On the 18th December, I joined protesters raising awarness
of tax dodging antics of shops in the city centre.
At least 200 peaceful demonstrators attended the protest. At no time
did I hear any police officer impose Section 12 or 14 of the Public
Order Act on anyone.
I believe Northumbria Police became enraged because the demonstration
was so successful and they lost control. They had no idea which shop
or bank we were making for, many shops were picketed twice. I would
further comment that the police lost all restraint when the main door of
Marks and Spenser’s was closed for over 15 mins by protesters sitting
down inside the shop. This is when the police were joined by private
security and bully boy tactics began in earnest. The senior officer, who
earlier said he saw the role of the police as ‘facilitating the
demonstration’ began jumping up and down screaming at protesters and
his fellow officers. This is when police and security guard
violence escalated. Attempts were made to violently grab protesters
and drag them out of the shop, one girl literally had people thrown on
top of her due to these tactics, she was hurt and badly shaken but to
her credit she completed the protest and joined those of us who
picketed the police station. It became obvious to me that the police
were going to arrest someone from then.
I did not witness the arrest of Patrick or Mark, some of us were
picketing another entrance, but from video footage I have seen of
Patricks arrest it is very clear that he is not trying to protect
Mark or anyone else from arrest, but simply continuing his right to
demonstrate in a very peaceful manner – chatting amiably to fellow
protesters. The tactics used in Marks and Spenser’s, which is when I
think the police attempted to make their first arrest, seem to have
been used in arresting Patrick, the police grabbing into demonstrators,
not caring if they injured anyone, going for someone they recognised.
It is interesting that between demonstrators blocking the door at Marks
and Spenser’s and the arrests I encountered the senior officer
described above talking to a member of the public. I went over with a
leaflet and explained to the lady what the demonstration was about.
After she said she fully supported the protesters the officer said, ‘he
had no problem with any of the demonstrators who were peaceful’, the
question begs to be asked if the demonstrators were peaceful why was
anyone arrested, perhaps for political motives.