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From The Socialist newspaper, 14 August 2013

Met finally apologise for G20 death

Paul Callanan

The London Met police were recently forced to make a grovelling apology over the killing of Ian Tomlinson.

Ian was killed by an officer on 1 April 2009 during the protests against the G20 summit in London.

During the summit campaigners held a week of protests as the world's leaders met. Over that week there was a heavy handed police presence across London and in particular the areas where demonstrations were taking place.

Tomlinson was not actually taking part in the protests but was a newspaper seller. He was trying to get home from his pitch in central London when he was obstructed by lines of police from the Territorial Support Group.

This group is a semi-paramilitary section of the London Met who specialise in harassing and bullying protests.

He was struck by an officer after he went up to the line and told them that he was trying to get home.

He later suffered a heart attack as a result of the shock and was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital.

Not an isolated incident

It has taken the Met four years to apologise for the killing and pay the Tomlinson family compensation.

The officer that struck the blow against Tomlinson, Simon Harwood, was known to have a history of violent conduct yet he was still allowed to carry out police duties. He has now been convicted of unlawful killing.

But the killing of Tomlinson was not an isolated incident and follows a whole raft of revelations about the police and how they deal with threats to 'public order', real or perceived.

The recent exposure, of how the Met spied on members of the Lawrence family and anti-racist campaigners in the early 90's, is a prime example.

Last year it was revealed that the police had similarly infiltrated environmental campaigns.

This shatters the lie that the police is a neutral organisation whose sole purpose is to protect the public from crime.

These incidents all show that fundamentally the police look out for the interests of those at the top. They will stop at nothing to stamp out any sign of protest.

The Tomlinson murder won't be the last incident of its type. The only way to stop police repression of protests is to make them accountable to working class communities.

A first step would be for an inquiry made up of trade unions and working class organisations into this murder and other acts of police repression.

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In The Socialist 14 August 2013:


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