On October 9th, 1994, there was a mass protest in London against the Criminal Justice Bill, now an Act. We marched from Embankment to Hyde Park, amidst hordes of police, although no trouble occured. In Hyde Park there was a rally, with many speakers.
Unfortunately events were to take a sinister turn, and media coverage, although not totally bad, was still far from good. It took the beating up of the Independent's reporter, by three policemen, to get any mention of blatant police violence in the papers. Some mentioned that allegations had been made that the police had deliberately provoked the riot, but didn't dwell on the subject for too long. This article is to put the record straight.
The police had not given a licence for sound systems to enter Hyde Park, but some came all the same. Cynically, but realistically, you could speculate that permission would be granted to the organisers, if only they were doing something that fitted in with the traditional Tory idea of things, rather than be there promoting any sort of "alternative" lifestyle.
At about 4.30, the people who had brought along the bicycle powered sound system, told those of us nearby that riot police had gathered in Park Lane. I always have a camera with me, as it provides hard evidence of things such as police brutality, so I walked over to see what was going on.
Most people were astounded by the amount of riot police present, as there had been no trouble until then. The police were in lines, hearding protestors together. Many sat-down as a protest, but they were violently dragged out of the way, receiving truncheon blows in return for being peaceful.
It wasn't long before horses were being used to charge the protestors in Hyde Park. The mounted police rode straight into the crowd, regardless of who they rode into.
Close to Park Lane I saw one protestor on his own, who was deliberately ridden over by a charging policeman. He had a suspected broken foot, and was carried off on a stretcher by St. John's ambulance.
Calls for an investigation into the violence of the police there were made by many people who were present, including MPs. Any investigation instigated by the government or the Metropolitan police force would however, be nothing more than a farcical attempt by the authorities to excuse their own behaviour.
Some would say that the police force and the government had been stupid in their handling of the demonstration. On the other hand, given their success in starting a riot, that provided the media with the opportunity to report a violent mob, perhaps they were being very clever....