- guardian.co.uk, Thursday 2 April 2009 16.10 BST
I was held at the climate camp until midnight last night. When I arrived at 6pm to celebrate the creative sight of a camp in London's grey financial streets, the police allowed me to walk straight into the camp with my bike. As the reports have said, the atmosphere was very warm and positive: schoolchildren and old-time protesters sharing a space full of colour and music.
Within an hour of arriving, the same police who had stepped back and let me through closed in around the camp and refused to let anyone in or out. I then watched the police push forward into the crowd with a brutality that was not only shocking but utterly
unnecessary. All the protesters put their hands in the air and sat down collectively on the road. Yet as the crowd lowered I saw a young man stagger back with his head split open, another boy with a broken nose, a girl next to me had been kicked between the legs.
People were badly hurt and the atmosphere spun into a frightened panic. A friend of mine from university who had come from Nottingham to join the camp just put his head in his hands and cried. This was the scene minutes after people had been allowed to wander into the camp without any warning of the planned police actions, or any chance to leave peacefully.
As they rolled in back-up police and black armoured riot vans, and as the police kicked and crushed people's bikes, the protesters called out to them, and the onlooking bankers, up in their ivory towers, "This is not a riot!". As their batons came down, legal observers called out to people to take the police numbers of those who had hurt protesters. En masse, the line of police all covered up their badges. It was a chilling show of a police force unaccountable to their own laws, and their own humanity. The police were indeed braced for violence, but most of that young crowd of protesters were not.
Despite our repeated requests to be searched and allowed to leave the space, we were held there for six hours with no access to water, food, toilets or medical care. Proudly, throughout all this, not one person in the crowd reacted with violence to any person or property. People shared the little they had and held public meetings about the aims of the G20 summit. There was little show of anger, but much unhappiness. When, finally, we were herded out one by one at midnight, I felt cold to the core, chilled by the unprovoked aggression of those who I had been brought up to trust. I am deeply ashamed of my state, in which reasonable and calm protesters are criminalised and provoked in such a manner.
Their use of section 14 on 800 campers was mindless, their violence was a tragedy and their very presence, with armoured cars and helicopters, a ridiculous waste of public money.
I am writing this today because I grew up in this city and treasure the right to use this city space to speak out to our elected leaders in a peaceful, creative way. There were no harmful intentions in that climate camp, but the harm done by the police last night goes far deeper that the physical wounds inflicted; it is in the chaos of unnecessary state violence that fear is born and trust is lost.
This article originally appeared as a comment in Louise Christian's thread