posted on Apr, 1 2009 @ 06:03 PM
I was at the G20 protest today as an observer taking pictures etc.
At around 4pm I was around the St Pauls area and my friend and I were surprised to suddenly find that police were blocking off both ends of the road
and all other exits allowing anyone to leave the area.
Obviously there are issues with this anyway - totally innocent people having their freedom of movement curtailed in a public space - when there is no
immediate threat in the area (the previous violence happened away from this area in the Bank area) - but something else occurred to me...
Within this particular stretch of road was a large branch of the HSBC bank with a totally glass frontage - no attempt had been made to protect the
windows which seemed odd seeing as most other financial buildings in the area had boards over any glass work.
There was no violence happening and no apparent reason for the police to coral people into this area - could it be they wanted to push the protesters
towards the HSBC branch - a very obvious and juicy target - to try and incite a violent reaction?
Me and my friend also spoke to police on a number of occasions to ask for directions or information and were greeted with aggression. On every
occasion we were polite and made it clear we were just observers looking for a way out of the area. They responded rudely - "F**K OFF" or shouting
"STEP BACK" aggressively...
Hardly the kind of attitude that is going to diffuse a tense situation.
We also found the deployment of a number of heavily armoured US build trucks accompanied by equally heavy armoured officers (looked like very
specialist 'shock' troop paramilitary types) quite disturbing. I remarked to my friend that this was likely a window into the future of policing in
And finally - one lasting image that I tried to capture just now on my camera but failed.... A police helicopter hovering over Liverpool St in the
distance close to my house - searchlight cutting through the air....
As it moved slowly across the sky it conjured up images from the Terminator movies of the airborne Skynet aircraft ... very similar visual.
Appreciate the police were expecting violence, but think the attitude etc - looking for trouble - is really unacceptable. No one's perfect and they
are only (almost) human - but in a situation like this, all it takes is one mouthy police officer losing his cool and that could spark a riot. It's
the excuse a lot of trouble makers would be looking for.
Also think that the whole police operation was a massive waste of cash - most police seemed to be milling around in normal uniform doing not very much
at all - uncoordinated and vulnerable. If something had kicked off I don't think they would have been able to do anything about it - even with the
relitively small number of protestors present.
20 or so Police horses, and maybe only around 50 or so properly kitted out riot police VS hundreds and hundreds - maybe thousands of organised
demonstrators would have resulted in chaos and no ability to restore order.
I think the authorities were very very lucky today in my opinion.