Thursday, 29 November 2012

'STAND BACK' I'm a legal observer

This time last year the Congolese living in the UK staged a number of protests in London.  They are convinced the the UK are behind just about all things that are wrong with life in the Congo.  Last year we were told we were responsible for the rigging of elections in the DRC.  The main  reason for this election fraud was to enable the UK to continue to plunder the natural resources that are so plentiful in the DRC.  Targets for their fury last year included the Apple store in Oxford St, Downing St and the police and press.

During the protests they caused chaos in London.  They closed Whitehall several times by sitting in the road and starting fires.  They fought with police, caused Oxford Circus tube station to be closed for hours during the evening rush hour, by fighting amongst themselves and generally behaved like savages.

Well, they are at it again.  This time the reason for their protests is their belief that the UK are supplying weapons and munitions to the Rwandans who are engaged in fighting in the DRC.

Last year they turned out in big numbers for the protests.  This time around they only managed to field appx 100.  Apparently after the trouble last year, the church which most of them belong to advised that the protests stop.  Clearly most of them heeded this advice.

The plan for yesterday was to march from their own embassy in Gt Portland St, to the Rwandan Embassy, and then on to Downing St.  Even before they had left Gt  Portland St things were going tits up.  At one point they had two cops cut off from the rest of those on duty, surrounded by an angry mob.  They turned on a photographer, threatening him.  Once the cops calmed things down, the march moved off.  The thing about the Congolese is they don't talk - they shout.  They shout, get in your face, and wave their arms about. They try very hard to intimidate anyone who poses a problem for them.

The journey to the Rwandan Embassy was uneventful.  However, once they got there, things changed.  The Rwandan Embassy is housed in a five story building  situated in  a residential area, just off the Edgware Rd.  There were around 12 cops on duty outside the building.

The crowd, many with their faces covered, were put in a pen opposite the embassy building.  Soon they were throwing eggs at the windows.  Then the eggs were replaced by batteries.  Luckily their aim was rubbish and the windows remained intact.  The crowd by now were whipped up into a frenzy.  As some of them tried to leave the pen and reach the embassy, the cops had to push them back.  This led to a few scuffles.  They managed to get a cops long baton during the struggles and this was thrown at the cops.

There looked to be a chance that things were about to get out of control as there didn't seem to be enough police to keep the crowd contained in the pen.  The cops never backed down an inch.  One of the police really stuck out.  She was about 5,4" blonde, and a good looking bird.  At one point she was surrounded by around 6/7 of the protesters.  Fair play to her, out came her baton and she beat them away.  Some of these were  big guys as well.

Not long after, the TSG arrived.  The Congolese know who they are and it's fair to say they don't like them!  Their arrival was greeted with loud boo's and jeering.  However, within minutes the crowd had gone from noisy and threatening to meek and mild.  A few of the protesters tried their luck by pushing some of the  TSG and shouting at them.   They soon realised there was no milage in this and went back to shouting at the building opposite.

Most protest groups realise that they need press coverage to get their message across.  Not the Congolese.  They hate us.  "DOAN YA TAK MA PEECHA, A SMASHA YA KAMRA".  We got it all.  At one point an inspector from the TSG came over to me and a colleague and warned us that the mob were very angry at us for photographing them.  He explained he was telling us as he had a duty of care towards us.  I get mightily pissed off when this happens.  This is a free country and to be issued with what amounts to threats, via the police, that a bunch of protesters who are behaving like savages, don't want me to do my job as they don't like it, send my blood pressure soaring!  Not long after the warning from the TSG, a girl wearing a hi-viz vest came marching up to us.  Notebook and pen poised she demanded "Who do you work for"?"Why" I asked.  "I want to know" came her reply.  She was a 'Legal Observer'  I told her to fuck off.  I hate these  troublemaking legal wannabes.  She accused me of being violent for telling her to fuck off.  Clearly that sort of language is only suitable in her world, when aimed at the police!  Who do they think they are?

I could feel the red mist starting to descend and made the decision to leave the protest. I know it comes with the territory but, there are times when you just have to step away for your own sanity.

I went to a job at Downing St and the Congolese arrived in Whitehall around 5.30.  They were shepherded into the protest pens.  They climbed all over the statues of various military leaders, all under the watchful eye of the cops.  This should not have been allowed.  The police should have got them off the statues.  There were plenty of cops, including TSG.  There protesters were still less than 100. With protests, there must come a time when the balance between the police standing back to avoid creating a confrontation, and upholding the law, tips in favour of upholding the law.  For Christ's sake, they weren't even asked to get down from the statues!

Some photographs from the event are here - http://mitchell-images.photoshelter.com

1 comment:

  1. Very nicely put to the 'legal observer'!

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