Saturday's marchers face controversial tactic, despite court case into its use
POLICE at this weekend's big anti-cuts demo plan to use the discredited 'kettling' crowd control technique, admit senior officers from the Metropolitan Police.
Kettling – blocking protesters into a small space, often for many hours - has come under fire from protesters in recent years, but is valued by the Met, despite an on-going judicial review into the use of the measure.
At a briefing, Assistant Commissioner Lynne Owens of the Metropolitan Police responded to a question on kettling in the affirmative, with these words, reports The Telegraph:
"We will not hesitate to respond to any criminal or violent behaviour."
Organisers predict there will be hundreds of thousands of anti-cuts demonstrators on Saturday's TUC-organised march from Victoria Embankment to Hyde Park. Several other groups plan feeder marches from and to other parts of central London, partly in a bid to avoid being kettled.
Meanwhile, in the High Court, lawyers have argued that the Met illegally kettled environmental campaigners at the infamous G20 protests of 2009, during which Ian Tomlinson died after a beating from the police.
Kettling is meant to be used when police believe there is an "imminent" threat of disorder.
But the G20 Climate Change camp had passed off peacefully all day and the Met still kettled thousands of protesters between 7pm and 11.30pm, the court was told.
The review hearing continues.