London police brutally kettle children marching for education

Writing in the New Statesman, Laurie Penny documents the brutal, savage treatment dealt to the London demonstrators who marched against cuts to education and found themselves "kettled" (detained without arrest, toilet, shelter, or charge) for eight hours in freezing weather; many of those kettled were children and young teens, as well as pregnant women.
The chant goes up: "what do we want? The right to protest!" At first, the cops give curt answers to the kids demanding to know why they can't get through. Then they all seem to get some sort of signal, because suddenly the polite copper in front of me is screaming in my face, shoving me hard in the back of the head, raising his baton, and the protesters around me are yelling and running back. Some of them have started to shake down a set of iron railings to get out, and the cops storm forward, pushing us right through those railings, leaving twenty of us sprawling in the rubble of road works with cracked knees. When they realised that they are trapped, the young protesters panic. The crush of bodies is suddenly painful - my scarf is ripped away from me and I can hear my friend Clare calling for her son - and as I watch the second line of police advance, with horses following behind them, as I watch a surge of teenagers carrying a rack of iron railings towards the riot guard and howling to be released, I realise they're not going to stop, and the monkey instinct kicks in. I scramble up a set of traffic lights, just in time to see a member of the Metropolitan police grab a young protester by the neck and hurl him back into the crowd...

As darkness falls and we realise we're not going anywhere, the protesters start to light fires to keep warm. First, they burn their placards, the words 'rich parents for all!' going up in flames, with a speed and efficiency gleaned from recent CV-boosting outdoor camping activities. Then, as the temperature drops below freezing, they start looking for anything else to burn, notebooks and snack wrappers - although one young man in an anarchist scarf steps in to stop me tossing an awful historical novel onto the pyre. "You can't burn books," he says, "we're not Nazis."

Inside the Whitehall kettle (via Reddit)

(Image: London Protest 2010, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from selena_sheridan's photostream)


  1. The Guardian got some relatively unbiased video footage from inside the crowd:

    There is a spot showing the police beating unarmed teenagers with batons and their fists for the heinous crime of having their hands on a railing.

    I believe the next protest is due next Tuesday, and I’m guessing it will be just the third of many. It’s not like the problem is going to go away, and this is a demographic with both a huge potential for anger and a surfeit of free time, being told their school fees will be tripled.

    1. “Also, there’s a little bit of a conspiracy theory about the police van that got smashed…” I’m pretty sure this is standard operating procedure these days.

  2. Why is it lately that everywhere you look, you see repression and fascism? At least in the “Western” countries?

    1. It has always been there, at least as long as I can remember (mid-’70s and beyond). It’s just that these days everybody has a camera and a Youtube account so the old police line of reacting to violence from criminal elements in the crowd can be easily falsified.
      Despite all our hand wringing over the locking down of the Internet, the citizen journalist has become a reality.

  3. Last weeks protest was lightly policed, and the protesters broke into buildings and threw fire extinguishers from the roof at the police.

    Like it or not this is the consequence. Any student on the march who didn’t know this was inevitably going to happen really isn’t smart enough to be in further education.

    1. One student threw one fire extinguisher, and he has since been arrested for it. And yes, there seem to have been accounts from yesterday’s protest of police saying to students that it was all about the fire extinguisher. And yes, I guess the students should have been cynical enough to know that the police would take revenge on peaceful protesters for it, but I don’t think it makes it right.

      Also, you seem to be confused as to the makeup of the protest. The protesters who ended up in the Milbank Building courtyard were a fraction of the otherwise peaceful protest, and the ones who broke in were an even smaller fraction of those (who got shouted at by the rest to stop throwing things once they had started).

      For an idea of the crowd dynamics at yesterday’s protest, here’s a photo of high school girls protecting the police van from further damage:

    2. “Any student on the march who didn’t know this was inevitably going to happen really isn’t smart enough to be in further education.”

      The majority of the protesters yesterday are not in further education. They are in higher education, i.e. 11-18 year olds. The police tactics used were used against a crowd made up predominantly of minors.

      On an unrelated note, you can be smart enough to know that you will be treated unfairly by an authoritarian state but brave enough to protest anyway. Y cndscndng prck.

