Jo Makepeace | 01.11.2002 13:28
The reaction of the police was swift, violent and unprovoked. Lines of police raised batons above their heads and attacked protesters sitting on the roundabout. People taking photos were threatended with arrest. Pepper spray was used against people for sitting down or just being around. One man was treated by shocked nurses at a local hospital when a police officer undid the pepper container on his pepper spray and threw it in the man's face leaving him writhing in agony.
Later, as the demonstration moved around Brighton to shows of support from late night shoppers, the police became even more aggressive. Riot police charged groups of demonstrators for no apparent reason at various points. People were kicked off bikes. A reporter for the local newspaper, the Argus, was pepper sprayed.
Predictably, the police denied any wrong doing. Chief Superintendent Doug Rattray had so little knowledge of his own operation that he could not confirm that batons were used at all and denied that they were used as part of a mass police tactic. The photographic evidence proves the opposite.