Account Management


Police Used "Agents Provocateurs" At UK Bush Protests
Anti-war MP George Galloway writes details to Home Secretary

Steve Watson
day, June 26, 2008


Anti-war MP George Galloway has accused London Metropolitan Police of engaging in "a deliberate conspiracy to bring about scenes of violent disorder" during President George W. Bush's visit to the UK last week.

Galloway has written a letter to the Home Secretary in which he names a senior police officer thought to have been operating as an undercover "agent provocateur".

The Respect Party MP details incitements that the officer made towards police and how the man encouraged other protesters to charge baton-wielding officers and hurl projectiles at them.

Galloway cites an article from last Weekend's Mail On Sunday in which author Yasmin Whittaker-Khan detailed how she bumped into a known senior police officer, dressed like a press photographer with a large expensive camera, who shouted “Pigs out!” and enticed others to the front of the police-protestor clashes.

Here is MP George Galloway's letter in full:

To Rt Hon Jacqui Smith

Home Secretary


Dear Home Secretary,

As you may be aware I wrote to Sir Ian Blair and Mayor Johnson calling for an inquiry into the policing of the demonstration against George W Bush on Sunday 15 June in Parliament Square/Whitehall. I enclose a copy of my letter to him. I should say I have since been visited by Superintendent Tim Jackson and have given him an account of the basis of my original complaint.

I did tell him, however, that subsequent newspaper revelations may indicate a far more sinister involvement of the police in actual law-breaking on the demonstration which sought to provoke exactly the ugly scenes which eventually ensued.

Since my meeting with the superintendent yesterday this issue has become clearer and obliges me both as a Member of Parliament and as a close witness to these events to write to you as Home Secretary demanding a full inquiry by the government into the extraordinary events and policy decisions surrounding the policing of this demonstration.

You will be aware by now of an article in the Mail on Sunday of 22 June by Yasmin Whittaker-Khan in which she recounts her shock at meeting a man, whom she knew to be a policeman from a previous encounter, who seemed determined to bring about a confrontation between the demonstrators and the police.

This man for at least 30 minutes was stood right next to me at the front of the protest and it is inconceivable that no police photograph will confirm this. I say this because several police stills cameramen and at least one video cameraman were constantly filming.

I can now confirm that this man was Chris Dreyfus, an inspector in the police.

This man, to my direct knowledge, committed four criminal offences during the 30 minutes or so he stood next to me. First, he repeatedly chanted the arcane, antiquated Americana, “Kill the pigs!” This is a clear incitement to violence, indeed murder. If a Muslim demonstrator had been chanting it, say, outside the Danish Embassy, he would likely now be in prison. Secondly, he repeatedly (crushing me in the process) attempted to charge the crush barriers and the police line behind them. Thirdly, he repeatedly exhorted others so to do. Fourthly, he instructed a young demonstrator on the correct way to uncouple a crush barrier, which was successfully achieved and was subsequently thrown at the police, and was presumably one of the justifications for the deployment of a riot squad which eventually waded in to the protesters.

Home Secretary, there can hardly a more grave indictment of the conduct of the police force in a democratic country than this. People in the labour movement have often mythologised the state’s use of agents provocateurs throughout my 40 years experience and no doubt long before. But, to my recollection, we have never caught one red-handed before.

This inspector’s criminal actions must place all the other in themselves legitimate complaints about police tactics in a new light. I wrote to Sir Ian – and to Mayor Johnson – questioning the competence of the policing on that day. It now seems that what happened was a deliberate conspiracy to bring about scenes of violent disorder, seen around the world and for purposes on which we can only speculate.

You, however, have clear responsibility to get to the heart of this matter. I do hope you will begin to do so without delay. In any case,

Yours sincerely,

George Galloway MP

(Article continues below)

In addition to this information, other demonstrators have described similar incidents with strange looking protesters.

Following Galloway's correspondence with Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair complaining about the policing of last Sunday's Stop the War demonstration in Whitehall, the Respect MP will also be meeting, early next week, a senior Met officer who has been charged with investigating the complaint.

The protest was intended to take place outside the entrance to Downing Street, however, a police ban on entering Whitehall was imposed on the recommendation of Bush and his advisors.

Demonstrators included members of the Stop War Coalition, CND and the British Muslim Initiative.

The rally began with speeches from MP Tony Benn, Bianca Jagger and George Galloway, but soon turned violent as police made 25 arrests in Parliament Square after some of the 2,500 protestors attempted to breach the police blockades.

Several protesters were kept in custody and were later charged with offences including affray, violent disorder, assaulting police and possession of an offensive weapon.

Police described the protests as "unlawful" and "deplorable", however, protestors claimed heavy-handed policing was entirely to blame for the violence.

Suzanna Wylie, 29, from London, was left bleeding from a head injury.

She said: 'We were standing near the front, the police shouted at us to move back, we tried but couldn't and they started hitting people on the heads with their truncheons.

'It was frightening. I somehow got hit.

'I was caught between the police in front of me and people behind me who were throwing things at the police.'

And protester Mary Robin, 61, said: 'There is never trouble at these things, but there were so many police officers it was like a war zone on our streets.'

There was a very heavy security presence at the protest including riot police, armed officers, and even snipers on rooftops. An Evening Standard report from the previous Friday also detailed how a Met spokeswoman stated that a “large amount of covert work” would be going on around the Bush Downing Street visit.

The 2005 Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (SOCPA) banned unauthorised protest within a kilometre of the Houses of Parliament. Since that time, “SOCPA zones” have been initiated in locations throughout the country.

Watch video of the riot police in action on the streets of London last week:

It has been common practice at previous demonstrations for authorities to employ police or special forces to intentionally infiltrate peaceful protests and cause violence.

Last year peaceful protestors at the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) summit in Montebello captured sensational video of hired agent provocateurs attempting to incite rioting and turn the protest violent, only to encounter brave resistance from real protest leaders.

Quebec provincial police later admitted that their officers disguised themselves as demonstrators during the protest at the North American leaders summit in Montebello, Que.

In Seattle in 1999 at the World Trade Organisation meeting, the authorities declared a state of emergency, imposed curfews and resorted to nothing short of police state tactics in response to a small minority of hostile black bloc hooligans. In his film Police State 2, Alex Jones covered the fact that the police allowed the black bloc to run riot in downtown Seattle while they concentrated on preventing the movement of peaceful protestors. The film presents evidence that the left-wing anarchist groups are actually controlled by the state and used to demonize peaceful protesters.

At WTO protests in Genoa 2001 a protestor was killed after being shot in the head and run over twice by a police vehicle. The Italian Carabinere also later beat on peaceful protestors as they slept, and even tortured some, at the Diaz School. It later emerged that the police fabricated evidence against the protesters, claiming they were anarchist rioters, to justify their actions. Some Carabiniere officials have since come forward to say they knew of infiltration of the black bloc anarchists, that fellow officers acted as agent provocateurs.

At the Free Trade Area of Americas protests in Miami in late November 2003, more provocateuring was evident. The United Steelworkers of America, calling for a congressional investigation, stated that the police intentionally caused violence and arrested and charged hundreds of peaceful protestors. The USWA suggested that billions of dollars supposedly slated for Iraq reconstruction funds are actually being used to subsidize ‘homeland repression’ in America.

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