      1. no russ3llr, you’re also wrong. They were not in higher education either, if they were school students.
        If 11-18 in the state school system, then they are in secondary education.
        If 16+ in colleges, then they are in further education.
        If 18+ at university, then they are in higher education.

        1. Oops – got my terminology mixed up; thanks for the correction.

          My point was that while it’s technically accurate to describe these kids as students, the majority of them are minors. Herding protestors into a small area and keeping them there for hours without adequate heat or facilities should not be the standard reaction of the police to a protest, and it’s frankly shocking when they’re doing it to children.

  4. The response should be swift and sure. Arrest the officers who ordered the kettle and charge them with unlawful detention and violation of citizens’ rights. At the least they should be dismissed from their positions. Such behavior is akin to that of Zimbabwe, China or Burma, not a civlised nation as Britain once was.

    Sterling Doughty

  5. Ha. Now the little Brit snowflakes know how the Irish kids feel. Your address kept your liberty for longer than the rest of us thought it would. The silent truce your oligarchy granted you was always a fool’s paradise. Welcome to the jungle, where you’re just another brick in the wall.

  6. did they have a permit to assemble?
    and they deserved every lick that they received for not abiding legal and lawful instructions.

    there is a right way and a wrong way to express your opinion; please queue up and reserve illegal activities for the end (and only then resort to illegal terrorism).

    1. Are you mentally ill? They peacefully assembled and were then prodded by the police to try and commit crimes out of desperation. Also, do you really think people actually need “permits” to protest, and then who would they have to pay to get such a permit, would it not be the people whom they are protesting against? What about the Boston Tea Party, I guess those Americans were in the wrong cause they didn’t have a “permit” to dump the tea in the harbor too huh? The government is a servant to the people, and once it has stopped being so it is nothing more than a police state bent on the control of its people. It is no better than Nazi Germany, where the elite tell the young, the old, the sick, and the poor what THEY should be doing to help the state and that they should never question their great leader.

      I’m sorry, but this is not a democracy, it is nothing but a gathering of barely elected elites sipping their wine while their brutes stomp on the faces of the innocent.

    2. “It’s against the law” is a very weak justification in this day and age, given the very small amount of democracy that goes into making laws about protests. If these were laws that had gone to referendum and a majority had agreed upon them I could understand your justification. But this is not the case, it is the few with power trying to restrict the rights of the many without.

    3. excuse me, a RIGHT to assemble? Are you for real? While i’m very much of the opinion that if you care enough to protest you should care enough to wear a suit to do it (or indeed a school uniform)I really do hope you’re trolling here.

    4. what happened to the basic RIGHT TO ASSEMBLE & RIGHT TO PROTEST

      lets hope the next protest they all apply for protest license on a cake (which has been done and is acceptable)

    5. So dissent is only to be expressed on the terms set by the ruling class?

      Just about any government will default to that position in the end. But that’s one of the reasons the people have to push back. If the government has the power to determine the conditions of dissent, then the people have no freedom to dissent unless they defy that power.

  7. This is terrible. And likewise the fact that I’m not seeing it on the news. Perhaps I just missed it.

    Cory, an aside — one that I feel embarrassed to make to a professional writer, since I am not one — but your use of the words “brutal” and “savage” in your opener only serve to suck power from this post, since you fail to justify their use. Did the police behave like savages? Was anyone savaged? I think not.

    Much better to let these dreadful facts speak for themselves.

  8. A spokesman said: “Police horses were involved in the operation, but that did not involve charging the crowd.”


    1. I don’t understand how these people can be so stupid. The age of lying has come and gone. Everything now is recorded, everything is made digital. Obviously if the horses did charge the crowd, there will be video of it. I wish MSM were more critical of the establishment–put video of the spokesman saying there were not cavalry charges right next to video of the cavalry charges. Put the spokesman’s name and office on the screen. Someone ought to be disciplined for excessive police exercises of force–either the police chief who allowed it or the rogue cops who did it.

