UK, SOUTH LONDON : Furious crowd encircle Lewisham mayor’s car and disrupt council meeting Hands off Tidemill, Hands off Reginald House!
November 7, 2018by actforfreedom
Actforfree receved : 7.11.18
Report from events outside the New Cross Assembly
What we saw last night 6.11.18 was real people power in action, as people continue to fight against the destruction of Tidemill community wildlife garden in Deptford and the eviction of the adjacent flats at Reginald House. This follows last week’s eviction of the Tidemill occuption by hordes of cops and bailiffs, which was strongly resisted throughout the day. The area now remains a fortified zone, permanently surrounded by dozens of bailiffs.
At 7pm on Tuesday evening, around 40 people, furious about the planned destruction of yet another green space & eviction of yet more council flats, gathered to protest at the Lewisham Mayor and councillors who were due to speak at the New Cross Assembly. Despite there being plenty of empty seats in the room, us common riff-raff were shut out and prevented from participating in their ‘democratic processes’.
So instead we made our feelings heard from the outside, banging on the gates and makeshift drums and eventually making it right up close to the half-open windows, through which cries of “stop demolition”, “careerist parasites!” and “no one believes your lies!”, and plenty of cheers of support for the angry locals inside the event were expressed.
Councillor Joe Dromey, a particularly smug-faced, upper-class advocate of the destruction (and son of Harriet Harman no less) was the first politico to leave the event. As he did so, he was mobbed by the fiery crowd. He couldn’t face his constituents and eventually opted to be bungled into a police van to drive him home.
Meanwhile, Lewisham Mayor Damien Egan’s attempts to make a quiet getaway were foiled, as the crowd spotted him and encircled his car. Some people lay passively in the road while others stood around the car. The message was made very clear to the young mayor: drop the development, hands off tidemill. The cops waded in and, without giving any formal warnings to leave, set about dragging people out the road and violently chucking people about left right and centre. Several of them appeared completely unhinged, charging and punching people in the face.
For about 5-10 minutes, the mayor’s car was unable to leave its parking space as the scuffles with the cops continued. Eventually, enough violence was used by the police to clear the path, enabling the mayor and his colleague to begin driving slowly through the backstreets of Deptford. But at every turn, brave and passionate people with little concern for their own safety, got back into the road, or tried to make barricades with bins. This was it: Tidemill had become a symbol of every dodgy development project in the area, of lie after lie by self-serving and patronising local politicians, of destruction of our neighbourhood and the environment. People really have had enough.
To get the car through, the police had to bring in heavy reinforcements and dogs. Met police Commissioner Cressida Dick even made her way down by the end of it and was sighted talking to the chief cop on the scene. At one point, crazed skinhead cop #1393 inexplicably made a beeline for a harmless and entirely peaceful young brown man who was walking alone about 10 metres ahead. This psychopath threw himself on this poor lad, chucked him to the floor and proceeded to asphixiate the totally passive guy, digging his thumbs into pressure-points on his neck so that his face was rammed up against the concrete, and knelt on his knee for extra measure. It looked like he was going to kill the guy, and the many people who witnessed it said so. Given that there were lots of people who had been much closer to Egan’s car, this was yet another overt case of pure racism, premeditated assault, and outright police brutality. This took people’s attention away from Egan’s car which was then able to get away onto New Cross Road at around 10pm. The poor guy was arrested and taken to Lewisham police station, where a group went to support him.
The racist assault & arrest by the cops aside, the night was a really promising one. It was fantastic to see impassioned people taking to the streets again, uncompromisingly defending our neighbourhood from corporate parasites, fighting ecocidal destruction, and refusing to play to their silly game of ineffectual quiet protest.
Later that night, Councillors Joe Dromey and Paul Bell pulled out the inevitable tired old tropes of ‘legitimate’ vs. ‘illegitimate’ protestors, masked vs. unmasked, young vs. old, ‘native residents’ vs. interlopers, poor vs. middle class & respectable -i.e. those naive enough to continue to play along with their sham consultations and faux democratic processes.
No-one but your suited cronies buy it. We’ve gone right through the petitions, the utterly futile ‘debate’ in your forums, the legal processes and the passive protests. And Lewisham Council has run roughshod over all of them.
There’s only so much bullshit that people will take.