dog attacks photographer
more than a hundred activists met at victoria station this afternoon, and accompanied by a bicycle sound system, they headed to the nearby department of communities and local government in bressenden place.
despite a police presence, including a prepared small protest pen and extra security arrangements, several activists quickly managed to invade the roof area above the main doors and they set up banners there, while others surged forward towards the doors.
the protestors had constructed several mocked up caravan pieces, which they then used to defend themselves as police drew batons. several activists managed to get behind the police line, right to the doors of the building, and a couple of those were arrested. two of the women volunteered to return through the police line, and continued to sit peacefully in front of police despite some scuffles above and around them, with police trying to grab the 'caravan' placards. others were arrested and dragged away to police vans.
loads of police reinforcements turned up in an array of vehicles, and three police dogs were also deployed. despite an absence of any problems near the dogs, one of the handlers lost control and allowed one of the dogs to attack an official photographer, who narrowly escaped being bitten as the dog's jaws locked onto his rucksack before the handler regained control.
gradually, police pushed protestors back away from the door, and after about an hour, the rooftop protestors decided to come down, and the rest of the group headed back towards victoria station.
police demanded details from those leaving the roof. some gave their details and were released. others were threatened with arrest, but after about ten minutes, police began to leave the scene, and suddenly the remaining activists found themselves free.
there were several arrests during the action, but it seems the majority of those were for 'breach of the peace'. one of the arrestees was told he'd be driven away from the protest, and asked where he'd like to go. as he had an appointment at a job centre, he requested a lift there, and was given it! others are still being held at stations and receiving supprort from legal observers.
there were several undercover cops around the action. their details have been circulated appropriately.
the action was called by the travellers solidarity network to mark the dawn raid last year which was one of the most brutal evictions in the uk. they want to highlight the evictions, racism and harassment that traveller communities continually face. eric pickle's department has removed the duty for local governments to provide traveller sites and strengthened their powers of eviction, thus proactively criminalising an entire community of people. the travellers solidarity network is promoting their 'fight for sites' campaign and calling for the right of gypsy, traveller and roma peoples to emjoy their travelling way of life.