Carshalton and Wallington MP Tom Brake held with G20 protesters for five hours

Tom Brake, MP for Carshalton and Wallington was among protesters not allowed to leave a cordoned zone at the G20 street demonstrations for about five hours.

Mr Brake was following the London G20 gathering as a legal observer last Thursday when violence broke out between police and protesters in Moorgate.

He was kept inside the police cordon formed to stop violent protesters from leaving, along with bystanders, peaceful protesters and even those in need of medical attention.

He said: “I was there in the crowd as an observer and it was one of the scariest experiences of my life with a large and often violent crowd surging backwards and forwards within the police cordon in response to police charges.”

In a video interview with CNN during the "siege", Mr Brake said there were significant civil liberties issues at the site of the protest.

Mr Brake said: “The police strategy of locking in all the protesters peaceful or otherwise for up to five hours, in my view, put some peaceful protesters at greater risk, as well as having serious implications for peaceful protests in the future.”

But Mr Brake also praise the work of police to stop violence during manifestations.

“On the whole, the police handled a very difficult situation very professionally.

"Having seen the way in which large scale events are handled in some countries around the world, I think we have to give credit to the Met for the way in which the vast majority of their officers behaved,” he said.

“I am pleased that some protesters who were there to cause violence were arrested and those who were pursuing a peaceful and legitimate protest were allowed to do so.

"It is always disappointing that violent protests grab headlines and the issues many legal protesters are raising get forgotten in the melee.”

The MP will now be compiling a report about police behaviour to be discussed with the commander in charge of policing in Moorgate and the Home Affairs Select Committee.

• Were you inside the cordoned area in Moorgate last Thursday? Tell us about your experience in the comments section below.

Comments (1)

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2:15pm Mon 6 Apr 09

Fred1 says...

No I wasn't there but I do think that questions need to be asked about this sort of thing.

It's a public street - and people should be able to come and go as they please. And if the police want to prevent people from leaving the street, then, to my way of thinking, that's a form of police custody, which means that technically they should be reading out the rights of arrest over a PA system to everyone in the cordon. If they fail to do this, then it's illegal custody in my opinion.

I fail to see the difference between a "police cell" and an "urban street". Either way, if you're being held there and you can't get out, then the two different forms of custody should be treated in the same way.

I think it's time to re-establish our civil liberties.

If we don't make a stand against this, then what's to stop them walling off streets around police cordons in the future? How long did the Nazi's take to construct the Warsaw Ghetto wall in 1940?

At the very very least, the law should establish the maximum length of time in which a particular street can be kettled, before everyone who hasn't been formally arrested is released.

Upon release of the cordon, people should have a realistic chance of walking out of the street, allowing for the fact that crowds slow things down, before another cordon is applied to it.

Also, when a cordon is released, it's got to be a *proper* release. It's no good describing the lifting of a cordon halfway along a street as a "release", when there are two further cordons at either end of the same street.
No I wasn't there but I do think that questions need to be asked about this sort of thing. It's a public street - and people should be able to come and go as they please. And if the police want to prevent people from leaving the street, then, to my way of thinking, that's a form of police custody, which means that technically they should be reading out the rights of arrest over a PA system to everyone in the cordon. If they fail to do this, then it's illegal custody in my opinion. I fail to see the difference between a "police cell" and an "urban street". Either way, if you're being held there and you can't get out, then the two different forms of custody should be treated in the same way. I think it's time to re-establish our civil liberties. If we don't make a stand against this, then what's to stop them walling off streets around police cordons in the future? How long did the Nazi's take to construct the Warsaw Ghetto wall in 1940? At the very very least, the law should establish the maximum length of time in which a particular street can be kettled, before everyone who hasn't been formally arrested is released. Upon release of the cordon, people should have a realistic chance of walking out of the street, allowing for the fact that crowds slow things down, before another cordon is applied to it. Also, when a cordon is released, it's got to be a *proper* release. It's no good describing the lifting of a cordon halfway along a street as a "release", when there are two further cordons at either end of the same street. Fred1
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