US):

    With all the stories I’ve read about the “security” measures taking place in the UK, it’s as if the UK is intent on becoming an Orwell performance art piece. And yet, I view the Beeb as one of the best English language news sources available.

    “Best” meaning “Best at trying to adhere to the standards I done lernt in J-school.”

    And yet the UK is successfully achieving levels of civil liberties violations that even the US hasn’t quite reached.

    What’s going on? Is my impression of BBC News completely out of whack? Or does this say something bigger about the influence of a (relatively) fair press?

    Maybe I need to drink more. Or less.

  4. justanotherusername says:

    “The footage shows no provocation by protesters, just police assaults.”

    Other footage might show no provocation by the police, just assaults by protesters. Edited footage like this proves nothing.

    Not that it matters. Even if there was police brutality, it’s very common at protest marches, no matter what it’s about. (Or is anybody really thinking that -in this case- the world leaders gave orders to the police to give these protest marchers a good beating?)

    The real bottom line is this: protest marches never have or will achieve anything.

  5. NM says:

    Civil disobedience is still disobedience.

  6. WalterBillington says:

    Good points.

    Last week with my elderly aunt, she protested against the G20 protests, as anarchic. I reminded her of the need for, in the absence of any clear message, the population to remind authority that we’re listening and watching. They’re not unguarded.

    Unfortunately, I don’t feel even that came out.

    Will someone please properly castigate Jacqui Smith?

  7. Takuan says:

    the protesters are the only ones making a difference.

  8. justanotherusername says:

    “Well, the police came PREPARED for violence, so that is to be expected no matter WHO started the violence.”

    What should they come prepared for? Pancakes?

  9. pecoto says:

    Grainy videos that show no real context with a mass of protesters pushing into a line of police, who push back the mass of protesters, rinse and repeat a few times. Both sides are swinging at each other occasionally. Lots of objects thrown at the police. A few people apparently had minor injuries and some minor possessions were lost. I really don’t see how the headline “Police beat the shit out of Peaceful Protestors” has anything to do with that video at all. I don’t see anyone getting the shit beat out of them….and I don’t see much peaceful protest. I see a lot of shoving and pushing on both sides. I saw worse fighting today at the school I work at.

  10. Takuan says:

    “protest marches never have or will achieve anything.” President Obama may feel otherwise.

  11. hadlock says:

    I like the quote from today’s NYT the best: “Onlookers were infuriated by the sight of police officers drawing blood as they swung their truncheons while guarding the bank, whose bailout by the government…”

    The accompanying picture with the article looks like it’ straight out of Trainspotting.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      The rather snippy NYT slideshow was titled “Protesters Fail to Bring Down Global Capitalism With Costumes, Puppets”. When I was a lad, we wore helmets and steel-toed boots to these things and kept a wet kerchief in a plastic bag in case of tear gas. If you’re going to a riot, you should at least be prepared for an altercation.

  12. bitman362 says:

    Won’t be long now before we start seeing ‘Fingermen’.

  13. KurtMac says:

    Prior to the shovefest, at 0:54 who in the video is yelling “Forward!”, the protesters or the cops? It sounds like a protester, and certainly the woman with the megaphone orders “move forward” a few times. Did they make the first move or was it a response to police actions? I don’t think that warrants getting a riot shield to the face, but the way the video edits we don’t know how it escalated to this point.

  14. WalterBillington says:

    Besides – it isn’t the police or protesters we should care about. They’re a side show.

    Be scared of this: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/324/5923/85

    When these feckers decide to reverse engineer humans and introduce killer viruses to do us in, that’s time to worry.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Yeah… the police did get violent at a few points, but it wasn’t a serious beatdown like I’ve seen in the past. And, despite all the chanting, that wasn’t even remotely a peaceful protest. Sure, it wasn’t Moltov Cocktail level, but I’d give good odds there have been more deaths from trampling by crowds than there have been by Moltov Cocktail. A more accurate headline might have been “Protesters push police, police shove back”.

  16. Dave Rattigan says:

    While researching senseless acts of violence today, I came across this video of two mindless young thugs in a violent and bloody altercation.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Clearly you’ve never had the shit beat out of you in the same, brtual way that I’ve been unfortunate enough to have done to me. There was some pushing in this protest. Pretty damn mellow on both sides though even though the police were pushing a little too much. Still just pushing.

  18. gracchus says:

    Gracchus, you may have your personal tastes in how you like your messages served, that however creates no obligation in others.

    Of course not. I’m just observing how consistenly ineffective and counter-productive and stupidly violent those others are. And I’m not arguing that street demonstrations in general are ineffective and counter-productive and stupidly violent — just the ones like this (and other summit protests).

    If you complain of incoherence in their complaints, it’s because you keep your fingers in your ears in the first place.

    Oh, rubbish. Like others here, I understand that there are fundamental problems with and severe internal contradictions within neoliberalism and current globalist-capitalist practises. I’d wager that most of the people criticising the protesters have a better and more fine-grained understanding of these issues than many of the protesters themselves.

    Re: the girl, I see you don’t understand why I posted it. Why not read it again?

    I guess I don’t understand your point, because all I see is an article that, shorn of the political tinsel, would be a typical weekend police blotter item. Why not give us the key graf that explains why you posted it?

  19. Simon Cameron says:

    I’ve talked with police officers who have served in these sorts of shield walls and from what I hear, it’s terrifying. You’re vastly outnumbered by the crowd, and even a grasping hand is a threat since if you’re pulled down or separated from the rest of your platoon you can be severely injured.

    Of course that doesn’t excuse their actions if they did begin beating the protesters unprovoked. My hunch is that they were ordered to push the protesters out of a certain space (potentially even for legitimate reasons) or to move elsewhere (note that in the video they were seen edging alongside the wall, and were resisted.

  20. Bumlooker says:

    No one is protecting us from the police.

    You are probably saying to yourself why would we need that?

    Answer, google “cop arrested “.

    Cops are just people with extraordinary power. Some good some bad. They are god and they know it.

    If you come in contact with the police, whether you know it or not your life is in there hands regardless of any wrong doing. They can plant drugs, they can lie about your actions and statements.

    Bottom line. DON’T PISS THEM OFF OR YOU ARE SCREWED.

  21. ikegently says:

    Unhappy about the insane wealth disparity in the world? Which is more effective: Breaking some windows and yelling at police or getting involved in the world of microfinance, for example. Global health issues? What about getting involved with organizations or companies that create distribution networks, find cost effective ways to distribute mosquito netting, etc. Or maybe yelling at the cops will solve the problems.

    Seriously. The world leaders are meeting to discuss solutions. What is it that the protesters are trying to say? That they don’t want the world leaders to meet? That they don’t want there to be any world leaders at all? When the destroy the banks and government, what happens then? We will still have to find ways to cost-effectively develop and manufacture HIV medications. We will still have to find ways for global institutions to hold war criminals accountable. We will still have to figure out how to grow developing economies without creating crippling inflation. The list of things to do is endless. Breaking windows and righteous yelling are not on the list.

  22. Takuan says:

    The item about the girl makes it clear that any demonizing of the general protesters (including “anarkiddie” smears) is just that. Any gathering of size will have some easy targets.

    Back to your “lack of message”. I see their messages clearly, why can’t you? Focus? tens of thousands of protesters with hundreds of valid individual reasons and you expect what? One slogan?
    You- and several others it seems – keep insisting this kind of protest is futile. What do you specifically suggest then that would be more effective? I think it’s quite effective. A line has been drawn which makes it implicit that further government motion in some directions will be met by raised stakes next time. No one in the streets guarantees mor of the unexamined same.

  23. presto says:

    #6 – You obey. It’s what almost all followers do best. Bow down. Praise the police. Don’t rock the boat. It’s not you that has to worry.

    And then finally they come for you as well.

    It’s okay to be in denial. I wish I had the luxury of being able to do the same. I respect your right to stick your head in the sand, but I probably won’t feel sorry for you and your kind when the world goes to hell in a hand basket.

  24. mokey says:

    man, if you don’t have a crew and a barricade, the best bet is to outmaneuver the cops. it’s pretty easy – they have lots of heavy gear and have to wait for orders to go anywhere. would you rather be stuck pressed against a skirmish line, or beating a retreat to greener pastures? they’re better armed, but we get to choose the battlegrounds. peaceniks just wanna get on TV, but the kids know what’s up.

  25. Chico Leo says:

    I am flabbergasted by this post. I am a longtime fan of Boing Boing and your look forward to your posts in general, Cory. I agree with you on political issues about 90 per cent of the time. But you’re really crying wolf here. You’re also disrespecting all of those who actually have gotten the shit beaten out of them by cops. Really.

    Absolutely nobody, not one person got the shit beaten out of them in this video. I’ve seen the photos of bloody people who obviously were beaten with truncheons. THAT is disgraceful, but that clearly had no relation to anything that went on in this video. These cops seemed remarkably tame as cops go. All they’re doing is pushing people back with their shields, people who are advancing on them. I have absolutely no idea what the context is, for example did the cops announce “stop advancing or we’ll push back with out shields” right before the video? Also notice that the cops are surrounded and outnumbered like 4 or 5 to 1 through most of the video. Many cops would start railing out and smacking people with sticks and kicking them and punching them. At no point did I see a cop hit anyone with a stick. I believe that there is fascist police stuff going on over there for sure. Just none in this video. Have you seen the civil rights videos? Have you seen what they did to people in Newark? in Detroit? in Watts?

    In NYC when you punch a cop, they stick a plunger up your ass and perforate your colon, if you’re black they can generally just shoot you if they want. What is in this video is nothing close to police brutality. As cops go, these guys were pretty restrained…

    When someone has the “shit beaten out of them” they are bloody and half concious at best. They have broken bones and punctured organs. They need a hospital. People who have the “shit beaten out of them” are often never the same again.

    You do the entire left a disservice by posting some tame shit like this and call it cops beating the shit out of people. It also makes you seem like a priviledged white liberal who is very out of touch with reality. I said SEEMS, I don’t believe that about you, but this post is pretty shocking in its bad spirited naivte. Surprising to say, and I do so with all due respect, but maybe you need to get out more…

  26. Jack says:

    @#13 POSTED BY SIMON CAMERON

    I’ve talked with police officers who have served in these sorts of shield walls and from what I hear, it’s terrifying.

    Can you imagine how terrifying it is to be simply protesting an event and then some organized group of folks with helmets, shields, billy clubs, mace and pepper spray came up to you?

    Seriously, this video has no context and can be debated but please don’t ever try to sell the idea that doing this is terrifying for a well-armed police officer.

    If you have power the only thing you should fear is your inability to control yourself.

  27. WalterBillington says:

    @148 thankyou! Any of you read Machiavelli? C’mon.

    And someone please please take me up on #128. It’s a real, authentic challenge. The anti-war march was excellent, I was in and doing my thing.

    Takuan, your usual wisdom is not shining through. These protesters are a shabby lot, and do not unite people behind them. A bunch of stoners.

    The world responded to MLK and would again – the point is – persuasion, passion, charm, charisma. People will follow you to merry hell with those qualities. But this bunch – pah! – had none of it.

    It was intriguing watching the City workers – like ‘em or not they’re sharp, street-wise, analytical, strategic, co-ordinated etc – respond to the protesters. The latter were well up for some argy-bargy, but the former handled themselves in a mercurial way and avoided virtually any confrontation (until some got pissed, and fought the police after throwing the bottles).

