Inside Climate Camp kettle

Before 7pm the camp was totally friendly and relaxed, so relaxed that I was dozing in the tent for a little while. I woke up to chants of ‘this is not a riot’ and left the tent to see that the police had formed a kettle. This was just after the charge shown in the video and the atmosphere was naturally tense. We started to defend the sides of the camp and sat on the curb in front of a line of riot police, some still holding their batons. I guess that this was about 8pm; we must have sat around that curb for 3 hours or more and in all that time the closest thing I saw to aggression from the protesters came from one unseen person who threw a plastic cup at the police behind us. The policeman commented to us on the curb that we ought to move or we would take the brunt of the missiles; it was clear that they were expecting violence on our side. At about 11.30 (?) the line of riot police at the north end moved forward, I believe that this was agreed with the protesters as we didn’t have enough people left to fill the space. However, shortly after that those of us at the side were standing up facing the police line when they rushed forward and pushed us forcefully backwards with their shields, pushed us towards the middle while the police line at the north end did likewise to that line of protesters. I couldn’t see too clearly, but I saw clusters of police forming around individual protesters and certainly acting aggressively if not using batons. There were shouts of ‘sit down, sit down’ and the police had to stop advancing as several hundred people sat down at once. Once again there were chants of ‘this is not a riot’ and ‘shame on you’ and the police stopped and some raised their visors. Someone nearby asked if they were trying to get rid of us; the police officer answered that they only wanted to move us closer to the south end, but this was generally pronounced to be bullshit. Everyone on the ground linked arms but then the police started hauling individuals up and out of the crowd; they grabbed legs and arms and in one case yanked a man by his ear. Everything got quite chaotic at this point; the protesters discussed whether to move up to the south end as the north was starting to seem a hopeless cause and we decided that we would move, but that we would shuffle sitting down to avoid being shoved again. A policeman told me that the protest was now unlawful and that I was liable for arrest under section X. Why unlawful? ‘Well, clearly someone has acted aggressively’. Again, while this was happening I did not see any violence on the part of the protesters. They were still pulling people out and my friends and I ended up in the first two lines, when a woman near us refused to move the policeman trying to pull her out grabbed her by her scarf and pulled and I heard the people around her shout that they were being kicked. My friends and I shuffled backwards but soon we were among the last people sitting down and it seemed unsafe not to stand. So we stood up, the police rushed and we were pushed by shields, shouted at to keep moving and pushed into the tents that were still all around. As the police line advanced we had to jump over or trample on the tents, one of which had caught fire. My friend tried to take her tent but the police pulled it away from the other side and marched forward until everyone was evicted from the south end. Basically, the actions of the police were ugly, unnecessary and soured a completely peaceful event.

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One response to “Inside Climate Camp kettle

  1. I think they may have said section 44, but I can’t remember very well.

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