Bloody Aftermath of Cop Brutality at London g20
Questions are being raised about the police tactics being used in London against G20 demonstrators in the wake of the death of a man caught up in the protest.
The man who died was named today as Ian Tomlinson, 47, who lived in the City area and worked at a newsagent. He was on his way home when he collapsed near the Bank of England at around 7.30pm on Wednesday.
Eyewitnesses say protesters ran to help Mr Tomlinson and called for medical help. Police medics went to his aid, followed by an ambulance some 10 minutes later, but could not save his life.
Police initially told the press that their medics had been pelted with missiles as they tried to save Mr Tomlinson. But protesters at the scene rejected these claims.
"There were a lot of people around him trying to help and asking for medics," said Elias Stoakes, a student at Queen Mary university.
"One or maybe two plastic bottles were thrown, but it was by people further back in the crowd who did not know what was going on. There definitely wasn't a rain of bottles."
Witnesses also spoke of how the police had been using dogs against demonstrators in the area around the time of Mr Tomlinson's death.
Protests against the G20 summit continued on Thursday around the Excel Centre venue in east London. A couple of hundred demonstrators held a vigil outside the Bank of England at lunchtime to mark the death.
The precise details of what happened to Mr Tomlinson have yet to emerge. But many of those attending the vigil expressed their concern that the tactics used to police the protest were inherently dangerous.
The tactic of "kettling" – holding protesters and anyone caught up in the protest behind police lines for hours on end without access to water or toilet facilities – came in for particular criticism.
Police used this tactic against G20 demonstrators outside the Bank of England on Wednesday afternoon. They also used it against the impromptu "climate camp" that protesters set up on Bishopsgate that afternoon – a protest that witnesses say was almost entire peaceful.
Meanwhile the crackdown on opposition to the G20 summit continues. A counter-summit planned at the University of East London (UEL) yesterday evening was refused permission to take place by university authorities.
Attendees held a rally outside instead, which was addressed by speakers including Tony Benn, Alex Callinicos and Mark Thomas. They expressed their solidarity with UEL professor Chris Knight, who was suspended by the university for his role in the protests.
Riot police raided two squats in east London that were being used as "social centres" to coordinate the protests. The targeted venues were a building in Earl Street that was occupied on Tuesday night, and the long established centre on Rampart Street in Whitechapel.