Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Student protests

Half an hour ago I got accidentally caught inside a police defence line. Batons raised up against me it was a wall of black and yellow - like angry wasps blocking my way. I had gone out from work to collect my contact lenses (yes I'm obviously very dangerous) at Oxford Circus and bumped into a student protest. They were banging drums, holding a few protest signs, shouting a bit. There were almost as many police officers and riot vans. When even more police arrived the protestors sensed they might be being kettled and began to move....

(Kettled by the way is the police tactic that sees them trap and contain protestors in a small area. Protestors, finding they are trapped, get very angry and violent, then they calm down and just want to go home. This tactic is supposed to be only used when protestors are already violent. last week my friend Max who is doing a phd got caught in such a holding and was there for 10 hours in the cold with no food or rest).

...anyway as soon as they started trying to move the police, sensing they might loose their opportunity to contain the students went mental, running, and driving riot vans across the central road island to block their path, straight into protestors. I saw an unarmed man who looked like a geeky mature student grabbed by three police officers and pinned against a police man roughly while he held his hands up in a gesture of peace.

The scene was too much for me. I have huge sympathy for the students and I hate to hear about peaceful demonstrations that are brutally controlled by the police. I started crying. At that point I found myself faced by the wall of police officers with batons. It was threatening and frightening. I walked straight at the line slowly and looked at the floor, they let me pass.

Max told me that last week while the papers reported the bad behaviour of the student protesters and made them seem like extremists, they didn't report that there was a protest held by older graduates with their children, as well as younger school students that was charged by police on horses.

The police force should be ashamed. David cameron and Nick Clegg should be ashamed. In a democratic country this should not be happening.

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