Socialist Worker

Police continue to target protesters

Issue No. 2151

Solidarity with Gaza  (Pic:» Jess Hurd/ )

Solidarity with Gaza (Pic: » Jess Hurd/

The police are continuing to hound people involved in the demonstrations against Israel’s murderous war on Gaza in January this year.

This continued harassment is indicative of the escalating criminalisation of protesters by the police.

There were many demonstrations in solidarity with the people of Gaza.

The police reacted to a number of the demonstrations with violence. Operation Ute, a police investigation team, was formed following the protests. So far the police have arrested 93 people.

Six people were arrested on Thursday of last week. The police say they are still seeking to arrest around 17 people in connection with the demonstration on 3 January.

Police in riot gear and the Territorial Support Group (TSG) attacked a number of the demonstrations.

On 3 January thousands of people marched from Embankment to Trafalgar Square.

A spontaneous march from Trafalgar Square made its way towards the Israeli Embassy.

Police then forced demonstrators into the Hyde Park underpass. Blocked at both ends by police, there was no way to escape.

The police then baton charged the demonstration, causing a crush of hundreds of people.

The police account of the day fails to mention this.

A week later, on 10 January, another Stop the War demonstration in solidarity with Gaza marched from Hyde Park to the Israeli Embassy. Many protesters were “kettled” for hours and police took people’s names and photographs.

Some 24 people were arrested on the day.

The police are seeking at least 20 people who took part in the demonstration on 10 January for offences including serious violent disorder.

They are attempting to track people down using CCTV and Forward Intelligence Team (FIT) footage.

In the context of the G20 protests, it is astonishing that the police feel they can continue to target demonstrators in this way.

They may hope that such tactics will discourage people from attending protests in the future.

Activists have to make sure that they don’t – and that the police are held to account for their actions.

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Article information

Tue 12 May 2009, 17:19 BST
Issue No. 2151
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