We Speak with a G20 Attendee

This entry is part 1 of 19 in the series Countercultural History

London G20 protests 2009Why did you go to the London G20?
I went to observe more than to march, although I do support a lot of the causes represented there. I also thought that it was a good chance for some photographs.


London G20 protests 2009How did the protestors behave?
I felt that there was a massive division between people who had turned up for the various peaceful protests and the ones who had attended expecting confrontation with the authorities; the latter being clearly identified by the scarves covering their faces. At first it felt almost like a party, but protestors grew increasingly unhappy as the police got more aggressive, attempting to separate them. Some protestors tried to push through the police lines. We saw a policeman smash a peaceful protestor in the face with his shield, breaking several of his teeth. We also saw an advancing police line trample a fallen woman.


How did the police behave?
It was very clear that they went in looking for a fight, almost egging each other on. They were beating people indiscriminately, herding them into controlled areas


London G20 protests 2009Do you think that the police acted reasonably?
No, I thought that their actions made the situation worse. Initially there was a peaceful feeling, interrupted when the police stopped people gathering. From there they started to herd them like cattle. It was like they were trying out their control techniques and just generally asserting themselves, lashing out as they saw fit. They repeatedly charged with the shields raised, screaming at us to get back. Even those trying to escape were targeted. So violent. If someone was bolshie they carried on beating them when they were down.I think that there must have been a lot of corporate & government pressure on the police to make it clear not to mess with their business. There probably would have been a lot less trouble if the police had actually let the march go ahead and had also approached the whole thing in a sensitive fashion.


(Interview with an American tourist | Photos by Sam Bear)

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