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Police, Protests and Parliament

13/12/2010

On the morning on the 9th of December I boarded a coach on the way to my first protest. I had seen videos of anti-war protests from the 60s, where large groups of ‘Hippies’ would gather in one location to show how many people where against the cause. This was the idea that I thought I would be a part of. I believed that there would be a march through the capital, then a mass demo in front of parliament. I expected to have to avoid traffic and that I would be seen a nuisance to the general public, only so that they would take notice, but in no way break the law, or prevent anyone from their day to day task. I knew that there would be a police presence because of the shear number of people; the sort of thing that would be at the Coronation.

The first thing I noticed when we got off the coach was that outside of 30 Millbank there were a large group of police offices with riot helmets, and a few police vans parked around the corner. This didn’t surprise me because of what had happened in November. After what I had seen on the news about what happened at Millbank I was expecting a few students to try to cause trouble, just to cause trouble. When we first got to The Houses of Parliament I was starting to see the police presence grow, but then again I wasn’t surprised because of where we were. We then headed up to Trafalgar Square in hope to meet up with the march. After having a little walk around London trying to find the march we got word through Twitter that some student are trying to get on to Waterloo bridge, so we made our way there. When we got to the bridge, the march was just passing so we were able to join. This march had a few police escorting us through the streets. I guess they were making sure that we weren’t going to start any trouble. We made our way to Trafalgar square and I believe that we were going to march down to Parliament square, but surprisingly we were stopped and told we couldn’t go down that road, even though I just walked up that road less than a half hour ago. This is when I started to realise that the police weren’t really making sense. After making our way to Parliament square we went back to Trafalgar to meet up with the main march.

When the main march got close to Parliament square we were stopped by the police again. I was starting to get annoyed. This was the first march I went on and I kept being asked to turn around by police. Where was I meant to go then? I though it was a protest against Parliament, so why weren’t we allowed into the square in front of Parliament? No idea! We finally got into Parliament square, and were able to show our numbers against the cuts, only to find out that we weren’t able to get out. First they don’t want us there, then they don’t want use to leave! (Sense – it makes none) At first I had respect for the police, and as individuals I still do, but these seemed ready for war. I’ve read descriptions of medieval soldiers that had similar weaponry to these police. I felt extremely over powered; I stood with a placard that was given to me by a man in black. I noticed that the handle was quite thick. this sign was meant for more that rising awareness of the cuts. My confidence grew again when I realised that his flag pole resembled a pick-axe handle. It seemed we were being mocked by the police; we didn’t know why they were doing what they were doing, but they wouldn’t tell us. The only words these ‘people’ appeared to know were “Get back!” and “Move!” I use the term people loosely; a person is ‘someone with superior mental development and power of articulate speech’. (Oxford dictionary) These beasts were less human than the horses they rode. All of this, and the chants and anger of the crowd against Parliament and the police made me have to do something. People were being mistreated; that’s wrong. So I had no hesitation in helping some anarchists with their customized ‘plow-card’ as they pushed through the growing line of police standing between us and freedom.

After that, all my questions were answered: Why are they wearing helmets? Why are they charging the police? How come those people can get so violent? (etc). I had never been in a situation where all control is taken from you. I was imprisoned. I was only able to think of a comparison to the situation days after the protest; The ‘Fight or Flight’ response to rattling an animal’s cage. My view of police, protest and Parliament has changed, and not all for the best. I will say this “I will be back!”

Z

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From → 09/12/10, Diary, Z

2 Comments
  1. how do i join

    • The occupation isn’t on at the moment but if you want to get involved, talking to Lincoln Stop the Cuts or Socialist Students Lincoln (you don’t have to join obviously) would be the quickest. There’s a march tomorrow in Manchester, and London on March 26th. We will be looking at actions before then. You can find Lincoln occupation as well as these 2 groups on facebook. We will hopefully have a meeting with teaching staff and management soon and will try to publicise this at the time. I hope that helps 🙂

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