  9. Hopefully as the protests continue those on the streets will gain some sense into the way in which the police operate and learn how to avoid, or break out of, the kettle set-ups. Maybe some of the more experienced activists might step up and help in this regard. I’m actually glad the police in the UK come and do the hockey-kokey with protesters. I’d rather have that than what can be experienced on mainland europe where, in protests in Switzerland for example (a few years ago), the riot police usually kept back and fired tear gas! (If you don’t think that sounds bad, think what it is to be hit by one of those canisters.)

  10. This behaviour by authorities sickens me everytime I see it on the news. (The behaviour of the rioters last week also sicken me but I don’t pay their salaries).

    I’ve got an idea for a solution. Change the shape of the protest to a long line. Don’t group into a bunch. Don’t stop and have speeches and chant. Have placards and march like a huge conga line. If the police try and bottle you up then sit down on the ground along the entire line. The police can’t surround a line unless they outnumber the protesters.

    Never been in a police kettle and very few protests. What do others think about this. I should find one of these protests sites and see what the protest organisers think.

  11. I was there, though I was not one of those stuck in the…kettle?

    What was clear was the police knew where the protest was going, and it was also clear they had orders to hold the students in that area, it was well prepared for it. I even saw the order to move and got some great snaps of the van. It did indeed have no number plate, and was the only one parked right in the middle of the designated zone. I think it was done deliberately to give a distraction to the kettled people to take their frustration out on, rather than forcing the police line, and also they knew it would make for good damning press photos so they could keep using such tactics without being called out on it. Why else would they risk the surge to move the people beyond the van? It could easily have triggered violence which is totally against what their aim should be. What they really wanted was some of murdoch’s photographers to get a good shot of the van.

  12. Protestors should bring *lots* of plastic bags to the next protest and if kettled fill the bags with pee and poo and throw them at the police.

  13. Having been kettled in the past, the Police did this entirely the wrong way.

    The correct way to kettle a crowd is to push it in, but allow some means of escape. You let people out in ones and twos, and the crowd disperses that way.

    The incorrect way – and the way the Met seems to use, is to bottle up an angry mob, and only let people out once they give details and have their pictures taken.

    While kettling is essentially detention without arrest, it can be done in a civil manner which allows those who are uncomfortable to disperse. The Met have shown themselves to be little better than they were renowned for being in the past.

  14. These youth are learning things they could never have learned in school because some things have to be lived through to be believed.

    They’re learning that the authorities don’t always have their best interests at heart.

    They’re learning that the police lie, and authorities can’t always be trusted.

    They’re learning that if you stand up for yourself, you may be beaten brutally for it.

    I hope they will learn that if you stand up or a just cause long enough, and push hard enough, you can win. (We will see about this one, but I hold out hope.)

    They’re certainly learning that it won’t be easy.

    They’ll take these lessons with them throughout life.

    And someday, not soon enough but someday, they will run the country.

    1. I’m glad you brought up the fact that G20 police will not face criminal charges for their criminal behavior. Take note: the Special Investigations Unit in Toronto said it believed that officers used excessive force, but because they are not empowered to compel police officers to make statements, they could not gather sufficient evidence to issue charges. Also note: If a regular citizen refused to cooperate with a police investigation, she would undoubtedly be charged with obstruction. The rules are different for you and me.

      Take away? The “few bad apples” argument is irrelevant in places like Canada, US, UK, etc. Police officers — whether “good” or “bad” — are primarily concerned with protecting themselves, their jobs, their pensions… not you or your rights. So protect yourselves.

  15. Perhaps UK protesters may end up following the example of their Greek counterparts on now to prevent kettling.

    They start huge fires on government buildings. Police are forced to keep open and clear exits so that people can leave and fire brigades can come in.

    Yes, welcome to the jungle. London-Rio De Janeiro-Bagdhad. One world, one slum.

  16. “rich parents for all!” – did you notice that when they announced the engagement of the Prince and Ms. Middleton they referred to her in the press releases as “a commoner” – and yet her parents are splitting the bill for the wedding with the Royals!?! that’s not so common – this whole class structure bullsh*t needs to go away

  17. @Mugabo Permit to Assemble?

    I think you’re thinking of the wrong country:
    (Unless your comment is meant as irony, I’m slow today so apolgoies if so)

    Now whilst I won’t then say every protester was peaceful, or that they got everything right; the police are supposed to use their brains. INDIVIDUALS are to be arrested for the breaking of the peace or for the assembly for crimes. Which was not the intent of the protest.

