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Police Brutality

17 December 2009 Joe Short 3 Comments

police use batons on protesters and this draws blood

police use batons on protesters and this draws blood

So far mainstream media has down played the violence inflicted by police at yesterday’s Reclaim Power demonstration.

As you can see from the photo some of this violence was very serious. But it all came from the police. Protesters wished to peacefully enter the summit which so many people are now excluded from. As police used batons and pepper spray, protesters asked the police questions such as ‘who do you serve? what do you protect?’ and ‘what would your mother think?’
We chanted ‘The whole world is watching’ because we believed that the police brutality would be broadcast around the world and that this fact would protect us. Of course there was tons of media present but if the world’s media does not consider this newsworthy then we protesters have little protection in the form of global public opinion.
Just to describe how awful it was; at one point I was stood very near the front with people crushed up behind me. In front of me was a short redhead american girl with platted hair. The policeman, twice her size, started to hit her with his baton. Once he had hit her several times she of course decided it was time to drop back but because of the crush of people behind her this was impossible. He continued to hit her despite me, her and others pleading him to stop.
We did manage to get her away from the front line and as she fought back the tears I gave her a hug and congratulated her courage. I hope this helped her but I don’t know if she will feel able to protest again in future.
These are emotional times, and it almost brings tears to my eyes to describe all this to you.
But it also brings anger. We are not violent demonstrators. On the walk back into town I scrapped some left over snow off a car and threw a snowball at the police. It narrowly missed an indiscriminate policeman’s temple. You see violence breeds violence!

The fact is the police are citizens too, they have families, hopes and fears just as we all do. But as an instrument of the state and as we all know the state belongs to big business, the police will do whatever they are ordered to. Whether or not they agree does not come into it. Whatever tactics protesters use the state will always be able to overwhelm it.

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  • Beatrice Mosello said:

    Thanks for the report Joe. I am very sad to read your words, and I have been very sad all week long to read in the press what was happening in Copenhagen. You are right, violence breeds violence, which is why I was terribly worried and disappointed when reading of the black bloc’s actions on Saturday. Then all demonstrators become an indistinct mass of “violent”, the police is sometimes explicitly trained to react violently, and… ouff, it’s an endless story, which only ends with counterproductive results. Articles and reports like yours should raise awareness on both sides: demonstrators and the police. Let’s try to be civil human beings, please. We are all fighting for the same reason, after all: survival.

  • Darren Willman said:

    Thanks Joe for this moving piece of writing.

  • Joe Short (author) said:

    Thanks for your positive comments!
    The guy in the picture was aided by my Copenhagen host who was great as a volunteer medic during the protest.
    Of course I do not want to see the movement descend into violence, but protest is important and we were not violent, the police were.
    My personal opinion is that the UN should be reformed so that it has a global democratic mandate, I think this will solve many of our problems.
    See you tonight!

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