Anti-Bush Visit Protest Marred by Police Violence and Snatch Arrests

 

On Sunday 15th of June, as George W. Bush was making his way to Downing Street for his last state visit to the UK, thousands of people were gathering in Parliament Square following a call from the Stop the War Coalition.

Although the turn out to sunday's protest was much smaller than in 2003 when Bush visited the UK in the high of the Anti-War protest movement, by mid afternoon a crowd of around 2500 determined people were already making clear what they thought of the legacy of George Bush's wars in the Middle East and the US driven War on Terror [Video reoport]. A powerful sound system had been set on the square from where several people, including Brian How, made speeches. Meanwhile the crowd kept demanding the arrest of George Bush for his "terrorist activities and war crimes" in countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

The protest had already been banned by the Metropolitan Police from marching through Whitehall, therefore crash barriers and police lines had been set at the southern end of Whitehall to prevent the demonstration from marching forward. At some point, the crowd approached the barriers and police lines to demand their right to demonstrate, but they were faced by a line of baton wielding police that started hitting those at the front. As a result a series of scuffles followed, resulting with some head injuries and bruises to some protesters, and the first wave of arrests.

Eventually, a large number of police wit riot gear took positions to protect the entrance to Whitehall, whilst at the same time groups of TSG and FIT police forces started to carry a series of snatch arrests around the Parliament Square area [Video of arrests]. By the end of the evening 25 people had been arrested, some of which have already been released but others are being charged.

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