FLASHPOINT: How the riot police and water cannon were deployed
summit mobilisations |
Sunday May 02, 2004 04:59 by tired
This is the real story of the noise demo march today, as refereced by the media and the reality on the ground.
ok, so here it is.
the video clip shows the simultaneous deployment of the full riot police with body length shields and the water cannon.
these were deployed at the same time.
they were deployed because the march refused to turn around and march back the 1.5 hrs into town when confronted by a line of yellow fluoro police.
after several minutes pause (10?) the crowd of a couple of thousand slowly moved towards the police who had blocked the path of the march.
after another few minutes a group tried to steadily push through the police lines,
the police line moved a couple of feet and the reactions was instant.
(nb a couple of plastic bottles were thrown along with a few placcards at this point)
around 70 riot police in full gear ran out from behind a wall and took up postition behind the yellow police. then a few seconds later another detachment of full riot gear policewith full body length riot shields ran out to form a second line, followed by a few police vehicles and the deployment of the first water cannon.
(this is what the video clip shows)
from here there was a few seconds as the yellow jacket cops retreated in a practised manouvre and were replaced by the full riot gear cops, and then another maybe 30 secs before the water cannon moved forward and openned up on the crowd with all its force.
things got a bit more heated here and in the next few minutes there were some injuries as the riot police advanced a few feet, lashing out, and a few protesters threw some stones from the surrounding gardens.
so this was the story of the flashpoint...
i know in the uk the acpo guidelines strictly govern the rules of engagement for each level of escalating force, but here what was seen was an instant transition from softly softly, to everything that was available save live ammunition.
serious questions must be asked about the proportionate nature of this episode, but given the hype of the media and state over the last month or so, I doubt whether this will be given serious consideration.
it'd be worth speaking to the corporate media who got caught out by the speed of the response, people who have been used to covering the much much larger and more full on anti-globalisation protests of recent years, experienced frontline journos who know how public order situations work, and who were caught out earlier today and pretty amazed at the instant escalation of the situation by the police.
anyway, much more will be written about this, all i can say is that not one window was smashed (and it was not for the lack of opportunity offered). And I also think the protesters showed a high level of discipline, solidarity and bravery in the face of what has been an enormous campaign of criminalisation.
whatever the mainstream tv and press report, I say well done!
riot police / water cannon deployment