Socialist Worker

Scotland Yard protest will pile pressure on the police

by Siân Ruddick
Issue No. 2152

Campaigners against police violence are planning to “kettle” Scotland Yard this Saturday—turning on its head the police’s tactics of surrounding demonstrators and not allowing people to leave.

The United Campaign Against Police Violence (UCAPV), which was set up after the events of the G20 protests at which Ian Tomlinson died, has called the national demonstration for this Saturday 23 May, which can help step up the pressure on the police.

The campaign is demanding justice for Ian Tomlinson, changes in police tactics for dealing with protesters, an end to deaths in custody and an end to attacks on civil liberties. It is out to defend the right to protest.

Campaigners have got the police on the back foot, with several investigations taking place into the police’s action at the G20 protests.

Police baton charged and beat the Climate Change group as they tried to clear its protest from Bishopsgate on 1 May.

Legal representatives from the group served the Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson with a “pre-action” legal letter last week.

The letter stated that unless a serious investigation takes place into tactics such as “kettling”, a legal challenge will be launched. Protesters are also pursuing individual complaints against the Met.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has received hundreds of complaints about police behaviour on the day. It has also come under fire for its failure to act against the police.

IPCC chair Nick Hardwick spoke at a meeting in Brixton, south London, last week. Hardwick may have hoped to make excuses for the IPCC.

But this was not so easy.

Matt Collins, a UCAPV activist, told Socialist Worker, “The mood was pretty angry. Hardwick was heckled with calls of ‘not fit for purpose’.

“He seemed really flustered by it. But he should know how people see the IPCC. It has failed so many people.”

Stop police violence protest, assemble 3pm, Saturday 23 May, Trafalgar Square, London for march to New Scotland Yard


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Tue 19 May 2009, 19:01 BST
Issue No. 2152
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