Sikh PA are providing a collation of coverage, pictures and quotes from yesterday. Please see below.
Ravi Singh of Sikh Humanitarian Charity Khalsa Aid: “UK police have become politicised! They protect paedo politicians but use brutal force against human rights protesters, including Sikhs and Chinese.”
Angus Tatchell (bystander): “I happened to be walking to my campus past the Indian High Commission when a peaceful Sikh protest was met with violence by the police, mounted and armed with riot gear. Protesters were met with this response after blocking the carriageway on Aldwych. They were trying to raise awareness and express their opposition to alleged Indian Government inaction against, and even sponsorship of, murders and other rights abuses against Sikhs in Punjab.”
Video by Angus Tatchell – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDkvrquyn3s. Twitter – @AngusTatchell.
Jagmeet Singh, Educator for Basics of Sikhi: “The Sikh protesters today used civil disobedience, which is a form of demonstration that has been exercised in many human rights campaigns. What they were met with was unnecessary aggression by police which only antagonised the situation. However, the focus must remain on the continued attacks on Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji in India and also the oppressive regime in India that Sikhs are suffering under.”
Jasraj Hothi, protester: “The Met Police had underestimated the number of protesters that would turn up, and were ill-prepared as a result. The Aldwych roads should have been closed off beforehand, just as (I understand) they have been with previous protests outside the Indian embassy.”
See full piece by Jasraj here – https://medium.com/@jasrajhothi/yesterday-s-sikhlivesmatter-protest-my-perspective-4e77a3870708#.79npynun8. Twitter – @JasrajHothi
RT News – https://www.rt.com/uk/319391-sikh-protest-arrests-london/. A video on this link above shows approximately seven officers tackling the elderly man pictured to the ground and his .
Telegraph – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/11948341/Sikh-Lives-Matter-protest-in-central-London-turns-violent.html. NOTE – The pictures used in this article do not reflect the real nature of the protest, showing only males and none of the images of women and children amongst the protesters.
International Business Times – http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/sikh-lives-matter-protesters-arrested-demonstrators-clash-police-central-london-1525247 NOTE – This article provides excellent insight into the issues Sikhs are concerned about. See video.
Sikh Federation Summary of Police Failures
1. Met police had advanced notice of protest and failed to adequately prepare barriers and road cordons.
2. Large crowds had no alternative but to flow on the roads.
3. The sit down protest was planned and conducted peacefully. Many activist groups have conducted peaceful sit down protests and police have not sent in a riot squad or horses.
4. Police moved in with exaggerated force including riot police, battons and 8-10 horse mounted officers. Even after these horses marched into crowds of women and children Sikhs remained largely peaceful, but pushed the police lines back.
5. Officers snatched Sikh flags – Nishan Sahibs – and broke them and threw them on the ground which is a huge sign of disrespect.
6. Heavy handed officers forced there way in stamping on sitting protesters, further aggravating the situation.
7. Despite agreement, commitments and orders from Cheif Inspector Nick Collins that no officer would attempt to remove Sikh Articles of faith, Sikh turbans and Kirpan for forcibly removed with out provocation.
8. Despite calls from community leaders to allow women and children to leave the penned in area, the police did not allow until two hours later.
9. Young teenage girls and boys were pinned against a bus by 15 officers and were totally disrespected and had their Kirpans removed where there was no need and after all groups had been dispersed.
10. The chief inspector Nick Collins failed to note two serious complaints of police aggression, assault and denial of human rights, even after witnessing himself.
11. The police were prepared to allow situation to escalate and arrest more people without any consideration to Sikh religious sentiments.