Yasmin Whittaker-khan
Daily Mail
June 23, 2008

I realise there are times when the police need to work undercover if they suspect a crime is being committed. But that is quite different to going into a crowd as an agitator to create disruption.  

Last Sunday afternoon in Parliament Square, Central London, and several thousand anti-war protesters were gathered to mark President George W. Bush’s last official visit to Britain.

The crowd was, as usual, relaxed, supportive and friendly. So friendly that some people reckon an anti-war demo is a good place to find a partner. It certainly beats internet dating.

The man I was to meet that day, however, left me angry and bemused.

At the start, the demo – organised by Stop The War Coalition, CND and the British Muslim Initiative – was peaceful, if lively.

Many protesters came with hooters, drums, screeching whistles and saucepan lids – every one of them passionately opposed to the invasion of Iraq.

But looming over us ominously was a heavy security presence: riot police, armed officers, even snipers on rooftops.

These days it appears permissible to wave a gun at Britons exercising their democratic rights.

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