    As for #150 fascism – care with that, it’s a big word. The point is, when you need to make change, do it well, efficiently, effectively. If people see you huff and puff, throw your chest out and mumble, if they see you and think you’re dissipated and lacking in spirit, they’ll never follow you.

    “This is not a riot”. Oh, for pete’s sake, you’re in the national spotlight for 15 seconds, and you achieve something that’ll get written up by the local uni’s socialist party.

    Make effective change. I’ve been watching these “Action for Children” ads – now that, that seems to be a highly effective, focused and persuasive campaign.

    So ignoring this rabble in the City, as ineffectual, and going back to my points: monitor the players, know the game, engage, and get what you want.

    The protesters made NO difference – and will not within 12 months – send that to the predictions tracking guys, they can smoke it.

  28. Dedalus says:

    ive seen footage – where protesters are getting whacked in the face with billy-clubs – CLEARLY – but im also married to a british “cop” and i understand the concerns with “unruly crowds” in a metro-area —– so because i wasnt there – im torn – so torn it almost breaks my heart –

  29. bingobingo says:

    @ #119:

    Well said.

  30. BlackPanda says:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/apr/05/g20-protest-ian-tomlinson

    Can’t log in, for some reason. Hmm.

    Regardless, here is a Guardian report on the police allegedly beating the guy who died.

  31. Mike Scott says:

    The protesters were causing a serious obstruction on a major thoroughfare — as Cory is perfectly well aware, since he lives nearby. A protest cannot continue indefinitely under such circumstances, and police action to move the protesters away and clear the obstruction was justified. Nothing in the video looks like an unreasonable use of force for an outnumbered police force moving a large and hostile crowd. What surprises me is in the early stages, when the crowding is less dense, almost no one faced with an oncoming line of riot police with shields seemed to think it a good idea to simply turn around and walk away.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      The protesters were causing a serious obstruction on a major thoroughfare

      That’s sort of the idea. Renting a theater and serving ice cream and cake doesn’t get much media attention. Forcing the city center to grind to a halt does.

  32. JoshuaTerrell says:

    I would say the protestors demonstrated the brutality of the English police state, but hey, that would overturn your point now wouldn’t it.

  33. gracchus says:

    The item about the girl makes it clear that any demonizing of the general protesters (including “anarkiddie” smears) is just that. Any gathering of size will have some easy targets.

    So you’re saying that article is the Guardian‘s attempt to demonise the general protesters? That would seem odd, especially since they don’t demonise the general protesters.

    The Guardian staff wrote and edited the article, and you linked to it here to make some sort of point (still unclear). I subsequently made a comment on the nature of the accused described therein, noting that ignorant and violent Anarkiddies of the type describe always show up at these summit protests, and that after a decade the organisers still do nothing to prevent it (even when some of the Anarkiddies turn out to be agents provocateurs).

    President Obama may feel otherwise.

    President Obama can also distinguish between serious and determined protesters against Jim Crow on the one hand, and drunk 17-year-old girls and pyromaniac 21-year-old guys trying to impresss their friends on the other. I’m not so sure that you can — or want to.

    Back to your “lack of message”. I see their messages clearly, why can’t you? Focus?

    Again, “messages” (plural) — dozens of competing ones at any given protest site, most completely out of context. As I noted above, focus is a problem, but it’s a problem of the protest organisers, not their intended audience.

    You- and several others it seems – keep insisting this kind of protest is futile. What do you specifically suggest then that would be more effective?

    Really? Quote where I “keep insisting this kind of protest is futile” (if only to more clearly define what specific kind of protest I’m supposedly claiming is futile — perhaps the “drunk kid smashing windows” kind?).

    As to more effective: try this mass demonstration from 2006. That, Takuan, was an effective protest that got concrete results. As opposed to this G20 mass protest, which you think is…

    quite effective. A line has been drawn which makes it implicit that further government motion in some directions will be met by raised stakes next time.

    I’m sorry, but I had to laugh at the vagueness quotient in that last sentence. “A line has been drawn” (by what constituencies? specifying what substantive consequences if said line is crossed?) … “which makes it implicit” (this is a street protest — no need for “implying” anything) … “further government motion in some directions” (which government of the 20 represented? in what directions?) … “will be met by raised stakes next time” (let’s face it, the stakes haven’t been raised since 1999, if not earlier).

    I’m not against street protests, obviously. But there are effective ones, and then there’s what we saw in London this week.

  34. Moriarty says:

    “the protesters are the only ones making a difference.”

    Yup, they’re making a difference by making everyone watching a notch more sympathetic to authoritarianism, a notch easier to convince that the ones in power are the only ones with anything to offer but anger. That’s a difference, albeit an unfortunate one.

    At least the people they’re protesting are actually trying to do something constructive.

  35. Gilgongo says:

    Between 1995 and 1997 I was a member of the Legal Defence and Monitoring Group here in London.

    http://www.ldmg.org.uk/

    Perhaps its time we re-formed.

    Were were a band of volunteers mostly made up of trainee solicitors and civil rights campaigners. We were often invited by the organisers of demonstrations to monitor police behaviour during the event. I attended about 10 demonstrations in that time until the group was disbanded. Police tactics were pretty much the same then as they are today, as were other phenomena such as the presence of violent “extremists” and hoards of media photographers desparate to get pictures of “anarchists” being anarchic.

    We would typically have about 10-15 observers at along the march, taking notes of events at 5-10min intervals: recording “all quiet at 13:40″ is just as valuable as “13:45 Officer no.456 just hit Jane Doe over the head and has arrested her.”

    We provided sympathetic solicitors for defendants who were arrested, as well as independent corroboration for the circumstances of arrest. While nobody we helped actually sued the police, we did manage to calm the police down in many cases. However, from what I observed myself, most violence that happened during civil protests on the streets was either provoked in some way, or caused directly by the actions of the police. What we see today in London does not change my view.

  36. arilestariono says:

    I don’t understand why every cops around the world use forces, or is it they are tired mentally being yelled out and profanity words used by demonstrator?If it is so it’s normal cops use physical action to shut them down, if the demo were on peace then the authorities should kept cool

  37. JustDisGuy says:

    You know – it seems to me the thing to do is if you’re going to protest, do it wearing heavy clothing, a helmet and carrying a shield. There would be none of this 20 guys against a mob of hundreds if the playing field were leveled a bit.

  38. cinemajay says:

    Here’s what I gleaned from the video:

    –2/3 of it is too pixelated to tell what’s going on.

    –the 1/3 that is coherent and actually above the crowd shows both crowd and cops advancing

    –shoving doesn’t = a “beating the shit out of” someone; being down on the ground and getting a beat down = getting the shit beaten out of you. While some protesters are struck by cops with batons, it’s more of a beating back rather than a strike with full force. I’ve seen cops beat the shit out of someone–and talk about it afterwards–and believe me, there’s a difference between “get back” and “you are not getting back up.” From 50 feet away on a grainy video they might look similar, but they ain’t. I think Cory’s headline is hyperbole.

    –why the cops entered the area with already recalcitrant demonstrators, I’ll never guess. That seemed like a dumb idea to begin with. And being so outnumbered likely played a part in their quick-to-swing reaction.

    So what can we really expect from armed, adrenaline-fed cops and belligerent protesters? All in all, I guess I thought this was more subdued than it could have been. More of a pissing match that devolved into violence, yes, but not all out mayhem. Next to the Irish, these people are amateurs.

    @Anonymous, I won’t say that the St. Paul police at RNC didn’t use force. But it was nothing in the way of an all out brawl with ‘peaceful’ protesters. The sad fact was the majority of demonstrators were peaceful, but a very agitated and violent group of outsiders showed up to spoil the party. Those were the clips you saw on TV. Once that happened the police were less inclined to pull punches.

  39. heckblazer says:

    While the crowd wasn’t a riot, it sure didn’t look friendly. I didn’t see anyone I’d describe as getting the shit beaten out of them. In the early bits the police look to be swinging only when the crowd got too close, and later locked shields to push the crowd out. Lacking any of the larger context I couldn’t say whether or not the police should have tried to remove the crowd, but the cops on the ground seemed to be handling things reasonably well.

  40. Boba Fett Diop says:

    Watch the entire video. There appear to be two sets of cops in this video (in fact there were several different police forces involved in the G20 actions- the Met, City of London Police, I think even transit police of some sort). Each of these groups may have had different orders and even different chains of command. The ones in dark uniforms with transparent shields near the bottom of the screen seem to be somewhat better disciplined than the ones in the high visibility uniforms and opaque shields at the top, who may have gotten a little carried away.

    Early in the video, we see the high vis. cops advance towards the climate camp, apparently in an attempt to clear it, and a number of protesters getting up to block their way. Whether or not this would be considered non-violent resistance is up for debate, but at this point the officers in dark uniforms move their line forward as well. From that point on it starts to really kick off, with a mass of protesters surging towards the cops and the police closing their ranks. The ones in the dark uniforms take more of a defensive posture and appear pretty restrained throughout (although they certainly put in plenty of shoving with shields etc.). The high vis. cops near the top seem to get completely carried away, however. Here’s where we see batons being swung, as they surge forward into the demonstrators. In fact they surge so far forward that they get well ahead of their own lines and expose their left flank (had this been an actual riot, they would have been in danger of being cut off and encircled). I’m guessing that these were regular duty officers who had geared up for the day, and probably had less than adequate crowd control training.

    The climate camp (which had been relatively peaceful) was cleared that evening using riot sticks, CS and dogs.

    To all the posters who claim that this is what protesters should expect, remember that both the Bank of England demonstrators and the climate camp group had made their intentions clear several days before and received approval for their marches. In both instances, the “kettling” actions amounted to unlawful arrest and collective punishment, regardless of the actions of members within each group. During the “kettling” outside of the Bank of England, no attempt was made to separate or arrest those who may have actually committed offenses (in fact, a number of them were left outside the kettle). Instead, the police simply held the entire group without access to food, water or toilets, occasionally moving in to ratchet up the pressure. At the climate camp, the use of aggressive tactics to break up what had been a peaceful occupation goes even further beyond the pale.

    Regardless of how you feel about the protesters, their aims, individuals among the protesters, or the police, know this: these are your rights. The right to freely and peaceably assemble is a fundamental civil right. Places that don’t recognize this right tend to be dictatorships, absolute monarchies or theocracies.

    Ultimately, I think I agree with GREGLONDON@113- we’re entering one of those periods during which what we understand to be “normal” gets swept away, and the real relationships underneath become increasingly apparent (although I hesitate to make pronouncements of this sort for fear of getting bogged down in arguments about “false ideology” and the like). The City bankers who waved tenners at the protesters were absolutely right to do so- the protesters are directly opposed to their interests. These bankers and traders would like to continue making money and defrauding the public while being bailed out by a state that many of their corporate clients are actively trying to disassemble (for example, look into some of Barclay’s tax evasion schemes); and the protesters, whatever their other issues, would probably rather they didn’t.

    The government had an idea
    And parliament made it law
    It seems that it’s illegal
    To fight for the union any more

    So which side are you on boys, which side are you on?
    Which side are you on boys, which side are you on?

  41. Marja says:

    #14, #18.

