The guardian has now released this footage showing Police attacking Ian Tomlinson
Their behaviour here, attacking a man with his back turned, and hands in his pockets is entirely in keeping with the rest of their violent and unprovoked behaviour on 1st April 2009.
The Lib Dems justice spokesperson David Howarth has come out in favour of a criminal inquiry stating that ‘”There must be a full-scale criminal investigation. The officer concerned and the other officers shown in the video must immediately come forward.”
The BBC meanwhile, keen to give the police a chance to explain themselves quote the chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation Peter Smyth who defends police actions saying that
“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.”
So the police are now admitting that they were indiscriminately attacking people in the Bank area of London, whether they had anything to with the protests or not on the assumption that anybody in that part of London at the time would be a protester. While this confirms the reports that Indymedia had been carrying throughout the day, it’s quite shocking to hear a senior police spokesman happily admit that his officers were randomly attacking anyone who happened to be in part of central London because there were (largely peaceful) protests going on there.
To their credit, the protesters who Smyth deceitfully claims were hell bent on causing as much trouble as they could, mainly managed to keep calm and maintain dignity in the face of this heavy handed police intimidation and brutality. A few banks, notably RBS an institution which has created outrage by awarding Fred Goodwin, the man who oversaw the bank’s collapse a 16.9 million pound pension (to be paid by the taxpayer who has had to step in and bail the bank out following Goodwin’s reign), had a few windows broken, however this act of symbolic violence against an institution currently committing a form of financial violence to the British taxpayer can hardly be compared to police actions of randomly attacking anyone in the area and kettling protesters, refusing to allow people to leave for water, food, or to use a toilet for hours at a time.
This video shows police attacking protesters at Climate Camp outside the European Climate Exchange as they raise their hands and chant peace not riot. Just because none of those attacked here died as a result does not justify the use of such brutal and unprovoked violence. Attacking people in this manner should not be considered legal or acceptable.
While it’s quite right that there should be a criminal investigation into what appears to be the murder of Ian Tomlinson at the hands of the police, there should be similar criminal investigations into the hundreds of incidents where police attacked peaceful protesters on April 1st, and these investigations should go all the way up to the top echelons of the police, indicting those who authorised officers on the ground to treat anyone as ‘the enemy’ and who gave the go ahead for the random acts of senseless violence perpetrated by the police on April 1st.