Baton charges and kettling: police’s G20 crowd control tactics under fire

  • Methods infringed civil liberties, say critics
  • Only hardcore agitators were targeted, Met insists

Police stop G20 protesters

* Sandra Laville and Duncan Campbell
* The Guardian, Friday 3 April 2009

Police react to G20 protesters as they block access to a branch of RBS in London. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Police tactics of containing thousands of people for several hours at the Bank of England protests and using batons against climate camp protesters were condemned yesterday as an infringement of the right to demonstrate.

In the aftermath of the G20 protests in the City of London, politicians, demonstrators and a former police officer raised concerns about the methods used by the Metropolitan police to control crowds of more than 5,000.

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Indymedia London: Video of police attack on G20 climate camp

Around 19:45 on 2 April, police push into the south side of the climate camp on Bishopsgate. This short film shows the campers calling out “this is not a riot” and holding their arms in the air, while riot police surge forward wielding batons and shields in an unprovoked attack. Bikes, tents and personal belongings were damaged and lost in the attack. Several people were injured. Reports of several arrests. At one point a small group of people are trapped between riot police coming in from a side entrance on the east, and more pushing up from the south. This footage must be seen by the justice committee on ‘policing protests’. Almost every one of their recommendations are broken. Reports have come in of wide use of anti-terror legislation and also intimidation of photographers.