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Fees protest: Video shows mounted police charge crowd

26th November 2010

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A video has surfaced on Youtube showing that mounted police officers did charge at student protesters on Whitehall on Wednesday, the day after the Metropolitan police chief said tactics "did not involve charging the crowd".

Many protesters who were kettled into Whitehall by police had complained of being charged at by police on horseback.
The five-minute video posted on Youtube contradicts the police's denial of claims by showing a number of officers on horseback advancing at speed through a crowd of people.

Jenny Love, 22, who graduated from Bath University in July, told the Guardian that mounted officers "charged without warning".

"When the horses charged I was fairly near the front of the demo, where we were very tightly packed in, and found myself very quickly on the floor where I assumed the foetal position and covered my head while people simply ran over me," she said.

"Thankfully another protester picked me up before I could suffer any serious damage."

Yesterday a spokesman for the Metropolitan police said: "Police horses were involved in the operation, but that did not involve charging the crowd."

He added: "I dare say they [officers policing the Whitehall demonstrations] were doing the movements the horses do to help control the crowd for everyone's benefit, which has been a recognised tactic for many, many years, but no, police officers charging the crowd we would say, 'No, they did not charge the crowd.'"

Witnesses have talked of a charge of about 10 horses just before 7pm, when around 1,000 protesters had gathered outside the kettle to call for those inside to be released. Some began hurling missiles and surging forward.

Riot officers, retreated to the sides allowing horses to surge forward approximately 100 metres. Those present said that there were two charges in the space of an hour and there are unconfirmed reports that a man was trampled.

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