    I wasn’t in London today, but I have been attacked by rioting cops. They charged the crowd. I was knocked down. I was grabbed and tortured…

    I don’t have much sympathy for rioting cops feeling afraid when they attack people.

  42. Takuan says:

    so where is your measure of “effectiveness” you apply to dismiss the G20 events? How do you know how ineffective they were in accomplishing their goals? Do you have a private line to the UK government?

  43. Jack says:

    @#24 POSTED BY ANTINOUS / MODERATOR

    Renting a theater and serving ice cream and cake doesn’t get much media attention.

    Riot, schmiot where is the theater that serves ice cream and cake? NOW!

  44. Gutierrez says:

    The company I work for has a office in London right next to the Royal Bank of Scotland building. After bottom floor windows were smashed in and their walk to work was met with threats (we’re a custom web software shop, not a bank), they decided not to go into work today.

  45. benher says:

    Totally disgraceful and totally indefensible.

  46. hexayurt says:

    I was actually at this thing. I left the Kettle area a few minutes before exit became impossible, so I didn’t see the worst of it, but from what I saw the policing was distinctly paramilitary in style and attitude, but I haven’t heard reports of serious violence even from hardcore protesters.

    The main issue seems to be the entirely bizarre UK law which permits police to prevent you from leaving an area for *hours* without a formal arrest. You’re not guilty of any crime, you’re just not allowed to leave the area. Er… what? I’m not free to leave, I’m not under arrest, I’m _where?_

    The law is an ass. I’m strongly thinking that if they keep this stuff up over the summer, the most important thing to bring to demonstrations where one might get trapped is toilet paper.

  47. Anonymous says:

    The throat singers make an especially surreal accompaniment to this video.

    I also particularly like my captcha:

    situation deter

  48. gracchus says:

    so where is your measure of “effectiveness” you apply to dismiss the G20 events?

    Demonstrating united and coherent and vocal mass opposition to specific proposals being discussed at the summit/protest venues (e.g. more bailouts of insolvent banks, carbon-cap market approaches) to the general, non-activist citizenry of the participating countries and their elected representatives. Effectiveness as in acknowledging and then hacking the barriers erected by the government and the MSM to getting those messages across, instead of playing into their hands as they have time and time again over the past decade.

    so where is your measure of “effectiveness” you apply to dismiss the G20 events?

    I dismiss them as ineffective because the protests were disunited, unfocused, and incoherent, with protests of specific summit proposals buried in a sea of left-wing hobbyhorse causes. At the very least, this was an opportunity to point out the elephants in the room that the G20 leaders won’t acknowledge (and to do so without violence), but as usual the organisers of the demos blew it.

    I gave you an example of an effective protest. I’ll leave it to you to compare and contrast.

    Do you have a private line to the UK government?

    It wasn’t a G1 summit, Takuan, it was a G20 summit. Some protesters understood that, some didn’t (and some were more concerned with protesting the local police than anything else). That right there is one of the major problems with how the protests were organised.

  49. Mike Scott says:

    #24 While it’s perfectly true that protesters committing criminal offences get more media attention, that doesn’t justify the crimes, and it certainly doesn’t mean that the police should permit the crimes to occur. And causing an obstruction is a crime under UK law, which is why most legitimate protests are marches.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      While it’s perfectly true that protesters committing criminal offences get more media attention, that doesn’t justify the crimes, and it certainly doesn’t mean that the police should permit the crimes to occur. And causing an obstruction is a crime under UK law, which is why most legitimate protests are marches.

      Picking your nose without a license is a criminal offense in the UK at this point. Using the word ‘crime’ to describe blocking traffic is propagandistic or hyperbolic, your choice.

  50. sleipnir214 says:

    “beating the shit”
    “peaceful protesters”

    Nope, not even close.

    Go to 1:40 in the video and watch carefully. You will see one protester with his hands at one cop’s throat.

    Then watch the corner of the blue wall at the top of the frame, just screen left of center. You’ll seen two protesters (one a blonde just around the corner of the blue wall the other a dark-haired man just to the screen left of the blonde) trying to pull a cop off his feet and kick him. (The blonde is doing the pulling, the dark-haired one kicking). That’s when you see a second cop come to the aid of the first by swinging his baton. I don’t think the baton actually connects with anyone. At 1:45, you’ll see that the blond and the dark-haired person are working together: they exchange a glance before the blonde ostentatiously holds his hands in the air like a good peaceful protester.

    At about 1:49 you’ll see a cop (at the top of the screen, just screen right of center) poke with his baton either 4 or 5 times, then hit the hand of a protester that had grabbed another officer’s shield.

    There are one or two swings of batons in a couple of other places and a protester throwing some kind of liquid on the cops at 2:28, but for the most part it is a shoving match. One interesting interlude takes place at 4:30 at the bottom of the frame: it looks to me like the cop is having a bit of a chat with two women.

    Frankly, I’ve seen more blood spilled at a intercollegiate rugby match. It’s certainly far from beating the shit out of anyone.

    The video is extensively edited and seems to me to use the video of possibly three cameras. Before anyone can make any kind of classification of the behavior of anyone, be it cop or protester, he would need to see the raw feeds. After all, a good editor (not that this one was particularly good) can make a person see anything he wants — Hitchcock had millions convinced they had seen things that never happened in the shower scene of “Psycho”.

  51. adamnvillani says:

    “the protesters are the only ones making a difference.”

    What difference are they making? And how is that more of a difference than the actual participants in G20 were trying to make?

    I still have yet to see a coherent explanation of what these people were really protesting. What did they hope to achieve? How did this protest help them to achieve it?

    The protesters may feel that many things are wrong in this world (and may have correctly identified some of them), have felt compelled to take action (this in itself is a good thing), but they’ve failed in taking action that could be reasonably expected to make any kind of constructive change. They’re just angry and they want people to see that they’re angry. Great. Now what do they want the G20 policymakers to do about it? How is this a dialogue?

  52. lightbender says:

    “You do the entire left a disservice by posting some tame shit like this and call it cops beating the shit out of people. It also makes you seem like a privileged white liberal who is very out of touch with reality. I said SEEMS, I don’t believe that about you, but this post is pretty shocking in its bad spirited naivete. Surprising to say, and I do so with all due respect, but maybe you need to get out more…”

    Let’s face it, if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck… it’s probably a _ _ _ _.

  53. mortis says:

    from the looks of most of the protesters, i assumed the cops were simply trying to direct them to a facility to bathe.

    i see why they keep protesting tho…it’s such an incredibly effective tool to get real change. *GIANT ROLLSEYES HERE*

  54. FFBSU says:

    Ok…so maybe I’m the dense one but if I was in a pack of about 20 with my back against a wall and I was being pushed/advanced upon by literally hundreds if not thousands of people…I would probably push back—possibly even quite forcefully. Doesn’t matter if the protesters were being “non-violent”, I doubt I would allow myself to be crushed by throngs of people.

  55. Takuan says:

    in that the vast bulk of the protesters were from the UK and event was held in the UK, I think it is safe to assume the main recipient of the messages was the UK government. Though you can bet the other nations noticed the protest and are thinking of their own constituents now.

    Back to focus; the various governments already know very well what the people are angry about. The only question in their mind is “how angry are they? how much further can we push things?” I would say they are very angry and getting more so.

  56. Takuan says:

    look at the state the UK is in now. How did it get that way? Look ahead a year and think what is coming. Does voting change anything? Did it? What will happen if everyone just carries on and keeps quiet and doesn’t make waves? What message does silence from the people send to government?

    Violence can make change. No guarantee of it, or that the change will be good, but only a fool denies the power of violence. Do the people of the UK NEED to use violence? How about the threat of violence? Want the government to listen and stop doing hostile, destructive things to the people like destroying their civil liberties? One way is to show the potential for violence – not necessarily exercising it.

    Do you understand that a sword in a scabbard is the best form of violence? You know it is there, the other knows it is there, and both act accordingly. With intelligent people, the thought of a sword is enough, but alas, must government is not notable for its intelligence. Really all they are good for is getting and keeping power

    The government must fear the people. If that means that some must stand up in the streets in great enough numbers to make a credible threat to the power of government, then so be it. Far better if no blood is spilled at all, but if the government does not believe in its deepest heart that there WILL be uprising if abuses go too far, then violence becomes inescapable.

  57. Geist der Stets Verneint says:

    Fascists hate high-fives,

    Every time you high-five someone, somewhere a fascist dies.

    Fight fascism- bring the high-five back.

  58. WalterBillington says:

    @119 thanks that’s where I was headed.

    Another general issue is the comparative uselessness of organisations aiming to help people.

    A friend of mine was a hotshot lawyer at a big City firm, but felt his capabilities were misdirected and misused. Took himself out of that, into a legal + human rights LLM (Masters of Law), all paid for by his good self, and then started to work with a charitable legal organisation helping prisoners and suchlike.

    This fella was and is one of the nicest people on the planet.

    Within 3 months, he was looking for the exit. He found vanity, preening, weening, whingeing and egos in the way. Uselessness, dope aplenty, laziness and sheer incompetence. But, pride, pride, pride at their presence in the organisation.

    Smart guy, he reckoned most people there were just as smart as the people in his City law firm, but had nowhere near the drive in their mission, nor the energy to do it. Stay late? Nah. Work hard? Nah. This is a charity.

    He was so upset, so angry at this waste of resource – he said though it did something, just nothing it could have done had the collective effort and ability been focused – he had to leave. He could not stand it.

    It sticks with me. What a shame. But I’m so unsurprised.

    I abhor violence, poverty, abuse, all of this. Even more, I deplore laziness and waste.

    Generally – BB Civlib is good, raises issues for awareness. But readers of the Daily Mail … probably won’t see it!

  59. Lonin says:

    Picking your nose without a license is a criminal offense in the UK at this point. Using the word ‘crime’ to describe blocking traffic is propagandistic or hyperbolic, your choice.

    So citing a reasonable law is “propagandistic or hyperbolic,” but a headline stating “cops [are] beating the shit out of peaceful G20 demonstrators,” despite the video evidence linked not supporting either claim, is a fair and neutral description of the events that transpired?

    Look, many cops are assholes and bring a lot of the negative attitudes people have towards them on themselves. That being said, a lot of people who aren’t cops are also assholes that bring crap down upon themselves.

    I think some people are seeing what they want to see in this video. Let’s leave the confirmation bias to the right-wing blowhards.

  60. Jonathan Badger says:

    Oh, please. Getting the police to react is the whole point of holding a protest, because it gets media attention. And in turn, the riot police need protests to justify their existance. The whole thing is street theater on both sides.

  61. mightymouse1584 says:

    @#119

    absolutely. keep a level head and move forward.

  62. Antinous / Moderator says:

    The whole thing is street theater on both sides.

    More like No Exit than Henry V.

  63. iamanumlaut says:

    Cory, could you post examples from the video of what you considered to be extreme violence?

    Not trying to incite, just trying to understand.

  64. Kieran O'Neill says:

    From the climate camp website (which I’ve already linked):

    “The Camp was located outside the European Climate Exchange on Bishopsgate, to protest against the G20′s plans to use deeply flawed carbon trading mechanisms to tackle climate change.”

    There’s no way that’s just a bunch of confused protesters with no idea of what they’re protesting. That is a very specific protest about a fairly intricate point of the policies being discussed at the G20.

