G20 Climate Camp

Just got in from Bishopsgate after heading down to try to get into Climate Camp. We took provisions down with us to distribute amongst the campers, but were met with a wall of police at the North entrance, and were prevented from entering. A considerable body of people were waiting to see if the police might let us past, mostly peacefully sitting or standing, a lot of people with cameras, and one guy playing the fiddle. When we asked a policewoman in riot gear if we’d be able to get in, she said not any time soon. She seemed exasperated, and told us they’d been moved here from another area.There were clearly some troublemakers in the crowd. We were approached by a guy who asked us which side we were on, and told us there was going to be a “big party” heading down this way soon, and were we ready. Well, it turned out that there was a big push from the police in the direction he was saying, so who knows which side he was on. Tired of waiting for us to get bored, the police decided to move us out by pushing back North up Bishopsgate. They would threaten ringfencing by coming up behind us, and then in short spurts they would push us ahead of them, sometimes using force – I saw a couple of people hit with batons and brought to the ground, one girl was bleeding having been rammed into with a shield and brought down. I also saw one officer push someone off his bike, which I thought was particularly unfair. It’s only fair to say that there were troublemakers in our little breakaway group too; some glass bottles were thrown into the oncoming police ranks. I was quite proud of us though, mainly we were peaceful, playing drums, clapping and advancing up as far as Shoreditch High Street, bringing traffic to a halt. I feel sorry for the people who were waiting for buses, but we were forced up the roads by the advance of the police. After about an hour of being chased off, our breakaway band was down to about 25 people. The police were being brought in to deal with us, so my co-protester and I sloped off down the backstreets to go back to the North entrance. On our way, we saw these terrifying, armoured police vehicles heading East. The were gliding along silently, fitted with armour plating and grilles. I counted 6, plus a regular police van, and was struck by the irony of what I had just witnessed the police doing to a fairly peaceful protest, when juxtaposed with the motto painted on the side of the black tanks passing me: “working for a safter London”. Our adventure ended when we made it back to the North gate, only to be unceremoniously manhandled away (there were fewer of us now, and manhandling was, therefore, an option). As we were being “moved on”, I glanced back over my shoulder and saw hordes of policemen filing into the camp. Turning my eyes North again, I was confronted with row upon row of police vans lying in wait. I can only guess what was going to happen to the brave campers who were still ringfenced inside the square mile.

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