FIT coppers looked edgy from the start, focussing special attention on anyone who looked young Muslim and militant. But with such huge numbers of people, many wearing Arab scarves around their faces, it could hardly have been an easy day out for the FIT photographers.
Public order cops were aggressive from the start too. The one pictured above posed delightfully for a shot, and even introduced himself – CO 5484 Churchman from CO11 (his friends call him Bob). But then he appeared to have a sudden change of heart. Aggressively he grabbed hold of my camera phone and tried to pull it out of my hands. ‘You are going to delete that’ he shouted in my face. ‘You can’t photograph us’. After a brief stand-off in which I refused to let go of my camera, he gave up and turned his attention to bullying someone else.
He and his CO11 colleagues were clearly in a similar frame of mind when they tried to block in the march to the Israeli embassy at Hyde Park Corner underpass. Eyewitness accounts have emerged that police baton charged protesters on a march that had been, until then, entirely peaceful.