  65. stas59 says:

    What has saddened me about this, beyond the death of one of the protestors, is the dismissive reporting of the protestors’ anti-capitalist stance. Even here in Australia, our version of the Beeb the ABC reported the protests with a clearly dismissive subtext.

    The system collapses under the weight of its own greed and sociopathic opportunism and still we demonise those who have the conviction to imagine a different way.

  66. Grumblefish says:

    Those saying that both sides are pushing – the police are clearly pushing more.

    Either that, or that construction site didn’t like the look of what was going on and decided to slide off.

  67. mdh says:

    What difference are they making?

    Abuse affects the abuser too.

  68. Denm says:

    As much as I love this site, I have to say, writing a sensationalist headline and suggesting that those police officers were doing anything wrong is just silliness. Those protesters were throwing things, and pushing on the police line and completely surrounding them in a very hostile manner. I don’t care what country you’re from, if you push or throw something at a cop it’s assaulting a police officer and you should go to jail for it. Their are plenty of ways to get a point accross, but assaulting a cop is not a legitimate one. A previous poster hit the nail on the head when he commented that most of these people haven’t the slightest clue what they’re actually protesting, they’re just yelling into the wind to hear themselves yell, and I wouldn’t be suprised in the least, if a good number if not most of them had actually participated in some of the previous days destrustion. “Hey I know, they’re getting rich by wasting our money, lets senselessly break some more stuff so they have to waste more money replacing the things we destryed while ‘protesting’”.

  69. jamescoleuk says:

    You cannot report on an event like this with the tacit assumption that police do what they do because they’re facist thugs. Why were they pushing forward? Has anyone asked? Doesn’t this make a difference?

    This superficial reading of the event is indistinguishable from the sort of reporting you’d find in the Daily Mail.

    This isn’t just a funny internet video, it’s important and I want quotes and analysis not this one-sided crap.

  70. mennonot says:

    I think what we’re seeing here is the emergence of a new and effective tactic for responding to attacks by riot police:

    1. stand your ground
    2. put your arms in the air
    3. chant “This is not a riot”

    It’s usefully self-aware and, to the extent that it is used by the whole crowd in a disciplined way, it is self-fulfilling:

    http://young.anabaptistradicals.org/2009/04/03/this-is-not-a-riot-an-effective-nonviolent-response-to-attacks-by-riot-police/

  71. adamnvillani says:

    if the government does not believe in its deepest heart that there WILL be uprising if abuses go too far, then violence becomes inescapable.

    What abuses, specifically, are these people protesting?

  72. Dedalus says:

    if i hadnt seen very clear video of POLICE OFFICERS whacking the shape out of the face of DEMONSTRATORS – I wouldnt have an issue ——– but i don’t care who you are – why are you people trying to down-play the tension that was going on here – wtf – if im the only one that sees what is going on then i will step back and shut up ———– but i wont do this happily – - – Dedalus

  73. Kieran O'Neill says:

    For context, this was the climate camp, an entirely peaceful, and statically located protest. That line of bunting marking the division between police and protesters at the beginning of the video was the border of the camp. At the start, people were just trying to stop the police trampling all over their tents and belongings, by standing up and forming a barrier. (At this point, the police were also walking around randomly arresting individuals.) From what I could glean from various twitter feeds, the police came back somewhat later, in far greater force, and used dogs to herd some of the protestors into another “kettle”. They then baton charged the camp itself, a second time, this time dismantling it.

    There were also tweets about police wanting to let each protester out individually, so they could photograph and possibly ID every one, as well as threats from the police to force people to delete all photos of police officers from their phones. I would guess that this was regarded as “being reasonable”, and that the baton charge followed after the protesters “refused to see sense”.

    As for the violence, I see plenty of beating with batons, as well as people being hit in the face with both the front and the edge of riot shields. Sure, the beatings could’ve been worse, but it’s still a bunch of armed and armoured police beating and trampling on a bunch of unarmed hippies with their hands in the air.

    I’m just glad this got filmed, and that there were so many people tweeting about the action as it happened. I’m pretty sure this kind of police violence is fairly standard practice, even in the U.S., but with the rise of networked mobile phones with audio and video recording capability, it’s possible to capture it.

  74. FFBSU says:

    For people commenting that the “police were pushing more”…uh, what’s the cop to protester ratio here? Would I have to push harder to fend off 5 guys than they would to advance on me?

  75. Greeny says:

    I can’t see too much ultra-violence or pumped-up cops getting out of control here. But it is VERY worrying that a peaceful protest is getting dealt with by riot police in battle formation. It’s sad that this could never have happened before 9/11. The anti-terrorism laws – as a lot of people predicted – have allowed this gradual slide into total government control – allowing them to excercise their ‘authority’ without reproach, protest, or being accountable in any way. I hear the had ‘snatch squads’ on the street last week looking for the people who smashed some windows in the city. Funny… all that resource, time and money protecting the very people who have pulled the rug out from under our feet.

  76. Simon Cameron says:

    @GregLondon

    “And then there are some absolute fking morons posting on BB (and the world) who can’t quite seem to grasp who exactly works for whom when it comes to people versus state. For those who have an infantile infatuation with authority, and think the simple act of protesting the state is sufficient grounds for the state to enforce compliance, your mindless deference to authority will be appreciated by all those who use “I was just following orders” as a defense for immoral action.”

    The police work for the people, but they work for ALL the people. For ever person at the G20 protesting the environment, or globalization or who the hell knows what, there are 100 people at home just wishing they could go to work and hoping they will find their shop’s windows unbroken. Don’t be so quick to assume that their isn’t popular support for law and order.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      For ever person at the G20 protesting the environment, or globalization or who the hell knows what, there are 100 people at home just wishing they could go to work and hoping they will find their shop’s windows unbroken.

      That’s true for every political change in history. If a small number of squeaky wheels didn’t kick up some shit occasionally, we’d still be slaves to some warrior/god/king.

  77. tw15 says:

    Your headline is disingenuous when BBC TV News was yesterday showing footage of protesters “helmeting up”, smashing in a bank window (and reportedly trying to set it alight) and trying to break through the police lines.

    There are, what, 21 policemen backed up against a wall in this clip, and how many protesters surrounding them?

  78. Simon Cameron says:

    @Antonious
    “Picking your nose without a license is a criminal offense in the UK at this point. Using the word ‘crime’ to describe blocking traffic is propagandistic or hyperbolic, your choice.”

    Is this comment meant to be ironic? Because it’s hilarious.

  79. Dedalus says:

    i dont want to say it – but – does anyone understand what was really being protested?????? on a global scale?????? anyone?????? fuck

  80. Dedalus says:

    and in response – - – to my own post —— i think the police used necessary force – and prevented a major riot ——— think about that –

    really think about it

  81. QuidiVidi says:

    Has any of these protests actually changed anything?

    The “Battle in Seattle”, the protests in Quebec City, etc, etc…

    Has there been anything accomplished other then a few people getting an adrenaline rush?

    Sometimes I think there are those who treat it more like an Extreme Sport then an attempt to “do” something.

    It always seems to be so damned ineffective. What’s the point? There’s gotta be a better way to change things

  82. Takuan says:

    have you been paying any attention at all what happens to people in the UK who look brown,take pictures on the streets, talk back to bully cops and now try to make a living in an economy that is teetering on the brink after decades of being run to the benefit of the few?

  83. Dedalus says:

    thats why it breaks my heart

  84. Kieran O'Neill says:

    Photos of the camp can be found at the site I linked above, or by doing a quick Flickr search. They had quite a thing going there, with toilets, a kitchen, seminars, musical and theatrical performances – all organised flashmob style in the middle of the street.

    It’s also worth watching the related videos on Indymedia. In this one, a few of the cops have the decency to actually look ashamed when the crowd starts chanting “shame on you”.

  85. Ugly Canuck says:

    Peace, order and good government.
    The three legs of the stable tripod of civil society.
    Can’t let any one of those legs get too short, or the thing will become unstable, and tip over.
    IMO people protesting on the streets ought to be protesting something, but OTOH what’s wrong with occasionally upsetting the apple cart just to see which way the apples will roll?
    I mean, didn’t Rotterdam used to have annual new years’ day riots & tumults in the working class section of town, seemingly just for the hell of it?
    Personally, I think a little political strife on the streets serves to display a people’s spirits.
    It’s actually kind of good to see, regardless of the issues being protested.
    I take it as a sign of general social and political vigor.

  86. DanC says:

    It seems to me this “kettle” tactic is completely based on the assumption that the protesters in question will not get physically violent against the police. If you thought they might become seriously violent, taking away any possibility of retreat from them is the stupidest thing you can do.

  87. Takuan says:

    to any who question whether protest works: take five minutes and imagine what governments would be like if no one ever did. Think about it. Maybe visit Pyongyang.

  88. Kieran O'Neill says:

    Hmmm – Dedalus: As to what this particular facet of the overall protests was about, the name “climate camp” is a big hint.

    And watch the other videos. There’s a point where the police are dragging people’s bicycles away, and one guy is getting pretty worked up about it. Another protester says to him “keep it peaceful – no violence”, and calms him down.

    This was anything but a riot, and no amount of force should have been necessary.

  89. Simon Cameron says:

    “This is not a bank-robbery. This is not a bank-robbery…”

  90. willesh says:

    I couldn’t agree more with no.17 Chico Leo.

    This a terrible example of a genuine problem.

    That was not excessive force.

  91. Kieran O'Neill says:

    Neither was it a bank robbery when a select few anarchists smashed up that RBS branch (although I’m sure you’re implying that). And, as Cory pointed out right at the start, that was in a different crowd, half a mile away, and had absolutely no bearing on the police treatment of the climate camp.

  92. Dedalus says:

    ur right —- keep making that point –

  93. Dedalus says:

    it doesnt change the fact that my heart is broken

  94. WalterBillington says:

    Good footage. Looks like the police haven’t had a decent riot in years, need a bit of practice doing kung-fu poke sticks and wielding the edges of swords. I bet they’re always surprised when the crowd doesn’t dissipate and vanish like they do in training.

    That said, with zero context it’s unclear why they’re moving in, or whether they needed to. I’d like some commentary on the events. Certainly the climate camp was peaceful.

    The film is annoyingly interspersed with Gordon / cars etc – not necessary, amateur, and dilutes the persuasive message that the pure content of the footage contains. It makes it look like propaganda from the other side – and we all know not to trust propaganda.

    I think the protesters need to unite more people behind the cause. I look at MLK and his successes.

  95. Kieran O'Neill says:

    @#51 Simon Cameron: Or, put another way, and as (non-destructively using chalk) graffitied onto the pavement at the protest:

    “What’s the robbing of a bank compared to the founding of a bank?”
    -Bertolt Brecht ;)

  96. Dedalus says:

    there is other footage of this event – lots in fact

  97. mdh says:

    denm,

    Is it neccesarry, or is it silly ** , for the police to be where they were?

    ** – in a free country

  98. penjuin says:

    um, regardless of whether or not this was justified, yelling out that “this is not a riot” is not adequate justification. If I was robbing a bank and I yelled out “I’m not robbing this bank!” should security let me go ?

  99. Spork says:

    I don’t see anything in that video that worries me. The protesters were clearly up for a bit of (peaceful) “in yer face” with the plod, you can hear one of them yelling “forward, forward” at 1:03.