    It would be nice if perhaps the NUS could help these students out who won’t have had the opportunity to join them yet – and ensure the younger protesters stay within the rules of protest. But without any support, and all things considered these kids have done an admirable job.

    I wasn’t there so I’m trying not to make opinionated comments either way. But to any goddamn Maily Dail trolls (or ijits from abroad who just feel like getting a lick on something they don’t understand).

    Yes, they and we DO have the right to protest.
    They have the right to do so without fear of recrimination or attack from the authorities.
    Whether you feel they’re right or not – THEY STILL GET TO PROTEST, ASSHAT!

    I feel they’re protesting for a good reason, and I feel somewhat dirty at the moment that I did vote one part of the coalition government in. I’m considering making the next protest myself, perhaps some older folk (who aren’t aforementioned asshats) in the crowd could prove of help.

    Non-UKers please remember that it’d doesn’t work the same here as ‘there’, and unless you understand how it does – dumb trollage deserve only derision and mockery.

  18. Once again, just as we did with the invention of apartheid, Canada leads the world in this field! Our last kettling incident, during the G20 photo-op, didn’t even bother to target a protest. Some people on bikes rode past then away from the convention area; going up Spadina Ave. which is a main north-south mall (in the original sense of the word) in that area. The police decide that this clearly indicated that Spadina, a street where tens of thousands of people live and more thousands come to shop, was a hotbed of anarchist activity. So they kettled several hundred random shoppers, for about four hours in a thunderstorm.

    Welcome to the party Brits!

    1. Once again, just as we did with the invention of apartheid, Canada leads the world in this field!

      Huh? Canada didn’t create any types of apartheid that weren’t much older than it.

  19. The protesters really need to publicly and vehemently die themselves from the violent element. As soon as you resort to violence and property destruction, you lose the moral high ground. Even worse from the perspective on the protest, the media won’t focus on what you’re protesting about, but more on the destruction that the protest causes.

    The police are stuck between a rock and a hard place, if they do nothing local people and businesses will cry out that there wasn’t enough police protection, if they do too much the protesters cry out that the police violated their civil liberties. The problem from the police perspective is that you can’t tell just by looking someone whether or not they will be chanting peacefully, or whether they’ll be throwing chunks of concrete at people or window.

    If more students were like Zoe Williams, there would be a lot more positive public reaction to the protest.

    1. As soon as you resort to violence and property destruction, you lose the moral high ground. Even worse from the perspective on the protest, the media won’t focus on what you’re protesting about, but more on the destruction that the protest causes.

      This cuts both ways. Right here, people are focusing on the destruction rather than the protest, except the protestors aren’t the ones who’ve completely abandoned the moral high ground.

  20. These protests are managed spectacle, what some protesters might have failed to realise is that in taking a beating you win.

    Of course the police and the compliant media are using stage managed events, like kettling till (the window you want broken – pre evacuated and all) the window breaks and then filming a rent a thug kicking it later ringed by cameras.

    Congrats to the High School girls who realised that the rusty abandoned police van was another highlight for the media and police to justify a heavy hand.

    Thank God we have some middle class kids getting some old school ultraviolence at the hands of Thatchers boot boys.

    My real question is who is the low rent stage manager and media consultant for the police who dreamt up these little Burning Reichstag details ?

    Oh its on.
    First they fight.
    Then we win.
    Watch your lips as loose talk sink ships.
    And the third person to join your little protest group is a cop.
    Agent provocateurs.
    What next Flash Mobs freaking out The Man ?

  21. The more obvious police forces and governments can be about oppression, the better. I’d rather this be happening, than a non-cracked-down-upon protest that just serves as an emotional release valve.

    Sucks for the kettled, but without maintained momentum they have no chance of changing anything; with momentum, they have at least a decidedly small chance.

    1. The more obvious police forces and governments can be about oppression, the better.

      I’m not convinced. Comparing, governments who try to cover up their misdeeds are rarely as bad as ones who do them openly. The increased public opposition doesn’t make up for how normal they become.

