Death of G20 protester: witness statements

Submitted by cathy n on 2 April, 2009 - 11:08

In response to the death of the protester at the G20 demonstrations yesterday, up to 600 people assembled at the Bank of England on 2 April. They want to call for an independent public inquiry. (A further demonstration has been called around this idea for Saturday 4 April (see events column on this website). The assembly was a collective gathering to mark his death.

Demonstrators are demanding answers. Part of that process is gathering together statements from witnesses. The following is a press release from the group co-ordinating this effort:

Various participants in the City of London demonstrations on 1 April have come forward as witnesses to the collapse of a man later identified by authorities as Ian Tomlinson. Four different university students witnessed the collapse of Mr. Tomlinson. "He stumbled towards us from the direction of police and protestors and collapsed," said Peter Apps. "I saw a demonstrator who was a first aider attend to the person who had collapsed. The man was late 40s, had tattoos on his hands, and was wearing a Millwall shirt."

While the first aider was helping the man, another demonstrator with a megaphone was calling the police over so that they could help.

Natalie Langford, a student at Queen Mary, said "there was a police charge. A lot of people ran in our direction. The woman giving first aid stood in the path of the crowd." The running people, seeing a guy on the ground, went around them.

Another demonstrator had already called 999 and was getting medical advice from the ambulance dispatcher. "Four police with two police medics came. They told her [the first aider] to 'move along'.", said Peter Apps. "Then they pushed her forcibly away from him. They refused to listen to her [the first aider] when she tried to explain his condition."

The first aider, who did not wish to be named, said "The police surrounded the collapsed man. I was standing with the person who'd called 999. The ambulance dispatcher wanted to talk to the police, the phone was being held out to them, but the police refused."

Another witness, Elias Stoakes, added "we didn't see them [the police] perform CPR."

Other people who had tried to stay with the collapsed man were also pushed away.

All of the witnesses deny the allegation that many missiles were thrown.

According to Peter Apps, "one bottle was thrown, but it didn't come close to the police. Nothing was thrown afterwards as other demonstrators told the person to stop. The person who threw the bottle probably didn't realize that someone was behind the ring of police." All the witnesses said that the demonstrators were concerned for the well-being of the collapsed man once they realized that there was an injured person.

Natalie Langford said "when the ambulance arrived the protestors got straight out of the way."

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