Liberty responds to TUC march

28 March 2011
Liberty Press Office

At the joint invitation of the TUC and Metropolitan Police, Liberty (the National Council for Civil Liberties) posted around 130 independent legal observers to monitor the policing of the March for the Alternative.

We were heartened by cooperation between TUC and police planners and would like to thank both for unprecedented access and facilitation of our effort. Whilst we plan to publish a full analysis of observations in the days ahead, the following represents our initial general impression of the day from 10.30am when we began to 4.30pm at the close of the official TUC rally in Hyde Park.

There can be no doubt that the official trade union-led demonstration was overwhelmingly civil, peaceful and good-natured and that the policing response was generally proportionate. However the demonstration appeared to have been infiltrated by violent elements who periodically separated from the main route in order to attack high profile commercial properties and the police before melting into the demonstration once more. This minority presented significant challenges for the police and trade union stewards alike and at times jeopardised both the safety and ability to protest of those with peaceful intent.