G20 Bank Videos

More and more videos are coming onto the web giving a fuller view of the protests in the City of London on April 1, and in particular of the way the police handled the demonstrations.

The Guardian was of course the first to feature the assault on IanTomlinson just before his fatal heart attack, and among the other highlights there is a short clip by Jason Parkinson,  showing police carrying out a baton charge on press photographers. Another clip by Jason records police threatening press photographers under Section 14 of the Public Order Act, telling them to leave the scene and stop taking pictures – or be arrested (they later issued an apology for this.) Others worth viewing include Rikki Blue‘s footage of riot police attacking peaceful demonstrators at the Climate Camp in Bishopsgate.

If what happened at Bank and in Bishopsgate can be called riots, on the evidence of the videos the rioters are mainly the police, although you can clearly see a few minor incidents involving demonstrators in the videos. The breaking of windows at the RBS was an isolated ocurrence, which involved few people and was soon abandoned. On Jason Parkinson’s blog you can see a good impression of rather more of a riot at in Strasbourg where the NATO summit was taking place on April 4. This is serious stuff, where the photographer’s kit needs to include helmet, gas mask and body armour.

Here in London things are usually more sedate, and only the police get kitted up with riot gear, (which always seems to alter the way they behave)  although photographers may well need to rethink after April 1. Another video of the events by Ollie Wainwright on Vimeo includes footage of David Hoffman, a veteran photographer perhaps best known for his pictures of the Poll Tax Riots, being attacked by a policeman using a riot shield to beat him in the face. There is a lengthy slideshow of his pictures of the day on his web site.

Hoffman bets that no other photographer used a senior citizen bus pass to get the the event, and he may be right, but only because I chose to walk from the station as I was early and to take the underground when I left early to go to the peaceful march in the West End.  The pictures that I took before I left give a good impression of the kind of peaceful demonstrations that the organisers of both the G20 Meltdown and the Climate Camp had planned and were taking place before the police intervened.

© 2009 Peter Marshall.

There were perhaps 5-10,000 peaceful demonstrators in the City and probably less than a couple of hundred who had come with the intention of making real trouble. Sensible policing would  have isolated the troublemakers rather than attacking everyone indiscriminately.

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