‘repeatedly beaten on the head with a riot shield’

Statement re dispersal of Climate Camp from southern end of Bishopsgate between 11:30 and 1:00, approx, ½ April 2009.

By around 11:15 at night there was a row approximately 3 deep of Climate Campers sat across Bishopsgate at the southern end of the Camp, with a row maybe 2 deep of police just behind them. A row of police had also moved up the pavement on the east side of Bishopsgate, as far as the European Climate Exchange. The Campers at the southern end were quite isolated from those at the northern end of the Camp, as there was a lot of empty space in the middle and it looked likely that the police on the eastern pavement would move in and split the Camp into two. The Campers at the southern end were trying to move northwards up Bishopsgate in an orderly fashion. The police suddenly charged from the south, and so all the Campers sat down in front of them. My friend and I joinded the very western end of the southern line of Campers, sat on the pavement on the western side of Bishopsgate.

At around 11:45 some riot police ran in, pretty much over us, to attack the Bicycology soundsystem, which was approx 10 or 15 feet north of us and was being used to co-ordinate our movement north. As they ran over us they were treading on people and hitting people with their riot shields. My friend was trampled on and punched five times in the head as she sat on the floor by officer D349 and sustained concussion and bruising – she was seen on 2nd April at St Thomas’ and has a letter to this effect.  Also an officer (possibly the same one) fell and sat on her head.

I was trodden on and still have bruising on my little finger. A man near us was repeatedly beaten on the head with a riot shield, in spite of people telling the officer doing the beating that he was bleeding. The police at the time were claiming that the man was resisting arrest and therefore they were using reasonable force. The man being beaten looked like he was in his mid to late twenties, and had light brown long hair. He was bleeding from a cut on his forehead.

The soundsystem was pushed over and the police ripped the microphone off it, I don’t know how badly damaged it is.

Before this point the police had not given us any opportunity to leave. While we were sat on the ground they kept threatening to arrest us for obstruction (we were actually sat on the pavement so I don’t know if that is still technically obstruction). We called a legal observer over who filmed and took the numbers of the officers who had been punching my friend and hitting the man with the riot shield. I made a note of both numbers – D349, who had been punching my friend (darkskinned officer with heavy stubble) and CP282.

After this first surge some police had taken up position along the pavement on the western side of Bishopsgate; approximately ten officers were lined up two deep at right angles to me, in front of me, so that I, and my friend, and a couple of other people were in a policeman sandwich, forming a small offshoot to the main group of Climate Campers, with police both in front and behind us. One of the police in front of me was pushing the Climate Camper who was stood in front of him with her back to him, claiming that she was pushing into him with her rucksack. She said that she hadn’t moved and he was pushing her. At one point he said to his colleague “she must be left wing, with a face like that.” This officer’s number was U2094.
We managed to rejoin the main group of Climate Campers and all sat down again. At around 12:15 the police dragged the person next to me out through the southern police cordon. I saw him later and can get in touch with him if necessary. I was dragged out fairly shortly afterwards –I would estimate the time as being about 12:30. My friend had to sit through another three police charges before police allowed her to leave voluntarily at around 12:50; she said this was the first time she had been given the option to leave.

A lot of people got separated from their property, and as far as I know belongings that were left after the Camp was cleared were taken as rubbish by Corporation of London cleanup crews – I saw them arrive as we leave, and didn’t notice any police insignia on the vans or uniforms on the staff.

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