Allow the hiatus. But after the demonstrations in London, the tear gas in Strasbourg, the Tamils’ occupation in Parliament Square and the 36 hours without sleep, I’m touching back like a chiropract.
I don’t know what the G20 meant for you, but for me it was witnessing two solid days of police brutality. By the end of it, I felt mentally scarred for life. But, incredibly, even in this alter-existence I wasn’t going to escape discrimination. On the Thursday of that infamous week, me and Martin (my revolutionary photographing friend) were considering wandering away from Bank when an officer said to him:
“I think you should get him out of here.”
“Yeah,” obviously I joined in, “what is that actually supposed to mean!?!”
“Well this area is going to get dangerous…”
“Why are you going to make it dangerous then?!”
This is our pathetic excuse of a police force. We certainly weren’t going to be leaving after that ridiculous comment. But it wasn’t just an isolated incident; I lost count of the number of times I heard cops saying that for some reason or another I had less of a right to be there, because I’m “disabled”. What a joke. Another officer at Bank told me I was “paid to waste his time” when I told him I was a journalist. A week later, I see in the Guardian that the same officer has been suspended for beating up a woman – shows you what kind of people we’re dealing with here.
In light of these events, I thought it was quite ironic when I got two cops to lift my wheelchair up the stairs at Parliament Square, so that I could join the “illegal” Tamil protest. They must’ve felt used boy!
Bus drivers have been no better recently. Another one tried to not let me on:
“Sorry, I’ve already got a wheelchair on.”
“But I can see that you don’t…”
These people must think I’m really stupid.
“No, I’ve got a wheelchair on.”
“That’s a pram.”
Realising how much time, but more importantly determination I have on my side, he eventually gave in. The fact that I had to argue for it shows the dire state we’re in. I’m on some Rosa Parkes shit out here. He also tried to not give me his driver number when I told him that I was going to make a complaint… again, didn’t realise how much time I’ve got on my hands.
“4-2-6-1. The ramp’s out.”