by Joe Rennison, 1:00am March 27
Trafalgar Square hosted a peaceful and pleasant party this evening. Police took a ‘soft touch’ approach and everything seemed to be taking its course. People sat around Nelson’s column listening to music, police allowed them to build bonfires to keep warm and protesters repeatedly commented on how impressed they were by the police’s handling of the situation.
Then a group of protesters were seen on the Olympic clock. It is unclear what they were doing on the clock but it certainly wasn’t deemed acceptable by the police who stormed in, rapidly carving a path through the protesters and forming a wall around the clock. Protesters reacted by running over to the scene from every corner of the square, throwing missiles such as traffic cones and burning wood. Many glass bottles were also thrown, which eventually pushed the police back, as they didn’t have riot gear on to protect themselves. These police were replaced by the heavy hands of riot police who secured the area quickly and efficiently, but violently. Generally the police were reactionary, only acting in response to aggression from protesters but a few disturbing scenes saw police break lines and use the full force of their shields and batons. One incident saw a protester knocked squarely to the ground by a police shield, from an officer that had stepped out two meters from the police line to reach the protester. It was a scene reminiscent of the film 300, more than the usually tourist infested Trafalgar Square.
From here, police sweeped through the protesters, pushing them onto the strand and into the surrounding area. A small group remain ‘contained’ in the centre of Trafalgar Square but most have dispersed, engaging in scuffles here and there but generally going on their way.
Another protest remains in Hyde Park where a group intend to stay overnight. Small and peaceful the protest has garnered little attention, even from us.
As a closing note, be aware of the ‘earlier’ tab on the BBC’s footage being shown now on BBC News 24. Trafalgar Square does not look like that now.