    Once the two lines square off, there’s a bit of pushing and shoving, but most (although not all) of the police keep their cool and use the shield instead of the baton. I certainly didn’t see anyone getting “beaten the shit out of”. Given how much Hollywood-style cartoon violence people are happy to call entertainment, i’m always surprised at a lot of people’s shocked reaction to seeing the real thing.

    These protesters aren’t stupid. Their objective is to create news. Some of them will be quite happy to be provocative and take some facial lumps to get a good clip onto the net. It takes a certain amount of conviction (or a good numerical superiority) to have the guts to square off against riot police. If they’re prepared to put themselves in harm’s way, why feign outrage when the entirely predictable happens?

    For a site that’s supposed to be media-savvy, this inflammatory headline shows a lot of naiveté, Boing Boing. This was a staged event, with an agenda to push.

  100. Takuan says:

    the police are SUPPOSED to work for all the people. Many of them need to be sat down and slapped until they understand they are not jailers, they are not soldiers and they sure as hell aren’t hired goons.

  101. Dave Rattigan says:

    “London cops beating the shit out of peaceful G20 demonstrators”?

    I agree the protesters seemed peaceful, and the police seemed unnecessarily agressive, but I watched the video twice and apart from a few swings of a truncheon that didn’t seem to accomplish much, I was at a loss to find anything that looked like cops “beating the shit out of” demonstrators.

    Headline fail.

  102. Takuan says:

    that the best you got?

  103. smarjoram says:

    It really doesn’t show what the headline suggests – I was expecting the kind of clips you often see from abroad. The shoving seemed pretty much even. Things that stood out for me were the shouts of “forward, forward” and the cowards behind shoving the front rows into the police.

    I wonder if the protest would have been much more effective if they had just put their arms up and not said or done anything. If the police had continued to push them about then it would have looked much more heavy handed.

  104. Anonymous says:

    http://g20police.wordpress.com/
    This is a set of accounts by people who were at climate camp. One of them is mine.
    The video shows a charge at people who were already surrounded on three sides. Before that charge, the atmosphere was more Glastonbury than a riot, people were sitting round eating baked potatoes.
    This is a BBC account of Climate Camp, they seem to have left at 7pm, just a few minutes before the initial baton charge http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7977863.stm
    They describe a friendly, peaceful camp. We had told the police we would stay 24 hours then leave in good order – we even had litter-picking and recycling teams.

  105. Boba Fett Diop says:

    The really disappointing thing about these events is that they stand in sharp contrast to the anti-war protests in 2003. I was in London at the start of the war and took part in the protests there, and I have never been in as large a group of people in my life. It was breathtaking. One of the really positive things about it was how cool the cops were (as opposed to Chicago or New York where my friends were getting arrested in similar protests). During both marches I was on, we would occasionally see one or two PCs along the route in their standard uniform. That was it. Of course there were a million people out on the street then, as opposed to 10,000 or so this week. While the demonstrations didn’t stop the war, at least it showed Tony Blair that he no longer had the mandate of the people on this matter.

    It’s funny how those protests elicited such a restrained response, and these ones such an aggressive one. Maybe more protesters should have carried signs reading “HOW’S YOUR PENSION FUND, CONSTABLE?”.

    Well you can’t trust the specials like the old-time coppers when you can’t find your way home

  106. Anonymous says:

    Who watches the Watchmen?

    At least no one was arrested for taking pictures of the demonstration/riot.

  107. owenblacker says:

    Welcome to how anti-establishment demonstrations are routinely policed in the UK. And there won’t even be an admission of wrongdoing by the police, even to hang the thugs out to prove that not all of our cops are like that. The government will — yet again — blame peaceful protesters (or at best “a minority of protesters hell-bent on causing trouble”) for everything and defend the ridiculous overpolicing and the inevitable violence that causes.

    I went out to a classical music concert after work on Wednesday (jeez, when did I become that middle class?!) and came directly home through Liverpool Street. To be clear, I wasn’t involved in any protesting at any point. I got to Liverpool St station around the same time as the riot police, who weren’t going to let a complete lack of protesters prevent them from justifying their overtime. After closing all entrances to the station from Bishopsgate and closing local businesses (such as KFC, where I was), with a couple of people bleeding from the head (presumably from some earlier altercations with police) a row of riot police baton charged fleeing commuters.

    I saw a dog-handling policeman behind the gates to the station entrance punch a commuter who was just trying (albeit at raised voice) to find out who to get into the station.

    Whilst I can understand what Dedalus means when they say (in comment #19) they’re torn and I’m sure that their spouse is a lovely cop. I do understand that plenty of our police are genuinely people doing a job that leaves them reviled by sections of the community; I wouldn’t want to swap jobs for any reason.

    But I find it very difficult to have much sympathy for police injured in the disorder earlier this week. Police tactics — pticly “kettling”, where they pen groups of protesters in for several hours in a confined space, usually a single road junction — are directly responsible for the violence that breaks out.

    I know several people who were protesting earlier in the week. Whilst I think their protests weren’t necessarily all that constructive or going to make much of a difference (though everything I’ve read about Climate Camp makes it sound like a wonderful protest), we have a legal right to peaceful protest in the UK. The government and the police routinely prevent citizens from exercising that legal right.

    New Labour has continued the Tories’ attempts to minimise and criminalise legitimate dissent and this is a prime example of that. But we’re not a police state, no, of course.

  108. 13strong says:

    PENJUIN:

    Except it wasn’t a riot. So your comparison kind of falls apart.

    Regardless, that’s a stupidly inflammatory headline. What we see in that video, while frustrating and unjustified, is pretty standard police behaviour at these kinds of events.

    In 2001, during the May Day march, I was trapped by the police in Oxford Circus in London for 8 or 9 hours, for absolutely no reason. Eventually the police let us go, and attempted to take photos of everyone’s faces as we filed out.

    That day there was a similar kind of kettling, pushing and shoving between police and protesters, but the real outrage of the day was that a few hundred people were held for 8 or 9 hours with no charges brought against us, almost no communication with the police, and with no access to food, water or toilet facilities (and there were small children in the crowd, too).

    Similarly, the outrage at the Climate Camp in London yesterday was not this relatively mild aggression by the police, but the fact that they felt it necessary to handle a peaceful protest in such a way at all.

  109. Takuan says:

    @196 that would be a product of Montreal’s Just for Laughs gags, neh?

  110. BlackPanda says:

    Speaking to some of the people who got back last night, they report a lot of completely unprovoked violence, use of gas and a baton charge against the climate section of the protest, and then rounding up a large group of people and refusing to let any of them leave until after 8pm.

    I agree that this video is not representative of any of that.

  111. JazzyJebus says:

    Very very VERY few of you know what you are talking about, and that maybe fair enough from a video that shows very little of what was actually happening.

    That protest was organised with local MP and police commisioners approval days before hand and had been organised for weeks.

    The headline in this sense is in every bit correct as I was there, a long with people I know and people did get the shit beaten out of them, some of them in that video as well which I can see clearly through eyes that know what happened. Also this did not just happen at climate camp, but all over the bank district, with people with their hands in the air getting beaten down with batons for sole reason of being infront of a police officer as they tried tighten a “kettle”.

    It was a completely peaceful protest from start to finish where tents were set up on the road and music and dancing took place, police moved in to disperse using horribly overly-aggressive tactics as seen by everyone there.

    Protesters pushing back? Of course they are pushing back! ITS A KETTLE! the police are coming from the north and south and pushing in, the protesters have nowhere to go as theirs more people and tents behind them and when they fall back onto the police they are beaten with shields and batons. Of course the police are moving INTO the protesters thats fairly obvious from the fact that the space they occupy is getting smaller and smaller.

    A man died in a police kettle on Wednesday, nothing is being said about police tactics and nothing is being done in mainstream media, except maybe a few articles in the guardian. Well done Corey for getting the word out there, justice needs to be served.

    The tactics of the protesters can be seen here: http://london.indymedia.org.uk/videos/1016

    Eyewitness accounts of man who died:
    http://london.indymedia.org.uk/videos/1023

  112. Anonymous says:

    as a brit, and someone who lived through the miners strike of the 80s i find this quite mild by comparison. check out the ‘battle of orgreave’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Orgreave to see the worst of what can hapopen when police are used as weapons of the government rather than servants of the state.

    This looks to be an overall lack of coordination rather than a determined effort to break the protest or incite violence, but all brits should recall that these kind of confrontations are hardley new and our cousins across the pond shouldnt be so fearful. its as much a part of protest culture as banners, flowers in rifles, and performance art.

  113. failix says:

    @Kevitivity:

    One wonders why the fuck you even read BB.

  114. sworm says:

    Political power grows out of the barrel of the gun, it comes from the masses.

    Not from some privilidged white kids having a fun day out and bragging about how they beat and got beat by the fuzz.

  115. Greeny says:

    The Met are beginning to remind me of the Gorillas in ‘Planet of the Apes’… limited intelligence, with an attack / shoot on sight policy. All under orders of course.

  116. SamSam says:

    @kevitivity: OMG, UR RIGHT! BoingBoing must by Communist! Call McCarthy!

  117. caffeine addict says:

    Bloody Hell Cory… was that really the best footage you could find of police brutality?

    I have no idea what happened elsewhere (and it’s irrelevant to this post) but this is clearly not evidence of police beating the crap out of anyone.

    With some creative editing, fast blurry panning and interspersed 3rd party footage (to add ‘context’) I could make a day at Tesco look more like police brutality than that…

  118. 13strong says:

    That’s an interesting link, JACOBIAN, but it’s inaccurate, without more information, to claim that the police were responsible for the death of that man.

    Thanks for the link, though.

  119. george57l says:

    A bit off-topic – but in respect of the much discussed elsewhere “kettling”…

    It may be a naive question but what would happen if, stuck in side the kettle, you ask a policeman in the front line for his badge number and then tell him that unless he either arrests you or lets you leave the area immediately you will after the event pursue an action against him personally for false imprisonment/kidnapping. Repeat with next policeman in line, and so on.

    I am surprised none of the many people posting all over the interwebs about being in that kettle at the Bank of England have yet talked about pursuing such a course – clearly theye were falsely imprisoned under UK law. (??)

  120. Moriarty says:

    “That’s true for every political change in history. If a small number of squeaky wheels didn’t kick up some shit occasionally, we’d still be slaves to some warrior/god/king. ”

    It’s true that you have to break some eggs to make an omelet, but these people have apparently never heard of the “making an omelet” part.

    And while it’s true that every change in society begins with a few individuals, none are ever accomplished without the consent of the majority. That includes both nonviolent and violent methods.

    If you have something to say, talk. If not, go home, and let the grownups work to build something better.

  121. aleala says:

    I’m sorry, I call bullshit. I’ve been at some of the protests and while I have seen police out of hand, I have yet to see them as out of hand as I have seen some protesters.

    Either way, this video shows nothing. Oh no, pushing. Who outnumbers who here?

    Half the protests that have gone on are pure bullshit. Who are you protesting exactly? G20 leaders? The fact that the G20 is being held in London? UK government? London local government? The police? Generically ‘the man’ (very teenage, lovely)? Please, get some perspective, there are better ways to go about it…

  122. adamnvillani says:

    have you been paying any attention at all what happens to people in the UK who look brown,take pictures on the streets, talk back to bully cops and now try to make a living in an economy…

    Yes, I have. Is that what they were protesting? I looked at a few of the videos and didn’t see anything at all regarding looking brown or taking pictures.

