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I was outside the Bank of England during the G20 protest, not far from where passer-by Ian Tomlinson died after being assaulted by a police officer.
The police presence was as excessive as it was provocative.
When policing events, they are issued with ‘Nato’ helmets, flame-retardant overalls, stab vests, gloves, balaclavas and boots. All carry the standard batons, pepper spray and cuffs.
Yet let’s try to remember the last full-on riot in Britain that resulted from
a political rally – ah yes, the Poll Tax riots almost 20 years ago.
But the police are still authorised to use Tasers and firearm-trained TSG officers carry pistols or sub-machine guns.
My God, when did we accept that armoured cars, special snatch squads and armed police were the right level of policing for protests against Government policy?
How did we sleepwalk into a situation where our movements, all of our electronic data, even our DNA, is stored on a massive central database?
In fact, it was easy for Blairites to con us into accepting the 3,609 new offences they have created since 1997.
They tapped into our fears and prejudices so we simply ignored the repeal of our rights.
Anti-terror legislation was not too subtly sold as being aimed at evil, dastardly Jihadi-types – not ‘us’.
The Public Gallery is open to the public when the House is sitting, which is usually:
14.30 - 22.30 or later on Mondays and Tuesdays
11.30 - 19.30 on Wednesdays
10.30 - 18.30 on Thursdays
09.30 - 15.00 on sitting Fridays
Attending on Monday - Thursday: Question Time
The first hour of proceedings on these days is devoted to Question Time. On Wednesdays, the last half hour of Question Time is taken by Prime Minister's Questions.