Protest (2003)

Protest (2003): This article shows the police operations at a 3000-person protest march against war in Iraq in March 2003.

A crowd begins to gather. People mill around in a largely friendly and peaceful manner. The police’s command officers discuss the route and style of the procession with the organisers.

The vehicles leading the march to clear the road ahead. The route lends itself to small vehicles, so this motorbike and police cycle are ideal, backed up by officers on foot.

Two police vans can be seen parked in the background which will be used to follow the march.

Uniformed officers on foot and the police motorbike make their way to the main road. They prepare to stop the traffic to allow the march to join the carriageway.

Uniformed police officers use hand signals to stop the traffic as the motorbike begins to move off, in anticipation of the marchers soon following.

The protesters snake their way along a dual carriageway section of road. Lots of noise, chanting and instrument playing further increase their presence. Some motorists sound their horns either in support or annoyance!

At the half-distance stage, police officers stop the procession to allow the back-markers to catch up. The deafening noise of the marchers reverberates off the tall buildings and brings out hundreds of shoppers, many of whom join in!

The police mountain bike and motorbike continue to lead the group the wrong way through a pedestrianised shopping area. A smaller procession in quickly diverted away from meeting head-on with the main protest by the quick thinking of the leading officers. They use hand signals and sirens to move the smaller procession to one side.

The protest passed off without any arrests. Only one casualty was treated for stumbling on some steps. However, the protests were not very successful as war broke out only a few days later.

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