Metropolitan Police tries to close off green to Occupy activists
Green Party politician Jenny Jones was among 15 democracy activists arrested yesterday as cops stormed into Parliament Square to clear out their camp.
Ms Jones was restrained as she attempted to hold on to a man who was being taken by the police for holding on to a piece of tarpaulin.
Ms Jones, the deputy chair of the London Assembly police and crime committee, complained that police officers were hurting her and twisting her wrists.
“The police have a duty to facilitate peaceful protest in this country which people have a legal right to do, but that appears to end as soon as you come within shouting distance of the Westminster village,” Ms Jones told the Star.
“The people who run this country should not be able to tuck demonstrators away out of sight.
“Parliament needs to listen and people should have the right to get their voices heard.”
Fifteen people were arrested yesterday morning when the Metropolitan Police cleared out the protest camp for “failing to provide details suitable for summons.”
They were taken to Charing Cross police station but no charges have been brought against them.
Other protesters organised a march on the station in solidarity.
By the afternoon, the Met had cordoned off Parliament Square with metal barriers and hundreds of police officers.
More arrests followed as activists tried to retake the green, pushing the total past 30.
Protesters however did not seem to lose morale with more people coming to the site in support of the Occupy Democracy camp.
Demonstrators had engaged in civil disobedience overnight by bringing camping equipment onto Parliament Square, which is banned under the 2011 police Act.
“We are prepared to be arrested if that’s what it takes to raise the alarm about how rotten our democracy has become,” said activist Claudia Grigg-Edo.
John McDonnell MP, who has tabled early day motion No 377 in support of the Occupy Democracy protesters, condemned the Met’s use of force.
“I have contacted the Metropolitan Police Commission to condemn the disproportionately large number of police officers used to break up what was simply a group of largely young people who wish to use the venue of Parliament Square for a time-limited period to engage in political discussion.
“It’s what we call democracy.”
Before being chucked into a police van another activist, Dan Ashman, shouted out: “This is not democracy, nothing is transparent.
“We’ve got secret trade deals like TTIP threatening our democracy, fracking going ahead without our consent, NHS privatisation and rapidly increasing inequality.
“Nobody voted for any of this. We need to be allowed to speak, say what we want, where we want.
“Democracy needs to be real democracy, not in name but in how we practice it.
“We have been oppressed and silenced this morning.”