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From The Socialist newspaper, 15 April 2009

G20 Summit death: Bring the cops to account

THE DEATH of Ian Tomlinson, a bystander at the G20 summit protests, at the hands of a baton wielding officer of the London Metropolitan police is a scandal. The cop responsible should be put on trial over Mr Tomlinson's death.

This shocking incident is a symptom of increasingly heavy handed and repressive policing methods, by an unaccountable police force.

Yet sections of the right wing media seem more interested in the fact that Mr Tomlinson suffered from alcoholism and was living in a hostel - the implication being that he contributed to his own death! As the widely seen video recording of the incident shows, he was struck from behind by a baton wielding policeman in a completely unprovoked attack.

Referring to the policing of the anti-G20 summit protests, May Day detainee* Lois Austin said: "The use of containment, as the main police tactic on demonstrations, causes crushing and panic on the inside and outside of the police cordon.

"We are also concerned at the use of baton charges and the indiscriminate attacks using batons on protesters and non-protesters such as Ian.

"There should be an immediate investigation into the use of 'kettling' and into the number of protesters injured in recent protests by police batons.

"We are currently preparing to take our case to the European Court of Human Rights where we aim to get the use of containment on demonstrations ruled illegal".

  • The May Day detainees were imprisoned in Oxford Circus on May Day 2001 for nine hours by riot police. They organised an action against the police, accusing them of false imprisonment and said that the use of containment is an extremely dangerous tactic. Their case was heard in the High Court, the Court of Appeal and the House of Lords.
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