Today’s demonstration outside the bank of England was directionless and leaderless, but otherwise vibrant. It was also marred by severe police brutality, certainly the worst protesters have experienced this year, eclipsing the police violence at January’s Gaza protests. Today one man died. Seven were taken to hospital. Tens were given medical assistance. After the wave of police brutality that occurred at around 7.30pm when hemmed-in protesters – thirsty, hungry and cold – attempted to break through the police cordon and escape, many were left bleeding. A number had head wounds. One young man knelt on the ground with his head in his hands. Another sat on the floor crying.
I was knocked to the ground and trampled underneath others who were trying to flee the police batons. A well-built man dragged me to my feet; it was painful but I’m grateful to have escaped with nothing worse than bruises. Following the crush, riot police ran into the mass of protesters, hitting people with both their batons and their shields. Many protesters were shaken and dazed. Easy targets. This early on, little is known about the man who died on the demonstration. I saw an unconscious man taken away by ambulance- I can’t say whether this was him, or indeed whether he was killed in the crush, from a police baton, or from something else entirely. Already, however, the police appear to be covering up their role in the violence, portraying protesters as mindless hooligans and removing the media focus from their own thuggish attacks against unarmed protesters.
Following the attack I have described above, reinforcements of riot police arrived to guard every exit. The last chance at escape has been lost, and protesters were subsequently detained for another 1.5 hours. Even then, we were only allowed out 1-by-1, with each protester being escorted away by their own police officer (and led past barking and snarling police dogs…) Most were searched and several of the so-called “trouble makers” arrested.
The police had also set about decimating Climate Camp, while many of the Climate Campers were otherwise engaged (being beaten by cops) outside the banks.
Please note: there have been minor edits to this article to remove any suggestion that the man who died was directly attacked by the police.