Unprovoked violence at Climate Camp

I went down to the climate camp after work on Wednesday as I had heard that it was completely peaceful and I wanted to see what it was like. Unfortunately, I got trapped there when the police first charged and then penned everyone in early in the evening and none of us could get out (this was about 7.00-7.30pm). Footage of this is now on YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlJRi7YR1bU.
During this first, entirely unprovoked, attack I lost my girlfriend in
the crowd – but I later found out she was punched by a policeman while trying to stop another girl being trampled on after being knocked to the floor.

Once that had calmed down, my girlfriend and I found each other and
were sat with others in front of the line of riot police on the south
side of Bishopsgate. It was completely peaceful once again and we were
even joking and talking with the police. We were there for a couple of
hours when they suddenly charged again without any warning (this was about 9.30-10.00pm). We were still sat down and offered no resistance at all. My girlfriend was pressure pointed on the neck (extremely painful), dragged backwards off me and had both her wrists bent behind her back by two policemen who threatened to break them. They dragged her outside the police cordon and then said “what should we do with her now?” before the other said “let’s throw her back in”, which they did – head first, with her hands behind her back. She landed on the floor and has now got severe bruising on her legs (which we have photos of) and very painful wrists (which we actually thought might be broken).

At the same time, I was punched full in the face by one of the
policemen. I was on the floor and absolutely no threat, but he still
punched me. I was pulled up and shoved towards the crowd as a group of policemen descended on me, several of them smashing me in the head repeatedly with the sides of their shields. The whole time I had my hands in the air and did not fight back at all, but that didn’t stop
them. Luckily someone saw what was happening and managed to pull me free from the group of policemen just before they completely surrounded me and cut me off from everyone else. It frightens me to think what they might have done had I not been pulled free. My nose and the side of my head are still very painful, but I was lucky given the damage that they could have caused from hitting me in the head.

Immediately after it happened we saw that the girl we had been sat next to had also been injured and was going into shock. We tried to get her medical attention, but none of us were offered any assistance at all by the police.

We eventually managed to bluff our way out of the police cordon about
11.30pm, just as things were beginning to turn nasty there (the police
had by this point brought in dogs). I feel very sorry for the other
peaceful demonstrators who were trapped there. I should make it clear
that at no point during the 5-6 hours I was there did I see any
violence from anyone who was in the camp (there were no ‘anarchists’ or people smashing things up), it was entirely the police who were
violent. I have a feeling that this is going to be the sort of heavy-handed tactics we will witness far more frequently from the police, particularly if we experience the “summer of rage” that the head of the Met’s public order branch has predicted.

We gave a brief video statement and our contact details to one of the
legal observers at the time, and I have since followed up by email. I
will also write to my MP to see what assistance he can give. Any advice
or assistance any of you can provide would also be greatly appreciated
(particularly in relation to obtaining any CCTV footage of the attack).

Most of you know me well and know that I would not have been involved in any violent behaviour or in anyway provoked this kind of response from the police. This was an entirely peaceful event up until the police moved in, and the policing tactics used that evening at
Bishopsgate were entirely disproportionate and completely counter-productive.

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8 responses to “Unprovoked violence at Climate Camp

  1. Thankyou for writing this up and raising awareness about what happened to you. It is horrific how the police behaved and I hope you can seek justice. I’ll be at the protest against police conduct this Saturday supporting you and everyone else who was assaulted and intimidated by police last week.

  2. This is just how they policed the Climate Camp last year. Not once did anyone offer violence back, but they still charged with batons. They’re just thugs and cowards when beating up defenseless people like that.
    I spent the night at hospital with a friend who got knocked unconscious by the police. We can never have public order whilst the police are allowed to behave in this way!

  3. Thank you for your story, and for general awareness-raising about police violence.

    However, also in the spirit of awareness-raising, I must point out that there were LOTS of anarchists at the Climate Camp — Climate Camp is itself an organisation run along anarchist principles — it’s just that most anarchists are not the violent rioters that the mainstream media would have you think we are!

  4. I understand what you say mhuzzell, but the people in London last week at the Climate Camp were not rioting, and plenty of video footage shows ALL the violence came from the police. At last years Climate Camp they were all in a field. The police left the site by choice, then used force to try and get back on site. Not once did any one fight back!
    Although like most groups, there are anarchists who are looking for trouble, and were perhaps in London that day, they were not amongst the Climate Camp that evening as the police charged. This was totally unprovoked violence by police who wouldn’t let people out, but then beat them because they were there!
    My friend was hit with a riot shield and kicked in the head, then dragged away. She was sitting on the floor with a small defenseless group surrounded by the police with no way out to safety. She suffered serious concussion, and a shoulder injury. On this occasion, the police were just thugs!

    • Being an injured party in the riots, after an unprovoked attack (as stated above), I’m just thankful that I made it out of the whole violent mess with people to support me.
      I witnessed children (YES I DID SAY CHILDREN), amoungst the protestors begging the police to let them out, and they would not allow them to join their fellow friends and family members who were sectioned off in another area.
      I’m truly thankful that after my injuries, I had some amazing people there to help me, and one truly incredible friend who accompanied me in the ambulance and stayed with me in hospital whilst I was treated for my injuries.
      A beautifully peaceful, non confrontational day was ruined by the sheer ignorance and violence of the police, and they should be truly ashamed of themselves!!!!

  5. Yes, I know that both this Climate Camp and the last one were non-violent; I was there for both of them.

    My point is just that many, if not most (hard to pin down a ‘most’, but I suspect most) anarchists are also non-violent. ‘Anarchist’ != ‘violent troublemaker’!

  6. Unfortunately many people do see Anarchy as meaning trouble due to the lawless aspect, but it seems to be more collective decision making rather than total lawlessness.
    It does seem to be just a small minority that are looking for trouble, but that’s the same with pretty much all groups/religions etc. the few spoil it for the majority!

  7. Here is some footage of the police attack

    http://www.prisonplanet.com/unseen-footage-riot-police-attack-peaceful-protesters-at-g20.html

    maybe you should have fought back!

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