Richard Wilson's blog

richardcameronwilson AT yahoo dot co dot UK

Posts Tagged ‘G20 protests

Duncan Campbell on Police misinformation around the G20 summit

with one comment

From The Guardian

Some of the miles and miles of footage that was shot has now been given to the Guardian and shared across the internet. It shows Tomlinson, who was not a demonstrator but one of the many people unable to leave the melee, being thrown to the ground a few moments before he died of a heart attack. Far from the police coming under attack, at this stage Tomlinson is only cared for by a demonstrator. Do the police have their own film of what happened?

What is also striking is that, so soon after the inquest into the death of the Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes, assumptions about a suspicious death should be so swiftly made and the official version accepted so unquestioningly. One of the Met’s major problems in the wake of de Menezes was the feeling that misinformation about the circumstances of his death was allowed to linger too long in the public domain.

Of course, the police are under pressure to come up with instant information for the ever-increasing media outlets. A man has died. How? Why? Who was he? It is hardly suprising that the police’s best take on the incident – that they were the subject of attack by demonstrators as they tried to save a man’s life – is the one that gets passed out and then gets prime position in the coverage. But when did it become clear to the police, from their own intelligence and video footage, what had actually happened to Tomlinson?

The two lessons must be that, as always, we should never assume that the first official version of a death in suspicious circumstances is accurate. The second lesson must be that the police have now to review their tactics for future demonstrations.

A man with a weak heart died. Was he prevented from leaving a scene of mayhem, of police, mounted and in riot gear, of barking dogs and bonfires? We were meant to recall the G20 summit as the start of a new world order. It may now turn out to be a rather less glorious view of the mechanics of law and order.

Written by Richard Wilson

April 8, 2009 at 6:00 am

Growing concerns over Police brutality at G20 protests

with one comment

A colleague of mine was at last week’s G20 protests, and after witnessing police tactics which seemed to him to be excessively violent and heavy-handed, he decided to set up a Facebook group to prompt a public debate about the issue. In the last few days I’ve spoken to a number of people who were at the protests, and there seems to be a striking disparity between the firsthand accounts that I’ve heard, and the way that the protests were – at least initially – reported by the bulk of the media.

From Facebook

I decided to create this group having gone down to see climate camp, where unnecessarily aggressive police tactics against peaceful protestors made violence inevitable. However since the tragic death of an innocent bystander, who was inexplicably assaulted from behind by a riot policeman this group now stands in solidarity against all forms of disproportionate violence that were meted out against innocent bystanders or peaceful protestors.

Read the account below and watch this video to see the moment it happened

First let me put this in context, I was not involved with any group demonstrating in the city for the G20 protests. I work in marketing, for a charity and have never taken part in direct action. However, I am concerned about climate change – one of the issues on the G20 agenda. I wanted to see exactly what the climate camp contingent were about and what kind of message they wanted world leaders to hear. Considering the vast majority of scientific opinion believes we are in severe danger from climate change and lack of action thus far, I thought they might have pretty important reason to be out on the streets.

I also wanted to see whether reports of heavy handed police tactics’ on earlier demos was accurate.

I’m sorry to say that from what I saw, the police tactics were designed with nothing in mind other than to oppress a peaceful protest and make a violent situation inevitable… [continues]

Written by Richard Wilson

April 7, 2009 at 8:48 pm