    It was a bit difficult to glean what was being protested in the videos posted to Indymedia because the camerawork and editing was geared more to just showing people and impressions rather than trying to explain what they were doing or even showing their signs from the front. The one sign I could read from the Climate Camp said “Farmers Markets not Carbon Markets,” which strikes me as a counterproductive thing to advocate. I have nothing against farmers’ markets, but carbon markets would be an excellent way to cut down on CO2 emissions.

    Another video showed a march that prominently displayed a big sign saying “Capitalism isn’t Working” and ended with a chant of “Put People First,” which is an interesting sentiment that can be interpreted in any number of ways depending on the sentiments of “the people.” I can’t speak for the UK, but in the US, at least, the number of people supporting an economic system besides capitalism is very small indeed.

    I suppose the banner could be interpreted to mean that capitalism has problems that need fixing, and I would agree with that. But of course, that’s exactly what the G20 participants were trying to do — put controls on banking so that they can’t screw up the economy through their own profligacy.

    If you’re insinuating that we should be governed by whoever yells the loudest at a rally, that’s a very scary thought indeed — depending on where you go, you’ll find that there can be a lot of people in favor of things you don’t like. Better that we have a democratic system that accommodates differing viewpoints, protects the rights of minorities, and has procedures for changing itself.

    If you feel passionately about an idea that isn’t popular, go out there and build up support, and work on convincing people of the value of your idea. In the process, your ideas might benefit from the input of different opinions. But yelling, breaking windows, and threatening violence isn’t a way to gain popular support for your ideas. Not to say it has no place — but it’s largely a way to convince governments that they need to act according to the popular will, not a method of gaining that popular will in the first place.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      If you’re insinuating that we should be governed by whoever yells the loudest at a rally, that’s a very scary thought indeed

      We’re governed by whomever has the most weapons and the greatest willingness to use them to kill their opponents. All governments arise, evolve and die by violence. Democracy is a limited set of options bounded by a large set of imposed conditions.

  123. Amasa says:

    If you look at the density of the crowd by the police line, it tells quite a story. The protesters are pushing back at the police lines. Pushing the police line, whether you have your hands up or not, is an aggressive act.
    I’ve seen the London riot police up close in action, and this is not a patch on what they do when they need to really control an individual or crowd.

  124. adamnvillani says:

    Takuan – the point is not that all protesters are bad, but that if you’re going to protest, it might help to have something approaching a coherent message or strategy.

    Here’s Scott Schaeffer-Duffy of the Worcester, Massachusetts Catholic Worker’s series on “How to Hold a Demonstration”:
    http://www.pieandcoffee.org/category/how-to-hold-a-demonstration/

  125. nerak says:

    Seattle 1999, anyone?

  126. Boba Fett Diop says:

    ROBGUY,

    Why don’t you come over to my backyard and let me push you with a riot shield for a while. I’m sure you’ll find it’s a fucking laugh.

  127. colonos says:

    @ george57l,

    Yes, you are right, it is, unfortunately, a bit naïve. The cops do not answer you, they might react, but that will be with a push or a hit over the head. There is a specific piece of legislation in force when protestors are kettled in, particularly Section 60 of the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criminal_Justice_and_Public_Order_Act_1994 – which suspends most of your “rights”.

    This is an instance of what Giorgio Agamben calls “the state of exception”, and as Walter Benjamin said back in the 1940s:

    “The tradition of the oppressed teaches us that “the state of emergency” in which we live is not the exception but the rule”

  128. colonos says:

    @ aleala

    “there are better ways to go about it…” -

    well, please enlighten us, then!

    How do _you_ propose to change the world?

    Now that a thousand years of social movements (that through struggle won the rights that _you_ enjoy today, Mister Know It All) are failing, or have no “perspective” in your opinion??

  129. Toast says:

    I love the feigned expressions of “outrage”, as if having the police get physical isn’t exactly what they were hoping for. For many of the protesters getting a “battle scar” just enhances their CV.

    Dressing up like some jackass or holding up one end of a giant puppet head is one thing, but having a bruise you can post up on your blog, not that’s something to be proud of.

  130. Takuan says:

    and that dismissiveness is what makes violence necessary.

  131. BdgBill says:

    I am totally fine with the beating of G20 protesters. I had the misfortune to interact with some of these idiots a few years ago. The vast majority of them have no idea what they are protesting. They are simply there to fight with the police.

  132. Anonymous says:

    I live in Stirling. I was here at the G8 protests a couple of years back. As a direct result of that, I will *never* believe anything I see on indymedia again.

  133. Ugly Canuck says:

    Action for the Banksters: get yer odds, place yer bets….

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/apr/02/bankers-betting-protesters-g20

  134. AirPillo says:

    If those people really wanted to demonstrate peaceful intent, repeatedly pushing up against the police while there was plenty of space in the crowd to keep a safe distance probably wasn’t the correct way to do it.

    Make people with shields and batons nervous and bad things happen. Judgement isn’t always reliable.

    Police form a line to keep a crowd orderly, people advance on the police line for whatever misguided reason, and the police get antsy and make misguided attempts to regain order… which looks like it included breaking up the protest.

    Here’s how the headline would look if newspapers used language as remedial and surly as mine: “People, police both fuck up”

  135. colonos says:

    @ 13strong

    It is not that inaccurate to suggest that the police and those who make the draconian laws under which they carry out their orders bear a great deal of the responsibility for that man’s death.

    Undemocratic, extreme legislation like the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 – introduced to repress “alternative ways” (like Boing Boingers, only in real space) was used to contain people for a long, long time. Nowhere to eat, drink, piss, shit and no chance to leave. Pushed about for hours on end, then finally one man collapses and people around him, trying to help him are pushed away by the police, who refuses to let anyone help the collapsed man and only after enormous distressed insistence on behalf of the by standing people finally agree to call an ambulance.

    Notably, the news were not released to the press until THREE (3) hours later and then only to the BBC and Sky News. If the police were very convinced about their non-responsibility would they really have had to wait three hours and then release an entirely false story, that since has been completely refuted by eye witness reports?

    Of course not, but they wanted to have a clear, simple story to circulate so that people (who never bother to dig below the surface of corporate lies) can sustain their little middle class illusions of progress, democracy and freedom for all.

  136. riffer says:

    Here here #6. Disobedience will get you nowhere except a well deserved cracked skull. There are plenty of ways to ‘fight the system’ using their own rules.

  137. Takuan says:

    there were tens of thousands of protesters in the streets. Clearly something is wrong. Tell me then, if the Climate Camp in particular had nothing to say, why were some many police there to stop them from saying it?

  138. Joseph93 says:

    Perhaps this isn’t the best video, go search for some more – there are alot. The police injured innocent people at both this climatecamp site and at the protest outside the BoE. The indiscriminate wielding of batons by officers who were clearly enjoying what they were doing is not acceptable to me. This as well as the man who died as what looks very much like a direct result of the police ‘kettle’ tactic, the media/police stunt relating to the RBS building, the story about people betting on the number of arrests and deaths there would be and some of the comments relating to this protest that i have read and heard have all resulted making a very sad and angry.

  139. mdh says:

    “People, police both fuck up”

    Police form a line to keep a crowd orderly,

    You don’t need riot gear to keep an orderly crowd, orderly. However, you do need it to safely incite a riot.

  140. Anonymous says:

    This is going to happen in every damn country in the world, don’t expect any constitution or amendment to help you if your ideas clash with those of the corrupt powers.

    Many seem to have totally removed what happened in Genoa 2001, here’s a quick reminder:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8eTqz-8MfAI
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBorVm07kQI

  141. Boba Fett Diop says:

    AMASA,

    Have you ever heard of the concept of non-violent resistance? How about self-defense? I would suggest instead that the protesters acted with a great deal of restraint when a bunch of police in riot gear attempted to storm a peaceful camp. This was police-initiated violence, not a riot. You don’t bring tents, bikes, camp stoves and guitars to a riot.

  142. Ceronomus says:

    Considering that, during the first days of the protest, bank workers were hanging out windows and waving ten pound notes at the protesters? I think the police were beating the wrong people.

  143. Tdawwg says:

    Ah, a civlib flamewar on BB! How fun!

  144. LampreyMan says:

    Whoever posted this doesn’t seem to have any idea what “beating the shit out of” someone looks like.

    Lets not succomb to the temptations to report falsehoods. We are better served by truth. Leave the lies to governments and police, they are much better at it, and we expect it of them. We should hold the higher ground. It is the only place we can defend, because it defends itself.

  145. colonos says:

    @ Riffer:

    Civil Disobedience is the cornerstone of what you call the “system” – without disobedience you would still be fucking peasant, as far as I can see. Instead you are a citizen with rights and internet access. Hundreds of thousands of people have struggled for generations for you to be able to enjoy what you have today, Struggling just like the people do in London right now – and they are struggling to keep what is left, while ignorant people of which there are a surprising amount on this thread sit around and enjoy what they don’t have to bollox to claim or defend, but can only enjoy in their impotence.

  146. AirPillo says:

    You don’t need a gun in your house to not shoot people, but that doesn’t mean people always buy them hoping to shoot people.

    I don’t mean to say the police should do this sort of thing but you can hardly claim that following standard operating procedure for being on-scene during protests is some sort of implication of ill intent. That’s a severe failure in objective logic.

  147. Takuan says:

    footage of cops killing protesterhttp://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/london/7988828.stm

  148. Joseph93 says:

    riot police with shields and batons pushed through crowds bringing down their weapons indescriminately. people were injured and bleeding… people who were peacfully protesting and just trying leave the area. the police were responsible for beating people – fact. I SAW IT.

  149. aleala says:

    @ colonos

    There’s no need to be dense. I’ve been to protests, including G20 ones myself (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament et al).

    How do I propose the change the world? Maybe lets start by NOT smashing windows and so on! What does a 19 year old dimwit holding a sign to the effect of ‘DON’T BUY STUFF IT’S STUPID’ accomplish? If anything, we should be praising people for going out and buying stuff, any stuff at all. If they don’t, shops close, even more people go out of work… Economy runs on confidence and little else.

    What did protesters around the Bank of England really accomplish? Other than annoying people trying to get on with their lives and actually. The ‘big wigs’ do not care. I care, my neighbour cares, people trying to get to work and run errands care.

    Climate Camp protesters may be less violent but I think that they’re probably even more dimwitted. They and their buddies ‘Plane Stupid’ caused me to miss a funeral in Hungary. Oh no, people flying! Very easy to protest against air traffic when you aren’t an immigrant or haven’t got any family abroad.

    Don’t you feel a wee bit silly typing phrases like ‘a thousand years of social movements’? Just a wee bit?
    And it is Missus Know it All.

  150. mightymouse1584 says:

    After careful consideration of this peace i have come to the following conclusion.

    “inconclusive”

    Honestly people, this video doesn’t show me enough to say that the police have been unprovoked here. Similarly, it doesnt show me enough to say that the protesters started the altercation. It cuts to scenes where the police are pushing back and at one point using clubs, but it fails to show what happened immediately before that. Also, please keep in mind that riots can chant “this is not a riot” and still be a riot. Its no different from saying “i am not a cook”. Just because its been said doesn’t necessarily make it true.

