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Press release - for immediate release - 18 June - 11.45pm
Protesters slam police 'brutality' after pitched battles hit City
Forty six protesters were tonight in hospital after police violence led to serious confrontations at a Reclaim the Streets carnival in the City of London.
One woman had her legs and abdomen run over by a police van as it accelerated through the crowd. She was taken, clearly in great pain, to the Royal London Hospital, where staff were still assessing her condition at 9.40pm.
Witnesses said one man became trapped under a riot van when he fell behind it as it reversed. Fire crew had to jack up the vehicle to free him. In total up to fifty people have been reported hurt.
Many witnesses told how, in both cases, police failed to acknowledge warnings from bystanders that people were trapped under their vehicles. "I actually saw the van bump up and down as it ran over the woman. But they didn't stop, they just kept on accelerating through the crowd, scattering people in all directions," said one witness. Investment banker Simon McKeown reported later: "In ten minutes, as a result of the police actions the atmosphere went from carnival to very tense."
Following these incidents, the atmosphere of the carnival deteriorated, and led to confrontational situations in some areas. Reclaim the Streets spokesperson Mark Sully said: "Today thousands of people came to the City of London to party and protest. The carnival celebrations were unfortunately partly overshadowed by police over-reaction, however most participants managed to keep up a positive spirit."
June 18 is a loose global network of organisations, and protests also took place today in 43 countries around the world. In Tel Aviv, Israel, a street carnival was held, and torches lit for the victims of corporate human and animal rights abuse. In Belarus, picketers handed toilet paper to customers leaving McDonalds. Thirty people were arrested in New York at a carnival in Wall Street.
For more information, contact Reclaim the Streets: 0171 2814621 0835 536 537. Video footage and pictures are available on request.
The text of an earlier Press Release can be found here