Letter: Riot in the City
Tuesday 22 June 1999
I was about to leave when things turned nasty: there was undoubtedly some criminal damage taking place, although I saw very little; what I did see was the sudden appearance of large numbers of riot police, some on horseback, who started charging the partygoers in Lower Thames Street.
Mounted police overran seated demonstrators, and it was as this drew an angry response that I was clubbed from behind as riot police forced us against a railing and laid into us. I sustained a three-inch gash in my head, lost a lot of blood (which ruined my suit), and ended up in hospital for the rest of Friday, having needed seven stitches.
I am very grateful for the help I got from the young demonstrators who pulled me out of danger, staunched the flow of blood and got me to an ambulance.
Some may take the view that anyone on this event deserves what they get; as one who expects the police to discharge an admittedly difficult job with minimum force, I was appalled at the thuggery going on all around me, and the propensity of moronic policing to turn the vast majority of the crowd, who were completely peaceable, into an angry mob in minutes. This should concern all of us who want a good police force.
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