    And just to play devil’s advocate, here is a link to a story by the times of london in which the police have bottles thrown at them as they try to resuscitate a dying man.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/G20/article6020028.ece

    (ps. i dont know what the political swing is of that particular publication, so please dont just start blabbing that they’re conservative or something and therefore bias. it doenst make the content any less relevant.)

    I like to see the police get their own every now and again, but this might not be it.

  151. gracchus says:

    well, please enlighten us, then!

    He did — he mentioned the protesters’ lack of focus in their message, which is an on-going problem with these demos in both the US and UK. A thousand years of social movements offer many examples of street protesters bringing across a focused message that effected real change. Not here — G20 is another in a line of missed opportunities for the current Western protest movement.

    More suggestions? I’d also add, in re: the “snippy” NYT slideshow mentioned above, that the protest organisers should stop giving the MSM ammo by insisting that Wavy-Gravy wannabes in costumes and vintage 1987 puppets and are an integral part of a demo. They’re not, and the radical furries and the prop comics and the rest of these “lookaME” attention whores should be asked to stop “helping” and stay at home next time.

    Same goes for the Anarkiddies (who, to be clear, != serious anarchists) who show up mainly to smash things and get in exciting running battles with police. Serious protest organisers would make it clear that the crowd should bodily eject these young ignorami from the demo at the first sign of violence, but nope — can’t exclude the (as I’ve heard them called) “insurrectionists.”

    Here’s a clue, again from the history of social movements: Castro and Guevara were insurrectionists; the Bolsheviks were insurrectionists; the protest leaders of 1848 were insurrectionists. Some would also classify King and Ghandi as insurrectionists. They were all serious about their ideology, had clear and coherent goals, and had plans that extended beyond “let’s show The Man by smashing some windows and throwing stuff at the pigs.”

    Throughout those thousand years of social movements, the police have always behaved thuggishly, and often incited the riots themselves — the tech and methods change, but the motivation is the same. During that same period, however, protesters haven’t always behaved as ineffectively and counter-productively as they have in the age of Globalism.

  152. mightymouse1584 says:

    pps. “beating the shit out of…” really? please use that phrase with a little more restraint.

  153. dainel says:

    Didn’t they just pass laws that stops things like this? Taking photos and videos of cops that might show them behaving badly (or not) is illegal isn’t it? Rikki must be arrested immediately and Cory evicted from the country.

  154. bingobingo says:

    Regardless of the degree of accuracy of the headline, it will not be changed.

    You people need to learn.

  155. Takuan says:

    a police riot. Again.

  156. Takuan says:

    correction: footage of cops killing totally uninvolved, innocent passerby with cowardly attack from behind with no warning. There, fixed. Well done coppers! You made your quota.

  157. misterbehavin says:

    Masks, not badges!!!

  158. mightymouse1584 says:

    im not asking for it to be changed. that is, of course, completely up to the bloggers. Its not my post and i understand that. Inaccurate headlines and misleading stories do however reflect upon how seriously i will consider these stories in the future. They reflect poorly on the integrity of the site and it makes me question the authenticity of posts regarding serious matters as a whole. If i want a serious matter to be taken seriously, i had better be prepared to do some honest reporting.

  159. SamSam says:

    Unfortunately, silly hyperbole like this makes it all the more difficult to get support when real violence does occur.

    “Oh really? Real violence, eh? Last time you said the police were ‘beating the shit out of people,’ all they were doing was pushing the crowd back with their shields. I’ll believe it when I see it.”

    Really, either find a better video or a better headline.

  160. Rindan says:

    The whole G20 protest was utterly absurd. The entire thing was a farce. On the plus side, it certainly can’t discredit any movement because I am pretty sure no one has any clue what the hell the “movement” was.

    You had the G20 show up to London and what did they do? They promised greater financial regulation, a trillion for poor nations, and increased government spending. Quick! Lets smash some windows! Lets protest climate change! Lets advocate for anarcho-kitty utopia! Lets protest banks! Clearly, those things strongly related to what the G20 met for.

    Right.

    You had world leaders showing up to try to do something and people come out to protest? The real tragedy is that mindless protests like this only cause harm. London’s budget is harmed with having to deploy riot police, London business are harmed because they can’t operate and they get their windows smashed, and all for what? A frantic protest of SOMETHING that no one seems to be able to even begin to articulate?

    The only thing that this did is make world leaders leery of meeting because they don’t want to deal with the expense of defending the various business and picking up the mess when it is done. Personally, prefer it if world leaders could meet without a mindless protest over “stuff” from starting.

    I am all for protest, but this wasn’t a protest. This was a masturbatory gathering of a bunch of folks looking to party in down town London. If you want to protest, try finding an event to protest at where your protests make sense… and maybe settle on one theme, eh?

  161. GregLondon says:

    simon@163: Don’t be so quick to assume that their isn’t popular support for law and order.

    The technical term for that is bifurcation, but “cockamamy bullshit” will do.

    It doesn’t matter that you happen to agree with whatever your precious government happens to be doing right now, if you were put in a state that you did NOT agree with, and you sat on your fat ass doing nothing, telling everyone that to protest is to oppose law and order, you should have your voting rights taken away for being a mindless automaton. You should start a church and worship the state there.

    It doesn’t matter if the protest is effective or not. It doesn’t matter if the protest is something you agree with or not. There is no point in the development of a state that protest and loud public dissent should be equated with lawlessness.

    I personally don’t think the protests are effective. But I’m not declaring how protesting the government is a demand for lawlessness. You want to be a good little sheep and do exactly what the state tells you, no matter what they tell you, then by all means, worship the state. But those who disagree with the state have a duty to make their disagreement known.

    You don’t want to listen? Fine.

    YOu think they shouldn’t protest at all? You’re a moron.

  162. mightymouse1584 says:

    btw, i hope cory doesnt take that last post as an attack on his integrity. When i say “honest reporting” i mean reporting in general. not just this post. I know (or at least strongly believe) that cory is honest in his writing style.

  163. mightymouse1584 says:

    @samsam.
    my thoughts exactly.

  164. Hirsty says:

    I guess that’s why they call them The Filth.

  165. Takuan says:

    pretty clear messages (if you actually watched the footage you posted), no to Gaza warcrimes, not to war on the Afghan people, etc. all per their signs and chants. Or are you incapable of hearing anything but the party line? I saw one person breaking bank windows for the cameras, I believe he was arrested later. I also saw a great many police trampling the basic right of the people to protest. As well as using steel clubs. Have you ever learned the use of collapsible batons? A flicking strike can knock out a tooth, cause crippling nerve pain, blind and pulverise bone on contact. Or collapse a trachea with a choke or snap any long bone in a lock. Not a “safe” weapon for crowd control at all, unless you mean safe for the thug swinging it. The footage looks most be documentation of people deliberately driven to frustration by calculated police effort.

  166. WalterBillington says:

    How did the police not do a fantastic job here? Very few minor injuries. Major – virtually none, poor Ian Tomlinson, but query that.

    People keep shrieking “we’re being kettled! we’re being kettled!”. That is standard police practice, something evident in the UK since Mayday 2001, when they penned in Oxford Circus.

    It makes the protest seem out of touch and disingenuous. Propaganda-heavy. And everyone in the UK knows these rules.

    Let alone that – the mainstream media did not headline the protests, for whatever reason. That’s not really ok. But who’s working to change it?

    So what did the protests achieve? What clear point came over? What leaders emerged? What has been communicated? Where’s the eloquence, the persuasion?

    Why should we consider this more than a bunch of rapscallions causing mirthful trouble? People understand manufactured violence – it’s like porn. We get it.

    Why weren’t this group protesting ever since Clinton signed in the evil bill that caused all this?

    And why, oh why, oh why, did people go with children? What a ridiculous risk – 18 year olds and up can choose sensibly to attend, but younger than that – evil parent, evil guardian.

    Upshot: Not much upshot. Shame – an ideal opportunity wasted.

    But the movement isn’t really there anymore, is it? The popular will. The population won’t. This set of protesters can’t.

  167. Takuan says:

    I’ll be hearing first hand from someone who was there soon.

  168. DanC says:

    I’m sure there were plenty of examples of uncalled for police violence against protesters, I just don’t think this video is a good example. I see two or three cops panicking and swinging their shields hard enough to injure someone and a generally belligerent acting crowd throwing things and shoving. Not really a moral victory for either side.

  169. Phikus says:

    While I watched the footage, my itunes (with literally many thousands of songs in it) happened to begin to play “I’m So Free” by Lou Reed. I heartily recommend it for a soundtrack.

  170. Anonymous says:

    ive seen footage – where protesters are getting whacked in the face with billy-clubs – CLEARLY – but im also married to a british “cop” and i understand the concerns with “unruly crowds” in a metro-area —– so because i wasnt there – im torn – so torn it almost breaks my heart -

    “Torn”? The more specific term for your feeling is “corruption.” You have been corrupted by your relationship to a cop, and it is causing you to sympathize with a violent abuser in a video.

    If you got hit in the face yourself with a blunt object — perhaps by your spouse — one wonders how torn you would continue to be.

  171. Toast says:

    While these protests were pretty lame, for shear lameness nothing will ever beat Zack de la Rocha of Rage Against the Machine on their “Live at the Grand Olympic Auditorium” album when he calls out to the sea of white middle class kids “How many Zapatistas we got in the house!?” and is met with utter silence and bewilderment.

    It between track 10, “Sleep Now in the Fire”, and track 11, “People of the Sun”. While it’s a great album, I cringe with embarrassment whenever I hear that.

  172. BlackPanda says:

    I must admit, that regardless of my remarks about the police brutality and unnecessary heavy-handedness, I agree that the protest as a whole was largely unfocused and without point. An attempt to protest against anything, for the sake of it.

    At least, that’s how it came across.

  173. videourban says:

    An appalling post

    I too am a longtime fan of Boing Boing and have never seen any post so lazy and small minded

    Not only does the video ‘evidence’ totally fail to validate the headline claim, this kind of sensationsalism misrepresents the entire protest.

    Ironically there is plenty of footage of more aggravated scenes you could have chosen from, but even these would only serve to undermine the constructive political impact of the demos.

    Just as the vast majority of protesters would hope not to be found guilty by association with the violent amongst them, so too should we think twice before demonising the entire police force and state based on the overzealous actions of a minority of officers.

  174. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Moderator note: Just a reminder that comment numbering changes when I approve anonymous comments. If you refer to comments by number alone, it won’t make any sense.

  175. MarlboroTestMonkey7 says:

    Yeah, headline fail, they were repressed forcefully but lovingly gently as well.

  176. kassatti says:

    There is no peacefull people in there.

  177. WalterBillington says:

    @100 – I think the producer of the album sneaked it in on purpose. I’m sure there’s research to be done there to uncover the true story.

    On all of this – I can say thank feck they weren’t american police, who seem to get scared and agitated very quickly. And like blood and guts. Go the British Bobby!

    btw – who collected all the hats? Are they on ebay? It used to be a real game, getting coppers’ hats, until you got close to them. Then it looked bloody dangerous! Never done, never will.

  178. JazzyJebus says:

    If the police were so lovely why did they remove their identification numbers from their uniforms and refuse to give their names when asked when illegally attacking protesters? It was only when the legal observers reported this behaviour to superior officers that numbers were hastily put back on the police.

