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G20 Climate Camp : Police Provocation

I’m sorry to report that I’ve had to leave the G20 Climate Camp because I started to feel very nervous about the tactics of the Police.

I lost my cool a bit, and decided that I didn’t want to do anything I might regret, so I decided to quit before the pen that seemed to be forming became permanent, which would have made me very angry.

It’s a real shame because the camp was really cool and relaxed all afternoon, despite what was going on at the Bank of England.

I had some food from the market stall and checked out the kitchen. I sat with some musical young men and we made beautiful jazz music for some time (it’s all on various cameras – look for the loon in the bright orange fleece – that’s me).

I was well-equipped to stay overnight, with a blow-up mat, the world’s smallest sleeping bag and the coat and fleece and hat. Some people out there are not ready for a night kettled on the streets of London, and I already have humanitarian concerns about what will happen if people are forced to stay there all night with no protection against the cold.

What was happening as I left was that the Police had decided to send some people into the middle of the camp. This was met by everyone holding up their hands in peaceful protest, and calls of “incoming”, “go back” and booing. There was some altercation, and at least one man in the camp area was beaten around the head and was bleeding profusely.

The riot police had materialised at both ends of the camp sometime mid-afternoon, even when there was no riot in progress, and might never be, but I felt very intimidated all the same, especially when I went with Big Mark, dressed in a pin-stripe suit covered in what looked like green custard, to sing de-escalation songs in front of the Police line.

We did a little Bob Marley and so on, but the favourite was Lionel Ritchie’s “All Night Long”, and I do believe there will be people camping all night long, and I’m fearful for them, because they have very few resources.

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