A UK court has ruled that kettling -- the police tactic of surrounding peaceful protestors and beating anyone who tries to leave -- was illegal during the Climate Camp demonstration in 2009. This was the same demonstration where a policeman who'd illegally removed his badge struck a passing newsagent from behind. Ian Tomlinson, the newsagent and father of nine, died immediately afterward of internal bleeding.
Officers were told they were containing or detaining those in the climate camp to prevent a breach of the peace. Protesters would be held for hours. Notebooks secured from some officers contain admissions they used violence, but officers said this was to protect themselves or colleagues.
The protesters bringing the case say police were indiscriminate in detaining and isolating the peaceful climate camp. In documents setting out their case, their lawyers say: "The police took action against the climate camp as if it were a violent crowd ... That is how the instruction to impose containment was interpreted by officers on the ground."
The Metropolitan police says kettling, or detaining a mass of people, is a necessary tactic to tackle the potential for violence at demonstrations. The force and its lawyers are expected to study the judgment.
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