Police attack Stop the War Demo
The ban on the demonstration down Whitehall to protest the visit of war criminal George Bush (15 June) was enforced with violence by the Metropolitan police. Two protestors were hospitalised by baton wielding police. Prominent supporters of Stop the War Coalition condemned police violence.
"Our civil liberties are becoming another casualty of the 'war on terror'. I was born in a dictatorship and look with great concern at recent erosions of our liberties. At the demonstration today all I wanted to do with others was to peacefully deliver my letter to the Prime Minister. I was prevented from doing so and instead witnessed brutality towards the demonstrators."
Message from the Stop the War Coalition
Many thanks to everyone who joined the George Bush Not Welcome Here demonstration last Sunday. Called at short notice and with Bush's movements kept secret till the last moment, we still mobilised over 3000 protestors. Disgracefully, and for the first time, a Stop the War demonstration was denied the right to march peacefully up Whitehall and past Downing Street, where George Bush was having dinner with Gordon Brown and -among the other guests - Rupert Murdoch.
Enforcing the ban on our march, the police attacked protestors with metal batons. At least three protestors received head wounds and many others were battered and bruised by blows to their arms, shoulders and backs. One protester, who was hospitalised with a gashed head, described what happened, "First I was yelled at to move back from the barrier, but I couldn't move because there were so many behind me. Seconds later, I was hit by a number of policemen and policewomen. It was a very frightening experience."
Another said, "I was here for a peaceful protest - this was our chance to show George Bush how despicable his war crimes are. The police were blood hungry -it was absolutely unprovoked."
To make matters worse police arrested 25 protestors and held many of them overnight, charging just three with minor offences. A few others were bailed pending possible charges.
This aggression marked a new departure in policing of the anti-war movement. The Stop the War Coalition has formally complained to the home secretary Jacqui Smith and requested a meeting (Full text of the letter).
Until we have some resolution of our complaints, Stop the War has suspended relations with the Metropolitan police. If you witnessed the police attacks, please send reports or photos to the Stop the War national office
TO MAKE A COMPLAINT
Police: Tel: 020 7230 1212