Merseyside Police attack anti-cuts demonstrators at town hall meeting.
Tonight, members of SolFed and AFed joined members of Occupy Liverpool and assorted anti-cuts protestors, in a protest against council cuts outside Liverpool town hall.
At its peak, there were around fifty people, and it followed a similar pattern to other protests at the town hall, mainly general chanting and heckling etc.
What was apparent at this protest was that, as the protestor numbers started to dwindle throughout the evening, the numbers of police officers started to increase. Around two hours into the protest, many extra police vans and Matrix units arrived, as did several officers on horseback, to chants of, “get those animals off those horses”.
The protest, whilst still relatively calm and good humoured, moved around to the front of the building, and blocked the main road. At previous protests, the police were happy to just ignore road blockages, but today they were not. They sent the mounted officers in to disperse people, which they did aggressively.
As things started getting a bit rowdy, several officers jumped on a young lad ‘for swearing’. They twisted him up and took him to the floor. An officer knelt on him, and warned him about swearing. He was then allowed to get up and leave. However within minutes he was again dragged to the floor and was subsequently arrested.
During the melee that ensued, a line of officer charged at us, resulting in several other protestors being dragged to the floor. I witnessed three people arrested, but others claim that it may be six or seven. Some were carried like logs or dragged across the floor, before being thrown in vans.
During the struggles to try and free people from the clutches of the police, one young comrade from SolFed got punched in the face by a police officer.
For the next half hour there was a stand-off. We remained stood in the middle of the road, and the police stood directly in front of us. To try and avoid further arrests, we moved away from the town hall and walked towards the town centre. Several police vans followed us.
At this point, we numbered around twenty. We tried to stay close together, however, as the group got divided, the police jumped out from their vans and grabbed hold of another comrade riding her bike, with her baby in a seat. Her crime? Riding on the pavement. She was able to avoid arrest as everyone else came running back and blocked the police from taking her.
We moved into the Liverpool One shopping centre, as the vans could not follow us in. The filth left their vans, and around thirty of them followed us into the centre.
We then made our way to the ‘occupy site’. At that point, an inspector was heard to say to a colleague, ‘we can leave them to it now’. They then kept a small presence at the occupy site, whilst other protestors dispersed.
It appears that the people arrested were ‘known faces’ from occupy Liverpool. Their behaviour was no different to anyone else’s, so it would appear the police had already decided who they were going to arrest.
Some comrades moved on to protest outside the local police station.