Anti-war MP George Galloway has accused London Metropolitan Police
of engaging in "a deliberate conspiracy to bring about scenes
of violent disorder" during President George W. Bush's visit
to the UK last week.
Galloway has written a letter to the Home Secretary
in which he names a senior police officer thought to have been
operating as an undercover "agent provocateur".
The Respect Party MP details incitements that the
officer made towards police and how the man encouraged other protesters
to charge baton-wielding officers and hurl projectiles at them.
Galloway cites an article
from last Weekend's Mail On Sunday in which author
Yasmin Whittaker-Khan detailed how she bumped into a known senior
police officer, dressed like a press photographer with a large
expensive camera, who shouted “Pigs out!” and enticed
others to the front of the police-protestor clashes.
As you may be aware I wrote to Sir Ian Blair and Mayor
Johnson calling for an inquiry into the policing of the demonstration
against George W Bush on Sunday 15 June in Parliament Square/Whitehall.
I enclose a copy of my letter to him. I should say I have since
been visited by Superintendent Tim Jackson and have given him
an account of the basis of my original complaint.
I did tell him, however, that subsequent newspaper revelations
may indicate a far more sinister involvement of the police in
actual law-breaking on the demonstration which sought to provoke
exactly the ugly scenes which eventually ensued.
Since my meeting with the superintendent yesterday this
issue has become clearer and obliges me both as a Member of
Parliament and as a close witness to these events to write to
you as Home Secretary demanding a full inquiry by the government
into the extraordinary events and policy decisions surrounding
the policing of this demonstration.
You will be aware by now of an article in the Mail on Sunday
of 22 June by Yasmin Whittaker-Khan in which she recounts her
shock at meeting a man, whom she knew to be a policeman from
a previous encounter, who seemed determined to bring about a
confrontation between the demonstrators and the police.
This man for at least 30 minutes was stood right next to
me at the front of the protest and it is inconceivable that
no police photograph will confirm this. I say this because several
police stills cameramen and at least one video cameraman were
I can now confirm that this man was Chris Dreyfus, an inspector
in the police.
This man, to my direct knowledge, committed four criminal
offences during the 30 minutes or so he stood next to me. First,
he repeatedly chanted the arcane, antiquated Americana, “Kill
the pigs!” This is a clear incitement to violence, indeed
murder. If a Muslim demonstrator had been chanting it, say,
outside the Danish Embassy, he would likely now be in prison.
Secondly, he repeatedly (crushing me in the process) attempted
to charge the crush barriers and the police line behind them.
Thirdly, he repeatedly exhorted others so to do. Fourthly, he
instructed a young demonstrator on the correct way to uncouple
a crush barrier, which was successfully achieved and was subsequently
thrown at the police, and was presumably one of the justifications
for the deployment of a riot squad which eventually waded in
to the protesters.
Home Secretary, there can hardly a more grave indictment
of the conduct of the police force in a democratic country than
this. People in the labour movement have often mythologised
the state’s use of agents provocateurs throughout my 40
years experience and no doubt long before. But, to my recollection,
we have never caught one red-handed before.
This inspector’s criminal actions must place all
the other in themselves legitimate complaints about police tactics
in a new light. I wrote to Sir Ian – and to Mayor Johnson
– questioning the competence of the policing on that day.
It now seems that what happened was a deliberate conspiracy
to bring about scenes of violent disorder, seen around the world
and for purposes on which we can only speculate.
You, however, have clear responsibility to get to the heart
of this matter. I do hope you will begin to do so without delay.
In any case,
Following Galloway's correspondence with Metropolitan
Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair complaining about the policing
of last Sunday's Stop the War demonstration in Whitehall, the
Respect MP will also be meeting, early next week, a senior Met
officer who has been charged with investigating the complaint.
The protest was intended to take place outside the
entrance to Downing Street, however, a police ban on entering
Whitehall was imposed on the recommendation of Bush and his advisors.
Demonstrators included members of the Stop War Coalition,
CND and the British Muslim Initiative.
The rally began with speeches from MP Tony Benn,
Bianca Jagger and George Galloway, but soon turned violent as
police made 25 arrests in Parliament Square after some of the
2,500 protestors attempted to breach the police blockades.
Several protesters were kept in custody and were
later charged with offences including affray, violent disorder,
assaulting police and possession of an offensive weapon.
Police described the protests as "unlawful"
and "deplorable", however,
protestors claimed heavy-handed policing was entirely
to blame for the violence.
Suzanna Wylie, 29, from London, was left bleeding from a head
She said: 'We were standing near the front, the police shouted
at us to move back, we tried but couldn't and they started hitting
people on the heads with their truncheons.
'It was frightening. I somehow got hit.
'I was caught between the police in front of me and people behind
me who were throwing things at the police.'
And protester Mary Robin, 61, said: 'There is never trouble at
these things, but there were so many police officers it was like
a war zone on our streets.'
There was a very heavy security presence at the protest including
riot police, armed officers, and even snipers on rooftops. An
Evening Standard report from the previous Friday also detailed
how a Met spokeswoman stated that a “large amount of covert
work” would be going on around the Bush Downing Street visit.
The 2005 Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (SOCPA) banned
unauthorised protest within a kilometre of the Houses of Parliament.
Since that time, “SOCPA zones” have been initiated
in locations throughout the country.
Watch video of the riot police in action on the
streets of London last week:
It has been common practice at previous demonstrations
for authorities to employ police or special forces to intentionally
infiltrate peaceful protests and cause violence.
Last year peaceful protestors at the Security and
Prosperity Partnership (SPP) summit in Montebello captured
sensational video of hired agent provocateurs attempting
to incite rioting and turn the protest violent, only to encounter
brave resistance from real protest leaders.
Quebec provincial police later
admitted that their officers disguised themselves
as demonstrators during the protest at the North American leaders
summit in Montebello, Que.
In Seattle in 1999 at the World Trade Organisation meeting, the
authorities declared a state of emergency, imposed curfews and
resorted to nothing short of police state tactics in response
to a small minority of hostile black bloc hooligans. In his film
State 2, Alex Jones covered the fact that the police
allowed the black bloc to run riot in downtown Seattle while they
concentrated on preventing the movement of peaceful protestors.
The film presents evidence that the left-wing anarchist groups
are actually controlled by the state and used to demonize peaceful
At WTO protests in Genoa 2001 a protestor was killed after being
shot in the head and run over twice by a police vehicle. The Italian
Carabinere also later beat on peaceful protestors as they slept,
and even tortured some, at the Diaz School. It
later emerged that the police fabricated evidence
against the protesters, claiming they were anarchist rioters,
to justify their actions. Some Carabiniere officials have since
come forward to say they knew
of infiltration of the black bloc anarchists, that
fellow officers acted as agent provocateurs.
At the Free Trade Area of Americas protests in Miami in late
November 2003, more provocateuring was evident. The
United Steelworkers of America, calling for a congressional
investigation, stated that the police intentionally caused violence
and arrested and charged hundreds of peaceful protestors. The
USWA suggested that billions of dollars supposedly slated for
Iraq reconstruction funds are actually being used to subsidize
‘homeland repression’ in America.