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Policewatch Films

Sunday, 18 January 2009

500 pigs, 20 horses, 16 dogs, 2 starbucks

Following Israel's announcement that they'd killed enough Palestinians to be going on with, London's lamest decided to celebrate the military success by going on a rampage through the West End, terrifying the decent people going about their normal business, with helmetted hordes and triplets of SWAT-style vans speeding in every direction chasing shadows and shebab.

Yesterday, there was a Palestine Solidarity rally in Trafalgar Square from 2pm, and an obvious possibility that people would afterwards return to the Israeli Green Zone in Kensington to demonstrate their opposition to Israel's humanitarian efforts, which this week included using white phosphorus shells for the strangely frowned upon purpose of burning down UNRWA food and medicine warehouses.

Clearly, such ill-tempered tetchyness from the demonstrators could not be facilitated.

The Met said an appropriate policing response had been prepared or as one BTP PSU Sergeant remarked "You can see why the Met would go a bit overboard after fucking up two weeks in a row."

What the Met spokesman meant was that any march from Trafalgar Square to the embassy had been banned, in accordance with the well-worn provisions of the Ways and Means Act 1414. The whole area around Trafalgar Square was swollen with van upon van (60+) of bored PSUs & TSG, dog handlers from three forces, horse lorries and of course, surveillance units in 4x4s. On Suffolk Street long and short shields hung in rows on railings, such was the eagerness to facilitate lawful protest.

By 4pm there were approx four to five thousand * people in the square, when the speeches drew to an end. As Tony Benn was being put back in his box, streaks of fluorescent yellow stained the surrounding streets, determined to prevent any serious disruption to the career of Bob Broadhurst.

A section of the crowd exited the square by the South West corner and headed for Pall Mall, where they found themselves confronted by a formidable number of cops who surrounded them in the now traditional fashion, doubtless "for their own safety".

But it seemed they had overcommitted as other sections of the crowd moved to block Charing Cross Road and Duncannon Street largely unhindered, then thought better of it and headed for Soho and Oxford Street (still aiming to reach the embassy) with police struggling to follow due to the traffic disruption they had themselves caused by blocking the Haymarket / Pall Mall junction.

One group of around 200 protesters jogged down Shaftesbury Avenue, pausing to smash the windows of a Starbucks by Wardour Street, and the windows of another Starbucks on Piccadilly before finally being cut off at Green Park, only metres from a third round of glass lattes.

Meanwhile at the embassy itself there was relative calm, with a shaky ceasefire mostly holding behind the sandbags, but despite this the police still felt the necessity to round everyone up and force them on to trains perhaps as collective punishment for overdoing the holocaust references.

This week, as Gaza clears its rubble and counts its dead, and the IDF decides how far to pull back, how much to loosen the noose, it's unlikely the rage will go away, next Saturday will probably be one to watch.

* The Met's official estimate was 3,500 - but we all know they're no better at counting crowds than Geoff Jackson is at counting his units.

P.S. The FIT keep coming out with comments to anarchos on these demos like "why would you care about Gaza", "it's not your lot involved, why are you here", which shows once again how utterly pisspoor their 'intelligence' is, in every sense. We're completely impartial, wherever there's a thug in uniform getting his kicks by giving out kicks, whether he's a jumped-up security guard or a tooled-up Zionist, that's our lot on the other end of it. Never forget, we do all of this because we give a fuck.


Sheelba said...

There were several interesting features of yesterday's demonstration.

Firstly, it was unusual to see so many plod from Tower Hamlets, both among the FIT and the Level 2s. Could this be because of a belief that many of the Asian demonstrators were from the Whitechapel area?

Secondly, the long and short shields were in evidence before anyone even thought of leaving the square. Metcountymounty has claimed that these need to be authorised at a senior level before deployment. While it's understandable for the police to make preparations for contingencies, putting these items out on open display seems provocative gesture.

Finally, it was useful to note that the police retain an inability to deal with roving groups once they've committed themselves to a course of action. The deployment of most officers to the west of the Square, they had scant reserves to cope with the two groups, one in front of the National Gallery and the other which moved up from the Whitehall end of the Square and proceeded up Charing Cross Road.

The police have had several weeks to come up with a scheme which would allow them to cope with the demonstrations, yet despite their greatest minds (hah!) working on the difficulty they've proved unable to work one out. In the meantime the demonstrators have come to gain a greater knowledge of the array of public order tactics commonly used by the police to the extent that it seems likely the police will find it very hard to deal with these increasingly organized and aware people. In fact, where demonstrators often play a part in the public order training of the police, these demonstrators have the boot on the other foot and have had a rapid fortnight's course in public order tactics courtesy of the Met. See, for example, the footage on the BNP website, where in the top film you can hear demonstrators on the 10 January demonstration talking about getting their hands on the FIT's camera.

It will be interesting to see where things are taken in the coming weeks and months.

notsofit said...

The cops seemed to be very jumpy and were rushing in to block the way whenever more than ten people tried to move in the same direction at the same time. It was great seeing the little bubble on Cockspur Street dissolve as a much larger crowd approached, although the police just switched to blocking the road a little further from Trafalgar Square.

More photos, mainly of FIT officers,

unpenned said...

"Firstly, it was unusual to see so many plod from Tower Hamlets, both among the FIT and the Level 2s. Could this be because of a belief that many of the Asian demonstrators were from the Whitechapel area?"

Interesting. When I was on my way home from the demo on the district line, having been escorted to Victoria, I woke up from a doze to find 4 transport police getting on at Whitechapel (I quickly got off). Could be coincidence, but I did wonder whether they might have been there looking for some demonstrators, having assumed many of the Muslim youth might live around Whitechapel.

keep 'em peeled said...

On 10 Jan HT940 (ginger fellow) was out & about for the FIT; on Saturday HT688 (lardy shy bloke) was accompanied by HT913. Both HT940 and HT688 seen on 14 December filming at the top of Brick Lane (bagel shop end) on 'Operation Timbar', a Tower Hamlets op against youth on youth crime and related disorder. What was particularly strange was few of the people they were filming are any longer in the bloom of youth!

really fit said...

Many thanks for the info, 'keep 'em peeled', it's nice to know what the buggers are up to. 'Harassment policing' seems to be everywhere these days. And is it me, or do they have more coppers doing FIT now than they used to? Looking at notsofits pics, there are a lot there I don't recognise. Must be all the new job opportunities hassling not-so-youths in the housing estates of London.

Anonymous said...

Due to a 'Power cut' the police felt the need to maintain a presence in a van on Derbyshire Street, Bethnal Green last night (Derbyshire street had full power to all street lamps and buildings). It is not coincidental in the slightest that a STWC activist meeting was taking place in the centre the van was outside. The police asked the receptionist to inform them of any "political meetings taking places this evening", but this was obviously to facilitate policing of the 'Blackout'. The police attempted to question us as we entered the meeting, and when challenged could not keep up a coherent story. They were incredibly curious to know what time the meeting finished, apparently to protect us from the 'local oiks'. As we left they were still there and from the pub across the street we saw them depart not long after, apparently the none existent blackout didn't trouble them anymore......

Police checking up on political meetings?? Harassment of the Stop the War organisation??

No.... NEVER

Anonymous said...

PS Comment
"Both HT940 and HT688 seen on 14 December filming at the top of Brick Lane (bagel shop end)"

Good bagels, I suggest the salt beef and mustard......easy on that mustard though baby!....Oh and they are GTP !