  22. Yes we have the right to free assembly and protest. No, we don’t have a bill of rights. The Human Right’s Act has been referred to by David Cameron as a ‘criminal’s charter’ and he has on previous occasions said that it should be repealed and replaced with a Bill of Rights.

    Can you imagine what a Bill of Rights drafted by a Tory marginal government would be like? Luckily for us, the Human Rights Act is the British implementation of the European Convention of Human Rights, and cannot be repealed without putting into effect legislation of similar standing. So there’s no way that the Tories can get rid of it easily. Which is a wholly good thing.

    1. Ironic thing about Tories complaining about the ECHR?

      One of them wrote it.

      The chair of the body that wrote the European Convention of Human Rights in the first place, Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe, was the Conservative MP for Liverpool West Derby from 1935 – 1954, and served as Home Secretary under Churchill.

    2. “Can you imagine what a Bill of Rights drafted by a Tory marginal government would be like?”

      I’m not saying it would be good (at all), but surely it wouldn’t be quite as horrible as one drafted by a full-on Tory majority government, would it?

      (Also, as a Canadian, where we’ve had plenty of minority governments, I was both perplexed and slightly amused by last spring’s UK panic over having a “hung parliament” and the notion of absolutely having to go with a coalition between two such incompatible parties to avoid one.)

  23. Like most, I love and live the idea of society and particularly the guardian footage explains why… what a gorgeously diverse society london is!

  24. From the shameful obligation of North Korea to the gender persecution of Talib Afghanistan, via religious naivety of mid west USA and the recorded malice of eastern europe, circumventing political hype of cuban masochistic idealism and enjoying a voyeuristic glance at Australasian blinkers and African evolution… and on and on.. london rocks!

  25. I think Lenny Bruce’s line about the police thinking protesters are protesting against the police department is completely accurate.

  26. Having listened to an interview with the leader of a sit in in my home city’s university today, and also the comments of others there, it would seem that he, and they, only have a sketchy idea of what they’re protesting about. However, they plan to continue occupying a lecture-theatre for “several more days”.

    The target of their ire is the current government, and particularly the minority party, the Liberal Democrats who stated in their pre-election promises that they would not raise tuition fees, and were generally in favour of their abolition. Easy to promise, as there was no chance whatsoever of the Libs actually winning.

    But, to the libs’ surprise, a very close result between the two main parties led to them being invited to join a coalition government, and suddenly being faced with a share of running a country. A country in enormous debt, following a long period of government by another party. And the collapse of global finance markets, the crumbling economies of other european countries. Oh. And a vastly expensive war, toward which that same previous government committed billions of pounds which we did not have.

    These demonstrations are a protest at increasing costs of being a university student. The state is broke, skint, brassic, its credit cards are maxed out, and there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. Just where do they think the extra funding is coming from?
    Shall we borrow it?
    Who from?
    Or shall we tax more?
    Or maybe we just print more pretend money?

    I’m hearing a lot of blame, but it is not directed at the fat-cat millionaires who ran our previous government, but at the new government who are faced with trying to climb out of a pit dug by their predecessors.

    1. It’s certainly true that balancing the budget is a great challenge.

      However, the cuts they are protesting against represent a 40% reduction in education spending, and the complete privatisation of all universities in the country. Even those who don’t grasp the nuances of that do grasp the figure of £9,000 a year for university fees. It’s a very disproportionate amount of the cuts coming out of education.

      Now the government is offering all kinds of reassurances. “That’s only the maximum. Don’t worry, competition will keep it down”. “We’ll still give you student loans for the whole of your £30k degree.” “Universities that want to charge more than £6,000 will have to meet new targets on attracting applicants from poorer backgrounds.” Do any of these sound reassuring?

      For some history, university fees did not exist until the mid-90s. On introduction, they were set at around £1,000/year. In 2005, “top-up fees” got added to bring the total to £3,000/year. Now they are talking about tripling fees again.

