G20 Protests: Still Fighting At Bank

By Londonist Last edited 106 months ago
G20 Protests: Still Fighting At Bank

eat_bankers.jpg
Image by Chris Coltrane
There's not been a great deal of change at Bank. That branch of RBS had its windows smashed (the BBC's got a photo of someone doing the smashing, surrounded, or egged on, by photographers) and word is, a small group of protesters went in, started a small fire and smashed up or nicked computer equipment before being forced out by riot police. That's really classy.

Police cordons are still in place although some protesters got out (it's not clear whether they were allowed out or broke through the lines) at Queen Victoria Street. There's now another confrontation on the same street as riot police attempt to push the crowds back, so it probably wasn't a controlled release, then.

Flashpoints are appearing all over the Bank area with injuries to police and protesters, but in the centre of the main kettle there's music and dancing (Rage Against the Machine was heard earlier!). A major bonus is a portaloo on Lombard Street so at least people can now pee.

Climate Camp on Bishopsgate sounds like the nicest place to be today - and the most impressive. They've already set up kitchens and compost toilets, with theatre performances keeping people entertained. Police are allowing people in and out. It might be a nice thing to visit in all this sunshine.

The Stop the War march has reached Trafalgar Square and their rally has started. And any time now the Alternative Summit should be starting, assuming they can get into the University of East London.

Last Updated 01 April 2009

johnny51

My lunchtime protest account:

With so many different groups protesting, there was no real chanting and stuff. Just a lot of people milling around outside bank. Nice brass band playing, lots of placards and the ocasional anarchist with half a haircut.

Only people causing problems I saw were the police stopping people from leaving. They closed off all 5 streets around bank and wouldn't let anyone in or out.

Closing the streets trapping 2,000+ people right outside one of the banks they were protesting against, RBS, was perhaps not the best idea. Rumours where I was they had stared smashing windows and trying to gain entry.

Where I was it was a slightly different story, 1000 people trying to leave after a sunny afternoon protest and 1000 people trying to enter what looked liked a sunny afternoon protest, with two lines of police about 100m apart stopping either group from doing what they wanted.

It was a running game to come up with the best excuse to be let out of the protest, from panic attacks, to flights to catch, a court appearence for car theft, at one stage the senior cop asked a football quiz question and the first person to get it could go free!

My '2:30 meeting to get to' didn't quite cut it at 1pm, however by 1:45 policeman U3645 allowed me to stop protesting.

So I caught the tube back to work.

All in all a good day out.

Dave

Serious question. Can someone please explain to me how this 'kettle' tactic by the police is not classed as 'illegal detention'?

I didn't understand how they got away with it in 2001, and I don't understand it now.

Surely people have a fundamental right (dating back to the Magna Carta) not to be arbitrarily detained without arrest or charge. If this doesn't qualify as illegal detention then I don't know what does.

I'm no expert at all in the law, so I might be talking nonsense. But if I am wrong about this, could someone, anyone, please explain to me how this police action can possibly be considered to be legal?

RachelH

It's something I want to know as well (as someone in those 2001 kettles, grr). Plus, even being detained in a police station you surely have access to water and a toilet.

And they cause people to verbally clash with police and only creates frustration. I sometimes wonder whether it's a tactic so widely used because it's almost guaranteed to spark the clashes the police warn of in the lead-up to these kinds of protests. And when people get released, it's everyone bunched up together, easy for fluffies to get mixed up with the tiny minority of hardcores.

Chris Coltrane

I know this is a bit of a shite answer, but: I asked the same question to someone who was trapped with me when they held us outside the Bank of England, and I was told that there is a section of an anti-terrorist law which does say that the police are allowed to hold citizens like this. I'd be absolutely fascinated to know exactly what it says. I did a quick bit of Googling but nothing came up. Do we have any lawyer friends who can help us out with this one?

PS Thanks to whoever wrote this article for using my pic :)

johnny51

When I ask why they were keeping us.
The policeman in front of said they had closed the street for health and safety, and that I should leave by a different street.
When I said that 'all' streets were blocked I was told thats not their problem...