"I don't know who is being protected here." I wonder if the police do.
Laws intended for counter-terrorism are being misused in an increasingly heavy-handed approach to policing protests, a new parliamentary report warns today.
The 70-page report, published by the joint committee on human rights after almost a year's inquiry, said it was concerned by evidence of the use of the powers, under legislation including the Terrorism Act, against peaceful protesters.
The report comes as pressure mounts on authorities over plans for the policing of a series of high-profile protests, including at next month's G20 summit in London. The event, due to be attended by Barack Obama and other world leaders, is expected to draw thousands of protesters to Docklands, London. The findings are likely to anger demonstrators, after the news that thousands of riot police will be deployed in response.
The report says: "Whilst we recognise police officers should not be placed at risk of serious injury, the deployment of riot police can unnecessarily raise the temperature at protests."
O'Brien said the cordons were put in place because a group of about 200 people were violent. "There was no real deliberate attempt to say you are all going to stay here for hours," he said.
He said people had been allowed to leave throughout the day, and that by about 7.30pm those left were people who wanted to be there, and they were asked for their names as they left as part of the inquiry. "What I saw there at that time was a couple of hundred people who did not want to go. They had ... been the agitators throughout the day," he said.
The Guardian saw and spoke to many people who were clearly not agitators, but who were refused permission to leave.
"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."
"Police said yesterday that a man who died at the G20 protests near the Bank of England had been walking home from work when he collapsed."
"I don't know who is being protected here." Beautiful video reporting by the Guardian.