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Protesters savagely attack their own during another challenging day

Saturday's protest tarnished by a violent minority, writes Chris Hobbs.

Officers deciding their next move in Parliament Square. Credit: DRN Images

Officers deciding their next move in Parliament Square. Credit: DRN Images

Date - 26th July 2021
By - Chris Hobbs
2 Comments 2 Comments}

The day was going so well for the Met’s Gold, Silver and Bronze commanders. They would have been aware of the split within the ranks of the anti-Lockdown, anti-vaccine, anti-mask, anti-5G, anti-new World Order and pro-conspiracy theorist supporters. A ‘rebel’ group of around 400, which included some who were involved in Monday’s disorder, decided they wanted nothing to do with the Trafalgar Square rally and opted to meet at Speaker’ Corner.

Their subsequent march took them past the rally at Trafalgar Square which clearly baffled those unaware of the split, before walking past Downing Street and across Westminster Bridge. As they headed towards Kennington, it appeared their ultimate destination was Brixton. In any event they were last seen heading south; however, a small music group decided to desert and made their way back to Trafalgar Square.

Despite the somewhat bizarre assertions made by several of the never-ending speechmakers, the rally, watched by a handful of officers, ended in good order.

The subsequent march inevitably went past Downing Street and although there were predictable jeers in its direction and a few tennis balls thrown, there was initially no inclination to stop.

Downing Street disorder

Gradually however, increasing numbers of protesters halted at the steel barriers in front of the Downing Street gates and began hurling abuse at the serial of officers standing behind the barriers but in front of the gates. They were in ‘day’ uniforms.

As the march moved past, more individuals and groups gathered at the barriers and the level of abuse increased. Many of those stopping were clearly the worse for drink, others merely curious. Having said that, the overwhelming majority just kept on walking.

As numbers increased, it became clear that elements were going to cause problems for the officers as happened on Monday. The first attempt to pull the steel barriers away were foiled by those officers.

There was clearly a known technique for uncoupling the barriers and it was several young females who were encouraging the crowd to make another attempt. The crowd had become a mob and they surged towards the barriers again and somehow disengaged the barriers pulling them to one side leaving the officers exposed.

Despite being urged to ‘attack’ by the ‘leaders,’ many of the crowd hesitated. At one stage, protesters who commendably were trying to stop the violence towards the police were savagely attacked by the thugs themselves in what were frankly shameful scenes.

After what seemed an inordinate length of time, a fully kitted out serial arrived and on replacing those vulnerable in their day uniforms’ quickly and robustly repelled the thugs who were making another attempt to breach police lines. Quite what they were hoping to achieve is unclear in that behind the police line are the sturdy Downing Street gates which in turn are guarded by grim looking armed police clearly unimpressed at the treatment being meted out to their colleagues.

The officers being replaced decided to arrest one of the protesters and as they escorted him to police carriers parked further up Whitehall, they were pursued by the mob who seemed determined to rescue their colleague. The kitted officers at Downing Street had been joined by another kitted serial, could only watch as their colleagues struggled back up the road and then, by the carriers, faced another stand-off.

Parliament Square

Eventually however, the focal point of the event shifted down to Parliament Square which had been the scene of serious disorder on Monday at another anti-Lockdown protest. Here, drunken protesters had decided again to occupy a junction thus obstructing traffic.

Officers in ‘day uniforms’ formed a line and attempted to ‘walk’ the protesters back to the footway. The protesters as previously refused to move and pushed back against the officers leading to yet another stand-off as the protesters danced and hurled predictable abuse.

It took almost an hour before the situation changed but change it did dramatically. TSG and other carriers arrived. Officers kitted with helmets clipped, relieved the line of officers. Still more arrived and officers then vigorously pushed the mob back.

Glass bottles and other missiles were thrown from the raised grassed area as officers donned helmets, however the road was cleared and all roads in and out of Parliament Square were open although traffic was not yet flowing.

It looked for a while, that police would be content with clearing the road, but suddenly onlookers including myself, were startled when the drunken, foul mouthed protesters began running pursued by officers. One social media clip showed a protester attempting to outrun police and failing.

Additional footage, viewed later, showed officers, mainly TSG, moving robustly forward pushing protesters back. One individual was seen being hauled unceremoniously from the crowd and arrested. Again, with monotonous predictability came social media cries of police brutality.

Interestingly the footage showed officers in baseball caps moving forward and then officers in helmets pushing forward for a second time. There was no footage of  missiles being thrown at those officers which caused them to don helmets.

Parliament Square was now under the control of the police and again officers had shown their professionalism and restraint despite severe provocation that would have resulted in an infinitely more severe and injurious response if identical incidents had occurred abroad.

Whilst one major troublemaker who was inciting the crowd to attack police and indeed attacked fellow peace-making protesters was later arrested in Parliament Square, others will hopefully subsequently be identified and apprehended.

The fact is that a hard core of thugs are a real threat to the safety of police officers and, despite resource implications, need to be the subjects of thorough investigation which hopefully will lead to charges and convictions.

One final point; despite being rostered to attend PC Rain yet again failed to report for duty.

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Big Bear - Fri, 30 July 2021

Unfortunately, there are thugs on both sides. Crisis actors, too. And it's getting increasingly more obvious. There are troublemakers - Agents Provocateur - who cause aggro to give peaceful protesters a bad name. As for officers who pick and choose whose press cards they are going to allow, this is plainly ridiculous and is showing the police as biased. That is not good for transparency and gives the impression the police don't want the independent video journalists around to film what they are about to do.
The police can ill-afford to get on the wrong side of the public because when the shit hits the fan, the inevitable casualties will ensue on both sides. And that is avoidable,