During protests in London coinciding with the G20 summit police carried out violent attacks on anyone unfortunate enough to get in their way. Tragically an innocent man on the way home from work was attacked by police and later died of a heart attack.
Police reacted originally by stating that they had valiantly tried to save the man and were hindered by protestors, and that it was the protestors fault. This lie was quickly lapped up by the right wing press. They then stated that he had had no contact with police, and died of natural causes outside a cordon. It is only now that we are starting to glimpse at what really happened in the last moments of this mans life.
Several witnesses have come forward saying that they seen Mr Tomlinson being attacked by Police shortly before he died. A video just released by The Guardian shows him on his way home from work and being caught up in a Police attack on a crowd. As it says in the video, at the time of attack he is walking away from the police with his hands in his pockets posing a threat to no-one, especially the well armed and protected police officers. While it isn't certain that this attack caused them heart attack, it can't of helped.
Then there is the issue of Mr Tomlinson getting help. While there is no information surrounding his specific case, this video clearly shows police holding up an Ambulance. This was not an isolated case. I spoke to one activist who had come to the aid of a young man struck by police during the Police kettle.
"I seen a young lad who had been bashed on the head by the cops. He was staggering all over the place. We got him to sit down and he was bleeding really badly from his head. Me and another were trying to stop the bleeding and he was slipping in and out of consciousness. We tried to get him through a police line but they refused. Even though they could see what state he was in, and we told them he was slipping in and out of consciousness, they still wouldn't let him leave. We sat with him for two hours until we could go and take him to the hospital. Poor lad."
Another activist who had been part of the peaceful Climate Camp, which was violently evicted at midnight with no media around, told me of his experience.
"They just came in without warning. People had their hands in the air and they were just beating them, even people on the floor. I'm surpised no-one else died."
Many received injuries from the camp attack and some were injured again when they were awoken by the police raids on the convergence centre and Rampart.
Jenny Jones, Green Party member on the Met Police Authority, told the BBC "we have entered a new era of overt violent policing in Britain." The Met simply said their tactics were "proportionate and worked." With one man dead, scores injured, and bank windows still smashed, it questions what the police's goals were if they believe that they achieved them.
The City of London Police, who themselves were involved in the incident, are now conducting an investigation, watched over by the IPCC.
For further info see:
- IMC UK Feature on Ian Tomlinsons death
- Death at the hands of Capitalism - An article from the Glasgow Anarchists