Letter: Eyewitness accounts of how a rally against the Criminal Justice Bill turned into a riot

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The Independent Online
Sir: Regarding your article 'How Park Lane was turned into a battlefield' (11 October), as organisers of the national demonstration against the Criminal Justice Bill, we disagree strongly with the police statement that anarchists turned our rally into a riot. People attempting to leave the park peacefully were attacked by riot police on horses. The only group intent on organising a riot was the Metropolitan Police, whose incompetent and aggressive policing led to a trail of violence and destruction.

Over the last few years, many demonstrations and protests have ended in a similar way, when people exercising their democratic rights to protest against Tory government policies have had to face police violence. Examples are many - the 1984/85 miners' strike, the Wapping dispute, the poll tax and Welling demonstrations. Each time demonstrations end in violence the same old excuse is used - a minority of demonstrators caused the violence. Apparently they even planned it this time]

If this is what happens before the Criminal Justice Bill becomes law, what are we to expect when the police are given even more powers? We are demanding an inquiry into the policing of our demonstration.

Yours,

JEREMY CORBYN

TONY BENN

PAUL MAY

WEYMAN BENNETT

Coalition Against the

Criminal Justice Bill

London, E8

11 October

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