Thursday, 2 April 2009

G20 Protester Dies

You wouldn't know it if your sole source of news in the mainstream media, but apparently a man died at yesterday's G20 protests. Rumours of a death emerged yesterday evening on the tweetosphere from protesters who were at the event. Redpeppermag tweeted seeing a man unconscious at Cornhill street in the City. The Guardian reports he lost consciousness within the police cordon and a team of paramedics were sent in to retrieve him. A police statement says "The officers took the decision to move him as during this time a number of missiles – believed to be bottles – were being thrown at them", a piece directly challenged by on-the-spot tweets from protesters.

You've got to ask yourself why this is being reported by The Graun, Al-Jazeera, The Australian and ignored by the BBC, Sky, etc. If I was of a conspiratorial mindset I might think they didn't want to embarrass the government with all the great and the good in town.

Even without a death yesterday's policing of the G20 protests was nothing short of disgraceful. The police made it abundantly clear in the lead up to this week that not only were they expecting trouble, they wanted it too. Police violence against protests, including peaceful protests, have become par the course. And it goes unremarked where the political establishment are concerned - probably with good reason. Their silence betrays their connivance in giving the police ever greater powers to trample on our liberties.

The policing on this demonstration demands nothing less than a public inquiry and a rolling of heads. The role their open air mass-arrest and violence had in yesterday's death must be investigated in full public view. If neither are forthcoming, it's more or less guaranteed there will be others like this unnamed man.

Friday update: Turns out the protester was a passerby on his way home from work, but who had happened to get caught up in the police cordon. Good post with relevant press clippings here.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

But it *is* being reported by BBC, Sky etc...

Jack Ray said...

I missed it when I went looking, not because it hasn´t made the news, but because the reporting is so bland, you´d almost think someone had died taking a walk in the park or crossing the road, rather than crushed into a police cordon. For instance it´s not anywhere near the BBC´s top stories.

Phil BC said...

That'll be the reason I missed it then, Jack. Not so much a black out as a white out - burying it with other news. Imagine the headlines if one of the thugs in uniform had bought it.

Jack Ray said...

It would be absolutely hysterical. The papers have just gone with the line of ´this is no big deal people die of natural causes all the time´, and the police threw in the bottle slur just for good measure. A couple of the right-wing papers were actually reporting the story, Hillsborough style, as "anarchist thugs bottle police paramedics trying to save dying man".

I just have to ask, how "natural" can any death under those circumstances? I mean it´s so obviously a situation that´s hazardous to health. Nothing natural about being crushed into a small box by dozens of large, baton-wielding, armored riot police.

Anonymous said...

Good job you're not of a conspiratorial mind then

Phil BC said...

Do you think the BBC would be handling the death of a copper in this way, Anon?

Jack Ray said...

better conspirational than utterly credulous. Any taking this shit at face value after a little digging actively wants to.

Luis Enrique said...

I imagine the media response to the death of a policeman would depend on how the policeman was thought to have died. Of course I cannot say with any confidence that this man did not die, indirectly or otherwise, at the hands of the police, but I would have thought that a story like that would sell papers and the BBC, Groan, Indie etc. would be all over the story if it looked like the police had killed him. I don't know why you think this view is more "credulous" than believing newspapers turn away perfectly good stories because they are in hock to the military industrial hegemon.

The Sentinel said...

I generally agree that the police tend to abuse their powers and relative anonymity in a crowd situation but I think it would be fair to say that of course the police were expecting trouble at this event; given the comments of some of the organisers but moreover the consistent pattern of violence that a core of these protesters bring to every such summit it would be remiss of the police not to prepare for it.

Also the casual brutality of the police at demonstrations is very selective: Muslim protesteters never see it. In fact all they ever see a completely pacified service that bends over backwards to accommodate them and fawn over them.

Not too long back, we have seen the police stopping up traffic for Muslim protesters holding up such placards as "Behead those who insult Islam" - "Butcher those who mock Islam" - "Freedom go to hell" - "Europe you will pay, your're externation is on the way" and with quite amazing peversity, we witnessed the police threating and arresting the aggrieved motorists who decided that not only did they not want to be held up for such a grossly treasonous spectacle, but, funnily enough, they took extreme umbrage with the placards and aims of the Muslim protesters.

Then shortly after we saw the police in full, intolerant fascist mode cracking the heads of peaceful white middle class 'Countryside Alliance.'

And even more recently we saw another disgusting and treasonous attack by so-called 'British' Muslims on the people and institutions of this country, this time ambushing troops returning from a TOD in Iraq using such placards as 'Anglian Soldiers: cowards, killers, extremists' - 'Anglian Soldiers: Butchers of Basra' and not only did the police not find any of this at least likely to constitute a public order offence, they formed a nice protective cordon around these 'protesters' and even obligingly arrested two Englishman who dared to counter these protesters, whilst leaving the display of hatred tightly shielded and free from any such legal inconveniences. (The protest organiser is a baggage handler at Luton airport and that sensitive position be severely reviewed if not outright removed in any sane country given his views and the current terrorist climate. Not here though.)

And again, shortly after we have the situation at the G20 summit.

One police policy for some, another police policy for everyone else.

Jack Ray said...

and yet they have done Luis, haven´t they? I mean, let´s imagine your "never turn away good stories" universe exists. There´s more than enough threads to tug at if they want to generate a story out of this. Pick any of them and it sounds dodgy - the throwing of bottles at paramedics story for instance: it just sounds completely implausible, and very similar to other lies that the police have made up in the past (and subsequently been exposed on). Why not pick at that thread? Or the tactic of kettling? Even if it´s a natural death and this bloke had a heart attack, surely any honest journalist would at least examine the tactic that put him in such a situation?

So either the papers know more than us, and there´s perfectly innocent explanations for both of these things (in which case they should report as such) or they´re deliberately downplaying the story.

And it take nothing so conspiratorial as being in hock to the military industrial complex. It just takes the presumption (common among journos) that the police tell the truth all the time, strong working relationships between London journos and top cops and the recommendation that over-reporting of the incidence would be a public order risk. The point about press bias is that it´s systemic, not that it´s controlled by a sinister cabal of masons or whatever.

harpymarx said...

I have just come back from Bank and there was a stand-off, the cops got up close and violent. Cops on horses, cops with dogs, cops with batons.
The protest was peaceful. Then all of sudden the cops get aggressive and it kicks off.

The TSG were grabbing people, one of them grabbed this woman for no f-ing reason and held his fist back as if to punch her in the face! Then later they baton charged some of the people in the stand-off from what i could see.

I am so utterly angry after yesterday and today.

millie munro said...

Yahoo! news also went with the 'good-guy cops assaulted by evil protesters' slant in their report on someone dying.

Something that struck me as strange was that retail outlets like Superdrug and L'Occitane were all boarded up in preparation, yet an obvious target such as RBS was so easily accessible.

Bent Society said...

Excellent academic paper on these issues here:

http://www.internetjournalofcriminology.com/Donson%20et%20al%20-%20Folkdevils.pdf

BenSix said...

Belated thanks for the link...