Officers turn batons and tear gas on peaceful protest
LONDON police rang in the new year by battering campaigners with batons and blinding them with tear gas to break up a peaceful protest against state violence.
More than 100 justice activists gathered outside Brixton prison to demonstrate against police brutality and show solidarity with those prisoners wrongly spending holidays in the cells.
But symbolic action descended into carnage when Metropolitan Police officers started physically confronting protesters and deployed CS gas.
Comedian Jonnie Marbles was hit with pepper spray during the protest.
He said the attacks started as soon as rally speakers mentioned police violence and someone launched a firecracker.
Mr Marbles, who served a month in prison after throwing a pie at Rupert Murdoch during the hacking scandal, also added: “They responded to a firework on New Year’s Eve with chemical weapons, clubs and arrests.
“I’d say that it was a bit over the top.”
Artist Linda Stupart was also injured by police when an officer hit her in the head with a baton.
She said: “The demonstration was very heartening, with a good crowd.”
Ms Stupart told the Star that many of her friends were attacked and she was herself threatened with arrest when demanding an officer display his identification number.
“I was hit on the head with a police baton while trying to get the number of a policeman who was making a violent arrest,” she said.
Protesters initially stood in front of Brixton prison banging pots and pans and their hands against the ground’s fences.
But after the first arrest people quickly marched to the local police station.
According to event organisers London Campaign Against Police and State Violence “noise demos outside of prisons are a continuing tradition across the world.
“A way of expressing solidarity for people imprisoned during the new year, remembering those held captive by the state.
“A noise demo breaks the isolation and alienation of the cells our enemies create, but it does not have to stop at that.”
A Met spokeswoman confirmed that three arrests were made on the night. Two people were released without charge and the third released on bail.