Shame of heavy handed riot police

SIR - Louise McEvoy s comments about the policing at the G20 protests could only have come from someone who was not there (Support should be given to the police, April 23). I was there and shared a festive and peaceful day outside the European Climate Exc

SIR - Louise McEvoy's comments about the policing at the G20 protests could only have come from someone who was not there (Support should be given to the police, April 23).

I was there and shared a festive and peaceful day outside the European Climate Exchange in Bishopsgate. We were making the point that carbon trading is having no impact on global carbon emissions and should be scrapped in favour of effective measures that will have a chance of saving the planet. As our banner said 'Nature doesn't do bail-outs'.

We had dancing, singing, workshops, a kitchen for shared food and a great deal of discussion about the one thing that did not receive media coverage: climate change and what the G20 should be doing.

There had been careful liaison with the police beforehand and the policing where I was during the day was of the sort that does need our support.


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However, at 7.10pm those police gave way to riot police, with their faces covered by helmets and identification numbers covered up. With no warning they began to hit the protesters with truncheons and the edges of their shields. The protesters as one put their hands in the air and chanted ''This is not a riot!'' and ''Shame on you!'' But the police forcibly detained them in that street for several hours for no apparent reason. Fortunately for me I escaped before this happened, but friends I left behind were beaten.

This was clearly an operational plan by the police and actually is nothing new. I have witnessed similar tactics before. Louise uses the phrase ''frenzied media attack on the police'', which I suggest is an exaggeration, but I welcome the scrutiny that the police are now under when ordinary people wish to protest at insane government policies. Louise paints a picture of valiant police officers protecting the public from crazed anarchists who will surely wreak violence. The sad fact is that the rogue elements were amongst the protesters and the organised violence was from the police. That, I think, is even more worrying.

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STEVEN WHITING

Cuttys Lane

Stevenage

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