Friday, December 17, 2010

Upon Westminster Bridge



Upon Westminster Bridge - William Wordsworth

Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth like a garment wear

The beauty of the morning: silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky,
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.

Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour valley, rock, or hill;
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!

The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!



From Hansard
Mr David Lammy (Tottenham) (Lab): Is not the point of a kettle that it brings things to the boil? Is the Home Secretary comfortable that largely because of her Government's decisions on the education maintenance allowance, minors and other young people were caught up in the kettle? She says that those who remained peaceful and wished to leave Whitehall were able to do so, but can she confirm that the IPCC is investigating a number of complaints about young people not being able to leave?

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mrs Theresa May): The police did ensure that it was possible for peaceful protesters to leave Parliament square on Thursday. They put those arrangements in place, and a significant number of protesters took advantage of that and were allowed to leave by the police.



Kettle tactics risk Hillsborough-style tragedy – doctor
Crush of student protesters on Westminster Bridge compared to 1980s stadium disaster
The Observer, Sunday 19 December 2010

A senior doctor has warned that police risk repeating a Hillsborough-type tragedy if they continue with tactics deployed during the recent tuition fee protests.

The anaesthetist from Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, who gave medical assistance to the protesters, said that officers forced demonstrators into such a tight "kettle" on Westminster Bridge that they were in danger of being seriously crushed or pushed into the freezing River Thames.

The 34-year-old doctor, who set up a field hospital in Parliament Square, said that people on the bridge suffered respiratory problems, chest pains and the symptoms of severe crushing.

"Police had us so closely packed, I couldn't move my feet or hands an inch. We were in that situation like that for hours. People in the middle were having real difficulty breathing.

"It was the most disturbing thing I've ever seen – it must have been what Hillsborough was like. The crush was just so great. Repeatedly I tried to speak to officers, telling them that I was a doctor and that this was a serious health and safety risk," said the doctor, who did not want to be named.

Student Danielle Smith, 21, from Dagenham, studying creative and professional writing at the University of East London, said she was squeezed so tightly during the kettle that the day after it felt "like I'd been in a car accident".

"I couldn't move, and it hurt to laugh, breathe, sleep, sit down and eat. To do anything just really hurt. For days after I took as many painkillers as I could a day. I had real trouble standing in such a tight space. Again people were getting crushed. I had a shield in my face a few times. The police just hit those closest to them, they weren't really thinking about who was in the wrong or right."

She said it was incredible that none of the hundreds of protesters sandwiched between two lines of riot police fell off the bridge: "The people around the edge, they were screaming, saying they thought they were going to fall off."

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