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Friday, 9 January 2009

FIT policing at the Gaza demo

The Gaza demonstration last Saturday (3rd Jan) was justifiably passionate, angry and determined, and there were many more there than the 12,000 that the police claimed.

FIT coppers looked edgy from the start, focussing special attention on anyone who looked young Muslim and militant. But with such huge numbers of people, many wearing Arab scarves around their faces, it could hardly have been an easy day out for the FIT photographers.

Public order cops were aggressive from the start too. The one pictured above posed delightfully for a shot, and even introduced himself - CO 5484 Churchman from CO11 (his friends call him Bob). But then he appeared to have a sudden change of heart. Aggressively he grabbed hold of my camera phone and tried to pull it out of my hands. ‘You are going to delete that’ he shouted in my face. ‘You can’t photograph us’. After a brief stand-off in which I refused to let go of my camera, he gave up and turned his attention to bullying someone else.

He and his CO11 colleagues were clearly in a similar frame of mind when they tried to block in the march to the Israeli embassy at Hyde Park Corner underpass. Eyewitness accounts have emerged that police baton charged protesters on a march that had been, until then, entirely peaceful.

It seemed inevitable that there would be confrontation outside the Israeli Embassy, and so there was. Edgy and wound-up TSG sought to protect a small bit of Israel in London, while the Israeli military was pounding Gaza with rockets and artillery. The tightly penned in crowd eventually broke throught the crowd control barrier, with bits of it being returned to the police much faster than they may have wanted. FIT evidence gatherers found a roof balcony from which to film and photograph unhindered the angry crowd below, and powerful police and helicopter floodlights lit up the scene. Yet most of the more militant protaganists had covered their faces well with scarves, and had done so from early in the demo. I suspect that all in all, the FIT did not have such a good day.

14 comments:

James Allison said...

DC Churchman - if you've nothing to hide you've nothing to fear.

Ben said...

No offence but if you are going to hide your identity by wearing a scarf round your face you are going to attract the attention of "FIT" officers due to the high terrorism threat that is present in the UK at this time. Concealing your face leads to the obvious assumption that you may have something to hide. You will stick out from the crowd!!!! Be thankful that you are still allowed to protest on the streets of London and be thankful of the British democracy- I can't see you coming home unscathed from an anti government march on the streets of Tehran!!

Anonymous said...

"Concealing your face leads to the obvious assumption that you may have something to hide."

It's only obvious if you think "Nothing to hide, nothing to fear" is a valid form of reasoning. Here's a hint; it's not.

Anonymous said...

Why challenge police officers who are there to keep the peace? Someone has given them orders to be there but you naming them and putting their photos on a website only puts them and potentially their families in harms way. Open your eyes and think a little more about the danger you could be causing to other people

Tullamore Dew said...

Ben

It's January. People wear scarves round their faces in January. Haven't you noticed that the cold leads to an outbreak of people concealing their faces in the winter? It seems you have all the makings of a fine detective.

2nd Anonymous

If you're still falling for the canard that the police are there to 'keep the peace', there's scant hope for you. No one orders people to join the police, and no one orders people in the police to join the FIT or the TSG. They are there because they want to be. And there are consequences to that. Are you bringing families into it because of altruistic concern, or because we're getting closer?

pook said...

The police are there to do a job..for us. If they have nothing to hide then they nothing to fear from being watched by us. As long as they are just doing what we tell them, namely, upholding our laws.

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

Say, have you guys ever heard of copwatch?

Anonymous said...

PS Comment
Been away for a bit, have I missed anything. I hear STW stewards are the new enemy....

Anonymous said...

"Why challenge police officers who are there to keep the peace? Someone has given them orders to be there but you naming them and putting their photos on a website only puts them and potentially their families in harms way. Open your eyes and think a little more about the danger you could be causing to other people"

um what utter rubbish, the police make it up, just to suit them selves and 'gather evidence' evidence of what, a database of dissenters, which they use to target and intimidate people, when doing lawful activities, sound familiar, ever looked into east german police, in the old ddr, sound familiar, by all means arrest the criminals and the terrorist, but with intelligence rather than spurious oppression of freedom and complete lack of sense.

This country is fast going down the tube where the police are concerned, the government make laws up which are badly worded. and the police love to twist their interpretation to get convictions and stats which favour their promotion, partly both the governments problem and the police. The police are no longer educated to think, they merely do, that is not policing its dictatorship.

listen more to what people like george galloway says on these matters and look at infowars.

prime example here.

http://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/news/MP_Photographers_arrest_was_abuse_of_terror_laws_news_275000.html

and I am not a photographer, the use of terror laws is for exceptional circumstances which i do in some way support but not for spurious use because you can get away with it. its a long discussion but your point is poor.

peace

Oh come on...... said...

It's January. People wear scarves round their faces in January..

It's January - people smash up Starbucks in January - then they steal all the mugs!

Do try and keep your lies close to reality!

Tullamore Dew said...

It's only a pity one Starbucks got what it so richly deserved. Perhaps this year every month there'll be a Starbucks whacked.

Oberon K Tortoisehead said...

The Metropolitan Police committed high treason when they raided Damian Green's office - Parliament is sovereign. The Metropolitan police committed murder at Stockwell tube station. They then lied about the events and attempted to smear the victim's character. The Metropolitan Police committed high treason when they awarded themselves powers of summary execution on suspicion alone. They are fascist quisling scum, implementing the totalitarian agenda of Brown's wantonly criminal regime. And I will live to see the day that they are held accountable for their crimes.

Mr Plod, you have forgotten that you are a public servant. Mr Plod, you would do well to remember that a clear judicial precedent was set 60 years ago whereby saying that you were 'following orders' is no defence in a court of law!

Anonymous said...

PS Comment

But we do get free travel

Anonymous said...

Well thanks to the Fits/CCTV soon people are going to have no choice other than to disguise their faces at demonstrations.

Anonymous said...

"people smash up Starbucks in January - then they steal all the mugs"

They only took them to give them to the needy police, mugs for mugs!