I attended a Climate Camp event on Bishopsgate on the 31st March. I arrived at 12.30pm, and spent the day at workshops about climate change, talking to people and having a picnic. We moved freely in and out of Bishopsgate, and there was a great atmosphere. Lots of people working in the City and press were milling about.
Later at 7.05pm (I was reading a text I’d just received), I saw riot police move in from the South East of Bishopsgate. I was stood on the South west side of the road. I could see riot helmets moving in, and batons raised and raining down on people attending the climate camp. From this time on the Climate Camp was surrounded by police, and no-one could get in or out. This attack was to get a row of police on the pavement on the east side of Bishopsgate, about a third of the way along the length of the Camp.
At 10.20pm (another text received), I was sat at a meeting across Bishopsgate at the southern end of the Camp. We were trying to decide how to move to the middle of Bishopsgate, as the Campers at the southern end were isolated from those at the northern end of the Camp, as we thought the police on the eastern pavement would split the Camp into two. Riot police were flanking the group at the Southern side, and we were using the Bicycology sound system to provide amplification for the meeting.
At 11.18pm (another text), the Climate Camp southern end had moved approximately 25 metres forward. The Bicycology sound system was being used to co-ordinate another move forwards. I joined the line of about three deep of Campers sat across Bishopsgate at the southern end of the Camp, with a row of about two deep of police directly behind them. We were trying to move the southern Campers northwards in an orderly fashion. The police were pushing into us, and jostling the line as we tried to walk in a line.
The riot police were amassing at the South side just behind where we were moving, so when we got to where we wanted to stop, the Campers sat down. I witnessed a female officer, small and blonde, in the third row of the riot police geeing the police up and shouting “grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr fucking move” at us. I also witnessed a male officer punching and hitting a man in the head with his riot shield. I think this was the officer who later assaulted me, but cannot be sure.
The police suddenly charged from the south, and all the Campers sat down in front of them. Myself and three friends were at the very western end of the southern line of Campers. We were sat on the pavement, but the police kept threatening to arrest us for obstruction. Then the riot police charged, pretty much over us. I learnt afterwards that they did this to attack the Bicycology sound system, which was approx 15 feet north of us and was being used to co-ordinate our movement north.
As the police ran over us they were treading on people and hitting people with their riot shields. My head and body (knee and ribs) were trampled on, as I lay on the floor covering my head with my hands. I was very scared. A male (a police officer I think) lost his balance, and sat on my head. The full force of him on my head was considerable. My friends were also trampled on. I sat up when the police stopped running over us, and was punched approximately five times in the head as I sat on the floor covering my head with my hands. Witnesses around me pointed out the man who had punched me. His number was D349. He was dark skinned and dark eyed (possibly from an Arab country), stubble, big lips, stocky build (but then wearing riot gear – who can tell).
I have bruising on my head, and aches and pains over my body. I visited St Thomas’ A&E Dept. on 2nd April, and have a letter saying I had sustained concussion and bruising. I was still suffering headaches on Friday 10th April. I lost my hat in the attack, but think it saved me suffering further injury at the time. I think the officers riot gloves also prevented the punching causing me further injury.
Despite being injured and crying, I was not offered the opportunity to leave the kettle or see a medic. A male legal observer filmed the police officers who had assaulted us. One of them had turned his badge over, and would not give his number to the legal observer. I think his number was CP282. He was tall and broad, with dark hair, and acne scars on his face. He was filmed refusing to give his number, and eventually one of his colleagues read it out. The police taunted us saying things like: do you think you are Che Guevara, and do you think you are Gandhi. I saw a police officer saying a woman was pushing her rucksack into him, when she was standing still, and he was jostling into her. Jane heard him say “you must be a leftie, with a face like that.” I was stood up at this point. His number was U2094.
We had become separated from the main group by police, after the charging in for the sound system, so we were trying to move closer to the main group of Campers. The police were dragging people out one-by-one, so we sat down again. My friend was one of the first to be dragged out, and this looked to be a rough process.
We stood up again,and I saw the same legal observer, asking for a receipt for a rucksack which police had confiscated from a man. They would not give one, or give a reason for taking the rucksack. The man who had lost it was dark skinned, with a foreign accent, possible Arabic. Thin, with pronounced cheekbones. Eventually the police threw the rucksack at the legal observer.
We moved closer to the main group, and sat down in the front line of the main group. This was probably in the middle of the road now. The police were pulling people out one-by-one again. The police were using their riot shields on people’s arms and legs. I was becoming increasingly upset and scared.
I saw a police officer repeatedly beating a man in the head with his riot shield. I did not see the blood, but others were shouting “why are you beating that man, he is bleeding.” I was sickened and terrified by this beating. It was so violent, with a riot shield to a man’s head. I did have the foresight to write down the exact time and the officer’s number though. It was at 12.45pm, and his number was CP49. I could not say what the officer or the victim looked like.
I was becoming increasingly upset, and scared. I’d had to sit on the front line through approximately three more police charges following my assault, as people were dragged out individually. As my friend said, I was starting to freak out. At this point, I was given my first opportunity to leave voluntarily, and I took it. The riot police walked us out of the immediate kettle area, and two police officers (not in riot gear) walked us out of the area past the police vans. The female officer enquired if I was ok, as I was clearly confused and upset. A Climate Camp medic approached me when we got past the police vans, but I just wanted to find my friends and go home. I checked my phone and had received a message at 12.39am from my friend who had been pulled out saying she was ok, and had not been arrested. I rang her at this point, and her telephone shows it was 12.54pm.
As we co-ordinated meeting up, a team of approximately 12 police were leaving the area, and getting in a police van. One of them was deliberately swaggering past us, and shouting “I get paid at the end of the month.” .”