In a BBC article on the police assault on Ian Tomlinson during a G20 protest in The City of London after which Mr. Tomlinson died from a heart attack Peter Smyth, the chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said some physical confrontation was inevitable during a large protest.
According to the BBC article he told Radio 4’s Today programme: “On a day like that, where there are some protesters who are quite clearly hell-bent on causing as much trouble as they can, there is inevitably going to be some physical confrontation.”
“Sometimes it isn’t clear, as a police officer, who is a protester and who is not.”
“I know it’s a generalisation but anybody in that part of the town at that time, the assumption would be that they are part of the protest.
“I accept that’s perhaps not a clever assumption but it’s a natural one.”
Mr. Smyth states that some protesters are clearly hell-bent on causing trouble. He states that it is not clear who is a protester and who is not. He states the police assume that anyone in that part of town at that time would be a protester and then goes on to say that this is perhaps not a clever assumption.
It is not only not clever it is entirely irrelevant. Whether Mr. Tonlinson was a protester or not is no justification for him to be attacked by a policeman.
Mr. Smyth is quite obviously TALKING BOLLOCKS and I wonder how a man with such illiberal, anti-democratic and dangerous opinions could become chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation.
The assault on Mr. Tomlinson became newsworthy because the poor man died but I wonder if we would have heard of him had he lived. We must also wonder how many other people the police assulated that day who’s story has not hit the news.
Last Friday I listened to Any Questions and I think it was Hazel Blears (though I’m not sure) who said that there were a small minority of protesters out to cause trouble and sited this as a justification for the police using heavy handed and, to my mind, illegal tactics such as “kettling”. Kettline is at beast the denial of the right to protest and at worst borders on abduction.
If we pan back a bit here we might consider that the Blair/Brown New Labour catastrophe that overtook Britain has pandered to a powerful elite who became rich off the back of Gordon Brown’s imprudent and arrogant management of the economy. Now that the ghastly hyper-capitalist edifice has crashed around their ears New Labour are using police in riot gear to intimidate protesters while blaming the protesters for the violence.
So far we have seen little violence from protesters but blatant aggression from the police.
Considerring that most crimes committed in Britian’s streets are captured on CCTV and that this crime was committed in an area that is, presumably, seething with CCTV, it will be interesting to see the footage. Either that or some lame excuse about how every single CCTV camera just happened to be pointing the wrong way.
The first head to role from this crime should be the chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, Peter Smyth for assuming that all protesters are fair game for the police to assault.
The Guardian newspaper’s timeline of Mr. Tomlinson’s walk home from work
The Guardian also has footage from a different angle.
The Metropolitan Police Federation
Visit the MPF web site and register your protest: http://www.metfed.org.uk/contact
Below is the response by Peter Smyth to a protest registerred at the web site of the MPF.
Thank you for your e-mail.
If you listened to the BBC broadcast from which Press
Association cherry-picked a couple of quotes, you will recall that I had specifically
declined to comment upon the events surrounding Mr Tomlinson.
I was instead invited by the presenter to voice observations
on the sort of occurrences which are encountered policing large protests in
Reports about my comments should be seen in this context.
In numerous interviews yesterday I explained that I
am not allowed to make any comment in relation to an ongoing investigation,
I also repeatedly asked for the officers involved to come forward and to cooperate
with the investigation.
Chairman Metropolitan Police Federation
From:Sent: 08 April 2009 20:51To: JEC EnquiriesSubject: Metropolitan Police Federation Contact Enquiry
Dear Sir or Maddame,Regarding the recent death of Ian Tomlinson.I read an article on the BBC web site today quoting
an interview with Peter Smyth, your chaiman, where he stated that some protesters
are hell-bent on causing trouble, that it is not clear who is a protester
and who is not and that the police assume that anyone in that part of town
at that time would be a protester.
Your chairman has completely missed the point. Whether
Mr. Tonlinson was or wa not a protester is no justification for him to be
assulated by the police.
I wonder how a man with such illiberal, anti-democratic
and dangerous opinions could become chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation.
Here is another video showing police hitting a woman during the same G20 protest. If you watch the video, in the background you can see that just before the woman is hit a yong man is being pushed around by police.
And we should not forget previous police assaults on the general public:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Kettling is a police tactic wherein protesters are prevented from leaving an
area by cordons of police. Peaceful protesters, potential rioters and bystanders
alike are corralled once they have congregated into one or more larger group(s).
Although large groups are difficult to control this can be done by concentrations
of police. The tactic is to prevent the large group breaking into smaller splinters
which have to be individually chased down and for the policing to break into
multiple small battles. Once the kettle has been formed the cordon is tightened
including with baton charges to restrict the territory occupied by the protesters.
The cordon is then maintained for a number of hours in which those within the
cordon are denied food, water and toilet facilities, the aim is to leave would
be violent protesters too tired to do anything but want to go home.
Used in the UK in the may-day riots and the G20 summit, kettling has been criticized
as irritating otherwise-peaceful protesters to the point where they will riot
to break free of the ‘kettles’ (some of which were held in place for several
hours) and for detaining law-abiding citizens.[