      1. I’m a great believer in education. In order to fund mine, I worked between school and university. My “gap-year” involved a lot of hard work (not burger flipping), that served me in good stead as an eye-opener to real life.
        Amongst my good friends is a professor of philosophy, (his personal field of interest is non-violent struggle, and its application against many brutal regimes). He was, in his schooldays, a disruptive and sometimes violent student, he was sent by the school to do work experience, with some people who changed his whole attitude to life. Part of that involved education. From being a school troublemaker, he started to read. Libraries were his first university.
        Now he teaches in one.
        What’s the point of this, you ask? Because education is the passing of knowledge, the sharing of ideas, the challenging of beliefs. And far more important than anything else you will need in a university are inspiring teachers.
        My city is full of new ‘landmark’ buildings as two univerities vie against each other to build each more impressive new school or faculty.
        They’re spending, spending, spending…
        Maybe more education and less architecture would benefit the students better, because a lot of those students fees go to paying for shiny new buildings, rather than the core business, teaching.

    2. Glad to see you are a free market ideologue, soubriquet. But your idiocy isn’t an excuse for police brutality against minor protesters. The Tory/LibDem government is doing the wrong thing in passing an austerity budget. Their policies could result in a liquidity trap that will lead to depression & a stagnant economy for a decade at least. What is needed is classic Keynesian stimulus by government spending. They should be ABOLISHING tuition fees, among other things. Go read Paul Krugman to get a clue.

      1. Strangefriend, Your insults are unwarranted.
        It seems your ability to understand my comment is somewhat impaired.
        Whether Keynes or Krugman or Strangefriend, there’s a simple fact. If I have no money, then whose am I going to spend?
        Yes, the government does have magic money, and printing presses.
        You can print as much as you like and spend it like water…
        Zimbabwe tried to spend its way out of trouble, like you suggest. That worked out well, didn’t it?
        And yes, I’d like to see, for instance, a stop on developing the next generation nuclear submarines, and a great many other government schemes, moving what money we have towards education, health, and trying to halt the decline and export of industry.

        What I’ve seen of the demonstrations, from youtube posted personal videos, and news footage does not support the description of “police brutality against minor protestors”, it shows a fairly confrontational crowd with some individually aggressive members, trying to break through police lines.
        The passage quoted by Boing-Boing “I watch a surge of teenagers carrying a rack of iron railings towards the riot guard and howling to be released, I realise they’re not going to stop”, suggests that there will be an expected outcome.

        It’s easy to provoke a clash, try to break through a police barrier and they will first tell you to stop, to back off. Ignore that, and keep going and they will stop you. It might hurt.

        I’ve demonstrated for human rights in a country that offers pretty much none to foreigners. I had my own leather-jacketed secret policeman following me for a while.
        I had men with folders of photographs checking me out at my place of work. I received warnings, and threats.

        Believe me, London’s not hard on protestors.

        1. OK I apologize, but you must realize you are wrong. And wrong in a way that could lead to mass starvation, riots, revolution & dictatorship. It sounds like you got to experience the joys of Communism, but let me hip you to the fact that the free market eats its’ own. In the US, depressions always seemed to engender groups of men marching to DC to demand money, jobs, food. Google Cox’s Army & the Bonus Expeditionary Force. As I said, go read Paul Krugman. YOU aren’t supposed to spend money in a Depression. You don’t have it. The government does. THEY are the ones supposed to spend it, through jobs program like the WPA. Because core prices are deflating, not rising, this IS the time the government can get away with printing & spending more money. Otherwise we are going to get stuck in a liquidity trap for the next 10 to 20 years.

  27. I wonder how long it’ll be before the tide is turning.

    Back were I grew up in September the cops pulled a similar stunt. Only problem: There were highschool students there which had a protest permit and most of the protesters were “conservative” people in their 60s and 70s who suddenly found themselves gassed and washed away with water canons (the cops used those too to shoot people out of trees).

    If anything will come off of it remains to be seen, but the interesting thing was that the media by and large questioned the actions by the police and it just looks really bad for cops and politicians if you have a 70 year old widow, upper class from a really nice part of town, tell on national television how she was (mis)treated by the cops.

  28. From talking to someone arrested in a protest and from reading this article, I think it’s common for protestors to be made to pee in their pants. Hurting them, humiliating them, all part of the same thing, stripping humanity and rights from those who think they have any say in government.

