“I was there, in Parliament Square. I was angry, like many others. I had lost my voting virginity to Nick Clegg, and he went and cheated on me, with a dirty Tory. He told me that University education would be free, if I voted for him, and then he colluded with the conservatives to triple tuition fees. Yet, that anger was also infused with excitement. Surrounded by thousands of people, forming a collective, we shouted, and sang, ‘Westminster is ours, Westminster is ours, Fuck off back to Eton, Westminster is ours.’ And it was, for a little while.
That excitement soon turned to fear, when I saw lines of armed police, helmets on, faces covered, in disguise, dehumanised, and highly organized. I felt like Britain had become a very tiny Island; suddenly surrounded by a deep dark sea. I immediately wanted to leave. I was with a few mates, Dev seemed a don at this and I felt assured, for a while. But it was not long until scraps with the police erupted, and the cunstabularies kept closing in. People ripped up metal fences to use against the police, who were batoning the people at the front of the crowd. I tried to stay away from the front line. But at some point, during the disorder I lost my friends and I was alone.
I tried to find an exit, but I was met with a wall of violence. I tried another, but there was a wall of silence. I tried to tell a policeman that I wanted to leave, and that I had a health condition that was being exacerbated by the stress of being here. I had seizures. He ignored me. I asked another. He ignored me. It was then I realised I was talking to just another brick. It was then I realised I had been disempowered. I no longer wanted to protest, I was scared for my safety, I was scared into leaving, and I couldn’t even leave.”
British filmmaker Chester Yang uncovers the shocking reality of police powers in post-9/11 Britain in Kettling of the Voices. Following British students Brian and Ethan, two students protesting against the government’s hiking up of tuition fees, we bear witness to troubling levels of surveillance, and both a media and a police force that seem a little too comfortable with the notion of banning political protest.
To purchase tickets visit the East End Festival website
Land, Labour, Liberty ● This land is our land ● The crisis of conservatism ● Television and class ● The case for BBC reform ● The great British land sale ● The English radical tradition ● The World Transformed ● Book reviews ● and much more
And you choose how much to pay for your subscription...
As a wave of strikes is planned across London, Petros Elia – an organiser with the United Voices of the World Union, outlines racist outsourcing practices that implicate some of our biggest ‘socially responsible’ employers
Extinction Rebellion must recognise the impacts of colonialism and capitalism, and demand a just transition for all, argues Aranyo Aarjan
This summer, Irish LGBTQ campaigner Joseph Healy joined the Pride march in his home town of Newry. Here, he explains how life on the border has changed - and the stakes of Brexit installing a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic
People are taking charge of land and housing across the UK, posing an alternative to the commercial market. But is it enough? Hazel Sheffield reports
2019 has seen climate consciousness reshape the political conversation around the world, but for this new awareness to make a difference, we need to get real about targets and timescale, write Souparna Lahiri, Niclas Hällström and Rachel Rose Jackson.
Austerity and neoliberal policy-making has led to the loss of some of our greatest assets and restricted the potential for social housing. Samir Jeraj explores how this has happened and ideas of how to stop it
The ideas underpinning Corbynism are deeply embedded in the English radical tradition. Reclaiming this tradition can play a key part in reinvigorating our ambitions for the future. By MICHAEL CALDERBANK with HILARY WAINWRIGHT