Sunday 29 May 2011

Day of Rage met with Police, Snipers, LRAD

On Saturday, May 28, ZSP organized a demonstration in Warsaw against anti-social policies. The demo was held during the Meeting of Presidents of Central Europe and the visit of Barak Obama to Poland.

Already on Friday we experienced problems with the police, who turned Warsaw into a fortress with closed streets and riot equipment everywhere. Despite this and despite attempts to redirect protests we were able to get to the side of the Presidential Palace. However, the next day they had decided that we could not march as planned and brought a few hundred police against a crowd of a similar size. (With even more police ready in nearby vans just in case.) People were able to observe snipers on nearby rooftops.

Not only did the police come ready with tear gas, but also we saw the Polish premiere of the LRAD - Long Range Accustic Device which is used to direct tortuous noise onto demonstrators to disperse crowds. It is a brutal instrument which can burst ear drums and cause permanent damage and, in extreme cases can even lead to death.

As far as we know, the only other country in Europe to have such a device is Georgia, which used it to disperse anti-government protestors in brutal repressions some time ago.

During these two demonstrations we spoke a lot about how public money was spent on wars and the security state instead of on social needs and the appearance of the LRAD illustrates this perfectly.

The crowd decided that it did not want to be locked in by the police and would try to march as planned, however as most were not prepared to fight with tear gas and the LRAD, the big physical confrontation that would have been needed was avoided and we wound up surrounded by police. The officer in charge of the operation claimed that we could not be allowed to move because he did not like a speech where people were encouraged to mobilize like in Tunisia or Egypt and overthrow the government. Helicopters flew overhead filming the protest.

We continued with a noisy demonstration.  People were eventually allowed to leave one by one, but only after ID check. A group of about 30 refused this and decided to occupy the square. After a couple of hours, the police moved on them and 7 people were arrested. Some passersby who recorded this on their mobile phones were then detained and had these recordings deleted. The rest managed to go and went to the police station for a solidarity demo. After a short time, the arrested were released: it is unclear whether the police intend to fine them or make cases against them.

Once again we see the real function of the police: to protect the elites - politicians and the rich and to control all elements which organize against their interests.

We condemn the actions of the police and declare that they only make us more determined to kill this system!

Videos (in Polish)