    I think if you are protesting you probably need to follow the astronaut, jet pilot (them too) standard and wear some just-in-case incontinence product because you may very likely be put in a situation where you have to go and are not allowed to visit a toilet.

    As for the purpose of such a violent response, it has the same purpose as the increases in tuition. Those in power have a long history of controlling the populace by limiting education, especially for women, the poor, blacks, minorities, etc. This is just the start.

    Here’s hoping some of the kids have been radicalized by this experience.

  29. The police always get away with this, and I’m sure they will again.

    This guy was sprayed with CS gas, only inches from his face, while covered in blood:

    (by the way, the officers got off without even a warning)

    Or when they murdered a pensioner for trying to get out the way of a protest:

    (by the way, the officers got off, again)

    No wonder there’s no respect for the police in the UK.

    But what’s the answer? Even a peaceful protest is riled up by the police, giving them the excuse to beat or murder whomever they like.

    It’s really no surprise that those who want to control others (i.e. those who want to be police to enforce the law) misuse it and overreact. We need police with common sense, and not resorting to Nazi tactics.

    So what can we even do?

  30. Sorry, every time I read stories on the “kettle strategy”, I keep thinking “‘police brutality’? Hey, come to Italy, we’ll show you brutality!”… I bet French and Spanish policemen are also laughing at those “softie” Brits.
    I’d worry more about police bosses sending signals that “the game has changed”; they’re preparing to drop the kettling and go back to old-school charges, I bet.

    (Again: I can’t wait to see the LibDems disappear at the next general election. Mr. Cable and Mr. Kennedy will probably be welcome to join Labour, Mr. Clegg and Mr. Alexander are Tories already so no problem there… everyone else should abandon politics now for their own good, before they’re humiliated by voters.)

  31. Oh hell – this is the very same tactic used at the G20 protests last June in Toronto. An older but still serviceable police car was driven to the back of the crowd on Queen Street, all the standard police equipment (radio, computer) was removed and the windows were left rolled down.

    Video here:

    This is the police car you see burning in almost all of the media coverage, although it is totally non-representative of the week-long protest up to that point. Along with footage of the “Black Block” smashing storefronts it became the de-facto justification for all the kettling, arrests and police brutality that followed. Given the $1 billion cost of this summit it’s doubtless that the sacrifice of an old police car was probably the most cost-effective media strategy that anyone came up with: It outraged the millions of people who saw the photos and video but who were not there. I’m disgusted to see police forces around the world copying this tactic – exploiting the anger of people whose right to protest is denied combined with the laziness of most media, who just want a good image.

  32. Naive protestors + out-of-proportion and violent police response = a *whole new generation* of pissed-off radical protestors.

    Thank you, police.

  33. I…don’t understand. How is a kettle legal? How is it justifiable? NEVERMIND, DON’T TELL ME, I WANT MY BUBBLE OF IGNORANCE BACK.

  34. I thought it was generally known that “Children of Men” had nothing to do with fertility. A lot of comments here challenge my belief.

  35. Kettling has been going on for long enough now and protesters should be prepared for escape – climbing gear, rope ladders etc. Or try lifting manholes and getting out through the sewers? You need to plan for your opponent’s moves.

  36. The Daily Mail have finally reported about the police horses being used in the demo, but surprise, surprise, they’ve used the least contentious stills from the video and also dissallowed comments “for legal reasons” on the article… yet yesterday, it was free reign with un moderated comments on the anti demo articles showing pictures of the idiot in the police helmet and the “protesters” trashing the planted police van…

    another thing I have noticed with the DM is that if the comments aren’t going the way they want, they do a minor edit of the article, change the url and clear all the existing comments… that or push it off the front page so you have to have bookmarked it or know what terms to search for it under… and even then, it can be hidden from your search.

  37. Teller’s Rule: Never give away anything free you may charge for in the future.*

    *Wireless companies excepted.

  38. Peacefull protest is dead. He who does not fight along side you is just as guilty of treason as the fascist police and military. Complacence is a crime against humanity. The military industrial complex has used a system of fear against the masses, as a means of controll. This fear is illusory. Keep fighting for true freedom, an eye for an eye, and never be silenced.

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