Mayday Protest against the Police

stationsteps2This Mayday, in the wake of the death of Ian Tomlinson, who died during the G20 demonstrations after being struck by baton and pushed to the ground by a member of the territorial support group (TSG), over 50 people gathered outside Cardiff central police station to protest against police violence. The protest was a lively one lasting about two hours, with music and singing throughout the demonstration. There was a mix of protesters from a cross section of the radical political ‘scene’ in South Wales, with representations from all the local Anarchist groups and Socialist parties, as well as campaigners for peace, social justice, human and animal rights.

ray-davies-v-copUnsurprisingly, following recent criticism of the Metropolitan Police over their thuggish behaviour during the G20, nearly all the Cardiff cops stayed behind closed doors, with only one coming out to attempt to talk to people in the crowd. What may have been an attempt at appeasing the demonstrators was, however, treated with scepticism by those who’d previously been on the receiving end of police violence during protests and are more than aware of the systematic and deliberate way in which public demonstrations are repressed and criminalised.

South Wales Anarchists not only condemn police violence, but will confront officers who commit violence against those who protest. We  oppose the continued deployment of “Forward Intelligence Teams” (FIT) who photograph and harass demonstrators. These tactics are unacceptable and we are committed to disrupt them as much as possible. More than that we see the role of the Police force as nothing more than the protectors of the interests of the rich and powerful, which cannot be reformed. The police are the violent arm of the state in our communities. They are the enemy of the working class!

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Resist police violence! Friday May 1st!

2848_e_onlineWe call on everyone angered by the vicious and violent methods of the police force to Protest outside Cardiff central police station on Friday the 1st May, 6.00pm. The police station is on King Edward VII Avenue, just behind city hall. Bring what you expect to find.

police-stop-g20-protester-001The brutal policing of the G20 that culminated in the death of innocent bystander, Ian Tomlinson was typical of the police force’s response to protests.  Tomlinson died after being assaulted by a masked member of the Territorial Support Group (TSG). This was not the only incident of violence on the day and, most certainly, is not an isolated event as anyone who has attended a recent demonstration will attest to.

The events at the anti-G20 protests are only the tip of the iceberg. The introduction of  SOCPA and anti-terrorism laws have had a profound effect on the policing of protesters and demonstrators in recent years. More recently 114 climate protesters were arrested on “conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass” following a police raid, as usual there were multiple raids on homes whilst people were in custody. The protesters have since been released on bail to return in court in July. With ongoing police operations like this, it is clear to see the worrying extent of surveillance in use by the state and the growing criminalisation of dissent.

blog-pictureSouth Wales Anarchists stand against the ever increasing role of the police force as a political tool in the UK, and the violent methods that underlie all police forces. We stand in solidarity with victims of police aggression and those faced with humiliation and deportation due to an over-zealous government desperate for a ‘win’ in the eyes of a sceptical public. We do not simply wish for minimal punishment for the individual officers but recognise that the role of the Police is one of violence, intimidation and protection of power and property. The State monopoly on violence is exercised through the Police and those who defy the moral code of the State will always suffer the brutal consequences.

Some People Push Back

g20-police-medicOne of the most important points to be made about the policing of the G20, other than the attempted cover up of the death of Ian Tomlinson, is the fact that heavy handed policing is not uncommon.  Events such as the climate camp, the G8 summit protests and, more recently, the protests against the blockade and invasion of Gaza have all been met by brutality from the police, resulting in injuries to protesters.

Throughout the G20 demonstrations there were baton charges and aggravation by the police, who claimed that their policing was a response to the violence initiated by protesters. As many who attended would agree, this was not the case. After being penned into a kettle, without food, water or toilets, tempers are clearly going to rise. Even so, it was not the protesters who initiated the violence. Standing on Threadneedle Street in front of police lines, in a huge crush of people, we noticed the police starting to advance, though quite where they thought we’d go was anyone’s guess. When they met with the slightest resistance, they drew batons and lashed out. This provoked a response from those in danger of being hit, and ultimately turned a peaceful protest into the scenes witnessed later on.

g20-protests-g20-protests-012On the other hand, one of the biggest successes for protesters that has not been reported was the effectiveness of group action. Soon after our arrival at the Bank of England, it was clear the police were trying to pen us in. A group of 20-30 protesters, wearing masks (to both conceal their identity and as a show of solidarity to make it difficult to apprehend specific people) formed a square block and walked quickly into police lines, in a non-violent manner, to assert their right to move freely. It worked to great effect. With the police not yet organised and caught unaware, 75% of the group made it out of the cordon before the police could reform. Despite the attempts by the police, those remaining managed to prevent any arrests being made.

This minor action shows the importance of working together and quick decision making in protests. If we as activists don’t like the tactic of kettling, it is not up to us to wait for any authority to prevent it; we need to take matters into our own hands. Working as a group is extremely effective and using directly confrontational actions can produce excellent results, as shown by those who broke out of the block and didn’t have to spend the day trapped in a cordon.