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Protests Against Privatisation Of NHS Continue As News Media Refuse To Report And Police Tactics Intimidate

Watching TV news channels would have you believe that protests over the government's plans to privatise the NHS via its Health Care Services bill, are well and truly non-existent!

The truth is of course totally the opposite. All round the country protests continue as the bill gathers pace through the House of Lords, and amendments are debated, carried and lost.

On the eve of the debate on Lord Owen's amendment to hold off any decisions made by the Lords on the bill until the NHS Risk Register is published, a large demo in central London on 18th March passed by without any news media reporting it, despite them being in attendance.

Worse still, according to eye witnesses, the police tactic was to kettle protestors into small groups and intimidate them into leaving the demonstrations. By cutting off the main demonstration into small groups and stopping them from from joi9ning up again, the police effectively quashed democratic rights to protest peacefully.

One such eye-witness account written and published in the 'blogisphere' reports:

"The bottom line is: this was a completely nonviolent, unaggressive protest. The police action was hostile and totally unprovoked. There is no way we could have been seen as a threat to anyone.

The goal of the police did not seem to be to confront the protest or get into a fight. Each time a kettle was formed, it was dropped after a short time on some signal. The police were acting in a coordinated fashion, and their only goal seemed to be to suppress and disband the protest. By kettling and separating any big group which formed into smaller groups, they prevented the the crowd coordinating, communicating or decision-making properly. At its start, the protest was self-motivated, passionate, and made up of citizens trying to make a (last) stand for something they believed in. Through their action, the police successfully reduced it to separate groups of disconnected, scared, angry people who didn't know what to do and felt unable to continue."

The blog from Cai Wingfield continues:

"The way the police acted was, while not actually violent in any cases I saw (grabbing, shoving and restraining, but no beating), extremely intimidating. They incited the crowd to run for safety on multiple occasions, though there were many elderly and disabled amongst us (this was a pro-NHS campaign after all). I did not see anybody get hurt, but if the crowd had been any denser, larger or had any rogue elements, things could easily have kicked off — if they had it would have been completely the fault of the aggression and intimidation tactics of the police. No attempt was made at dialogue, or even megaphoned monologue to warn the protest that action would take place. Instead, the riot police acted quickly and unpredictably, communicating with shouted codes, avoiding eye contact with the demonstrators."

The full report can be read here and additional reports with video here

We can expect the TV new media in particular to continue to ignore protest against the Tory-led coalition government's plans for the NHS; the latest of which is being held this today around the country.

This evening (19/03/12) at 8pm , NHS supporters and opponents of the government's NHS privatisation bill; will be holding a series of coordinated public demonstrations, or NHS Vigils, across the UK to draw attention to the importance of halting the Health Care Services Bill.

The key purpose of the meetings is to demonstrate to the House of Lords peers, the night before their crucial vote on the NHS, that the UK people do not want this bill to become law. Only 14% of the UK voters in the last YouGov poll actually wanted the NHS Bill to succeed, as well as this two thirds of NHS workers think the Bill will make things worse.

It is hoped that the peers look favourably upon the peaceful nature of the gatherings and give Lord Owens’ Amendment, to halt the NHS Bill until the NHS Risk Register is published, the support it deserves.

Source: Cai Wingfield / Latent Existence / CopDoc

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