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Anorak News | Battle Of Millbank: Photos, Police As Victims And What Really Happened

Battle Of Millbank: Photos, Police As Victims And What Really Happened

by | 11th, November 2010

THE media reacts to the Battle of Millbank. David Cameron’s coalition government wants to increase fees for students to as much as 9,000 pounds a year for tuition, almost three times the current level. Over 50,000 students form a protest. The police are overwhelmed. At London’s G20 protests the police played it tough. Now they used the gentle touch. Can the police win in the face of violence?

Playing Politics

“The ferocity of the protest ended the high hopes of a new era in consensus politics” – Independent

The Indy makes no mentions of a fire extinguisher being tossed from the roof of Millbank Tower.

The Facts

The Mail says 20 officers tried to hold back the crowd at Millbank. The Indy puts the number at 30.

But The Tories Aren’t The Government

One protester who managed to get on the roof later said defiantly: “I’m glad I did it and I would do it again.”

The 30-year-old postgraduate, who refused to give his name, boasted: “I was surprised at how easy it was. There was hardly any security.

He added: “It was mayhem. There were at least 100 of us up there. Some were clearly not students, and just there to cause trouble. But there were also a lot of genuine protesters helping to get our message across to the Government.” – Mirror

Good Day Out

One officer said: “We can’t do anything to stop them without using tactics that would be too harsh. We could use tear gas but it wouldn’t make any difference. There are just too many of them.”

Fred Azis-Laranjo, a 19-year-old history student from University College London, said: “The police were clearly grossly under-prepared. There just weren’t enough of them to control the mob. I feel sorry for these officers because it’s not about them, it’s about the Tories. The violence has become gratuitous and people are just smashing everything for fun.” – Telegraph

The Struggle

We know that breaking a window won’t stop the cuts. But that wasn’t what was important about the events at Millbank. The main point is that it showed the willingness to take the struggle to the Tories—to resist rather than surrender. That’s exactly the right attitude. Socialist Worker

The Gentle Touch

The Metropolitan Police defended their handling of the demo.

Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson said: “This level of violence was totally unexpected. It was thuggish behaviour by criminals.” – Star

Bullingdon Club Members Abhors Throwing Of Things

London Mayor Boris Johnson said he was appalled that a small minority “shamefully abused” their right to protest, and warned that those involved will “face the full force of the law”. – Mirror

United Front

Yet what happened yesterday wasn’t simply the result of anarchist groups and Left-wing agitators intent on creating violent confrontation.

It was the extraordinary fusion of two diverse social groups who suddenly found a common cause.

On the roof of the glassy, tower-block landmark stood undergraduates from Cambridge and other top-flight universities, cheering and waving flags in triumph at pulling off a spectacle that was broadcast all around the world last night. At the bottom, thuggish teenagers in hoods and masks, kicking in plate glass windows and throwing furniture at police.

One told me he was simply here ‘to stir it up’. Another, a 17-year-old from Hackney Community College in East London, proudly admitted: ‘I came here with the intention of ******* things up and hopefully we’ve succeeded.’ – Mail

New Cricket

A politics student from Liverpool attending a London university who named himself “John Smith” said: “Normal protest are just Socialist Workers marching and doing nothing. We smash up buildings because it will get us into the news and we’re not going to stop until the Government listens.”

Tanzil Choudhury, 22, a law student from Bradford who studies at Manchester University, brandished a cricket bat he stole from inside.

He said: “The extremity of the situation is such that we need to take direct action. If the Tory-Lib Dem Government knows we’re willing to take this kind of action, they will take us more seriously.” – Telegraph

This Was No G20

Some gained access to the upper floors, even to the roof, from where items were thrown down onto the throng below, including a fire extinguisher. I saw the bottom half of an office chair hit one of the TSG officers squarely on his helmeted head. He seemed unhurt. – Demotix

The Hijack

The other side were practised anarchists, dressed in black with their faces covered, moving in small groups, quite highly co-ordinated. Often speaking to each other in Italian or German, they’re loosely affiliated to global anti-capitalist movements and you won’t see them being interviewed on TV. Again and again throughout the afternoon this second, smaller group excited the first, throwing missiles, setting fire to things, screaming at the suited people who appeared at a third floor window – presuming them to be Tory Party workers – “Jump, jump, jump.” – James Cheyne

The Leader

NUS president Aaron Porter tweeted:

“Disgusted that the actions of a minority of idiots are trying to undermine 50,000 who came to make a peaceful protest.”

Although the violent outbreak has been widely reported in the media, the majority of protesters marched peacefully through London.

Mr Porter told protesters:

“We face an unprecedented attack on our future before it has even begun. They’re proposing barbaric cuts that would brutalise our colleges and universities. This is just the beginning … the resistance begins here.”

The Photos

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Posted: 11th, November 2010 | In: Politicians Comments (2) | TrackBack | Permalink