    Oh yes. Because they know well what they are doing is wrong and it will only be supported by those with very little knowledge of what is happening on the streets and make completely mad generalisations of what the protesters are (white middle class children) what they are protesting for (none of them know and are all just out for a fight) and how “kettling” tactics are somehow do not promote violence and are gentle and fine just because they’ve been used since 2001.

  179. colonos says:

    It is amazing how people who are obviously ignorant about the dynamics and history of protests and the policing of them can speak so authoritatively about what happens, happened and will happen.

    How does anyone know that it wasn’t the police that smashed the windows?

    here is a youtube comment, whether true or not, the agent provocateurs are always in play:

    “joeshoeare
    02 Apr 09, 9:46pm (about 1 hour ago)
    There where two hooded men in the kettle yesterday trying to get people to charge. I don’t know how one of the protestors knew, but he identified them as police (shouted police). I would not of taken this seriously apart from the fact that they quickly exited the scene. They walked to the police line had a quick word with an officer and made a sharp exit. This was a point when journalists and legal observers where denied exit. Nobody was aloud to exit i think a few people may have got pictures of them.”
    ==

    With regard to policing, well there has only really been police as we know it today since the 19th Century, implemented after the Peterloo massacre in 1819, to control the “irrational urban crowd”. Previouosly the army was sufficient, since you cold just kill all the revolters, but in the city the otehr citizens could see it and would get upset – or go into denial like most Boing Boing readers seem to, but not all people used to have such distorted ideas as many cyberspatial reactionaries do today.

    …and with regard to whether there is a political programme behind or not, well it has always been the position of the brainwashed and aristocrats to think of the crowd as mad, while social historians for decades have successfully argued that the actions of crowds, if one can be bothered to take a closer look, is “meaningful, expressive and precisely targeted”.

    The idea that we can shop our way to wealth is fantastically stupid that it merits no response, this is already way too far..

  180. mdh says:

    Let’s all remember that the police are ALSO lied to.

  181. JazzyJebus says:

    Also, to all the people saying the police were just clearing a major road in London to get the city working again in the financial district again HAVE NOT read the full story. The police had trapped all these people in that road with a mass line of riot gear. NO ONE was allowed out and then throughout the night they would charge in and periodically and beat people, young and old, in just a spectacular display of violence achieving nothing.

  182. WalterBillington says:

    Dismissiveness makes violence necessary? Ho! Comin’ full circle to the fascists!

    Violence as a tool … hmm

  183. failix says:

    Peaceful protest would be useful in a society that actually encourages peaceful behavior.

    And to those always saying crap like “violent protest is fascism”… it seems like I can’t say it enough on BB, learn what fascism really is please.

  184. WalterBillington says:

    Spectacular violence achieving whatever the police wanted. Reverse engineer that, and work with it in future.

    Please don’t be limp victims about all of this.

  185. amiga says:

    Don’t forget the footage of the police pouncing on a man walking home from work, the man later died from a heart problems

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HECMVdl-9SQ

  186. Takuan says:

    well Gracchus, read #211 ?

  187. JazzyJebus says:

    That was not my point, it achieves nothing for us protesting, as this was all after the mainstream media had gone home and they were not in the kettle. So it goes unreported and the police carry on regardless

  188. Moriarty says:

    “We’re governed by whomever has the most weapons and the greatest willingness to use them to kill their opponents. All governments arise, evolve and die by violence. Democracy is a limited set of options bounded by a large set of imposed conditions.”

    Yeah, that’s right. Law necessitates force. In a representative democracy, the representatives of the majority are the ones who make laws. That’s fine by me, since if servants of the majority don’t have the greatest capacity for violence, then that just means that somebody else does, who doesn’t answer to the people. There’s no such thing as a situation where nobody has the most weapons, so it may as well be “us,” collectively.

  189. pyota says:

    chico leo said it best, this is crying wolf. the hyperbolic title doesn’t fit the content of the video at all. how sad that boing boing also resorts to fact free reporting and distortion of truth.

  190. Takuan says:

    “us”? In the instance of the UK? Where I understand 30% of children now live in poverty?

  191. Ceronomus says:

    This photo from Life clearly shows that the violence wasn’t all one-sided.

    http://www.life.com/image/85754322/in-gallery/24571

    I mean, HOLY CRAP!

  192. WalterBillington says:

    Interestingly, I watched with enthusiasm the twitters from reps. of the Guarniad, the FT, and some other big org. At 5pm they were talking about the huge number of photogs roaming the streets looking for shots.

    This is civ 2.0. We understand protest and how to make it effective. The police carry on regardless? Have you any idea of the operation of politics, particularly with a London mayor of stature in place? This was not a renegade crowd of anarchic cops – this was organised, controlled and co-ordinated.

    So “carry on regardless” just don’t fit.

    It may have been hot and sweaty in there, but from out here … it’s not the 70′s.

  193. Takuan says:

    and in a few days when all reports are in the usual tally will emerge: serious injuries 99% the public’s, 1% the police.

  194. GregLondon says:

    I suppose hoping for a recognition of subtle differences if probably too much to ask on the internet, but a tired attempt:

    The video doesn’t show “beating the shit out of” anyone. It shows some cops using shields and batons on protesters who had their hands in the air. The cops seemed more interested in compliance to authority than in managing a protest.

    And then there are some absolute fking morons posting on BB (and the world) who can’t quite seem to grasp who exactly works for whom when it comes to people versus state. For those who have an infantile infatuation with authority, and think the simple act of protesting the state is sufficient grounds for the state to enforce compliance, your mindless deference to authority will be appreciated by all those who use “I was just following orders” as a defense for immoral action.

    Seriously, your fascist membership card just arrived, all you have to do is decide whom to pledge your blind obediance to, mail it in, and your foot-soldier-to-the-state uniform will arrive 4-6 weeks later with orders of whom to target with state-sanctioned violence against non-compliers.

    And the sad thing is there are a bunch of you bastards right here on this thread that are a postage stamp away from doing just that.

    I honestly don’t know what the G20 protesters are protesting. Partly, that’s because I haven’t been following it too closely, partly, that’s because the media cannot grasp fine details when all it wants is a cock-fight, partly thats because the protesters seem to be a mishmash of different folks with different agendas and they’re all protesting different things.

    Some are protesting the past years of bank folly. Some might be protesting the G20 syaing they’re going to give teh IMF a bunch of money. Some are calling for more regulation of banks. Some are probably calling for anarchism. It generally happens on a small scale on BoingBoing that people will reply in unison “That’s stupid” about some topic, but for entirely different reasons. The “Marx was right” thread brought out socialists, capitalists, free market anarchists, and others, all saying marx was wrong, but all saying something entirely different was “right”.

    But the fact that the protesters aren’t delivering one giant, single, universally agreed upon message, doesn’t mean they lose the right to protest.

    And the fact that some protesters are a bunch of anarchist thugs with molotav cocktails and bricks-through-windows doesn’t mean the fascist thugs get to declare a state-enforced lock down on public dissent.

    There are a bunch of asshole thugs on both sides of the spectrum. Anarchists who like nothing the government does and Fascist thugs who will gleefully enforce everything the government does. And they are both fucking morons. In between them on the political spectrum are the rather normal folks who disagree about what our govenment should do. Because it doesn’t belong to just the anarchist and it doesn’t belong to just the fascists.

    And I’m getting really tired of the anarchist assholes and the fascist assholes making a cockup of everything as if the normal folks in the middle don’t exist.

    But that would require an acknowledgement of subtle differences.

  195. Takuan says:

    I really like to teach a few people here what a “shield rim attack” feels like.

  196. gracchus says:

    pretty clear messages (if you actually watched the footage you posted), no to Gaza warcrimes, not to war on the Afghan people, etc.

    [Emphasis mine]. In other words, the usual bloody hodge-podge of issues. Heck, I’d settle for one coherent message per protest site, but instead it’s every-one for themselves and their pet issue, regardless of context. And then the protesters moan afterward about tens of 1000s of people not being heard. I’d love to listen to the protesters, but as always they’re all Babel-ing over each-other in a bid for some “Progressive Idol” attention.

    After two decades observing these fiascos, my bottom line is that the people who organise these G-# summit protests need to get serious or get lost. I’m obviously not making excuses for the police, but it doesn’t do progressive causes any favours to make excuses for their leaders’ and participants incompetence and fantasism, either. I mean, really, this …?

    think they will hang her?

    I know you’re being facetious, but even in the surveillance state that is the UK they don’t hang people who are found guilty of the fairly common crime of “criminal damage and burglary” — even if the criminal’s an idiot teenager who “had drunk up to four cans of strong lager before donning a mask and joining other protesters.”

    Oh, but wait, they’re arguing mitigating circumstances: “the girl’s solicitor, Miranda Ching, said her client came from an unconventional background, having left school at 13 and living an itinerant lifestyle at a series of protest sites.” And then: “She had no specific intention of entering the building, no specific intention of causing damage. However, she was vastly influenced by her friends.”

    It’s like some bizarre Anarkiddie version of that Xtian conservative favourite for avoiding consequences: “Please, let’s not ruin this young person’s promising future just because she fell in with some bad apples.” Please.

    Posting that unintentionally hilarious article doesn’t really help your case, so I won’t get into the the other docket item it describes, where bystanders could have been physically endangered.

  197. Ceronomus says:

    Well, the police came PREPARED for violence, so that is to be expected no matter WHO started the violence.

  198. Takuan says:

    have a look around 2:20, the uniformed hero mid screen is trying to crush unarmed civilian throats.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t244-zEENSs

  199. Moriarty says:

    Wow, I’m really proud of all the comments here calling B.S. on this post, and on these protests in general.

    You know how you change the world? You convince people. You talk to (as opposed to yell at) people you disagree with in their own language. You “be the change you want to see.” You act *constructively*. Sometimes revolutions happen, but most result in something worse than what came before. Real progress (as opposed to just change) is almost always gradual, and when revolutions work, even they are more about building something than tearing something down (see the American revolution). Angry mobs are history’s villains, not its heroes.

    These protesters are rebels without a cause, out for an adrenaline rush and an excuse to claim persecution. They’re mad about real problems, but most of them have no idea what those problems really are, who is actually responsible, or anything resembling a coherent solution. And yet they have the audacity to identify with *real* agents of social change, who suffered *actual* persecution in their struggle. It’s people like that that make me actually sympathize with the testosterone squad they’re antagonizing. If they had an actual cause, the G20 protests would be hurting it.

  200. Anonymous says:

    That’s exactly what happened at the RNC in St. Paul, too. They used violence against completely peaceful protesters, using the excuse that some protesters BROKE WINDOWS several days earlier.

  201. Rindan says:

    Um… maybe I am being dense, but from that video footage alone, it doesn’t look like the police advanced. If anything, it looks like at one point they were being pushed back.

    If you have ever seen police push on a crowd, they generally do it lock and step Spartan style. They form a shield wall, and some dude yells push to beat. This looked more like a barrier between police and protesters with protesters occasionally pushing in and police pushing back and vice versa. If this was the worst offense by the police at the G20, I can sleep well at night.

    Like I said though, this is just based off the video. Maybe there is more going on than I see.

  202. Takuan says:

    well now… clearly the police were given orders to incite an incident so more violence could be be justified. The footage shows no provocation by protesters, just police assaults. I imagine the government was hoping for more blood. I wonder if someone with a conscience might recall how the membership list for the BNP was leaked.

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