Other than body type, I saw no evidence that the men in masks in the crowd were undercover cops, or that they were trying to start a riot. Their behavior is hard to explain, however. Perhaps I’m in denial and just don’t want to believe it.
Are agent provocateurs real? The Guardian says this:
… Liberal Democrat Tom Brake says he saw what he believed to be two plain-clothes police officers go through a police cordon after presenting their ID cards.
Brake, who along with hundreds of others was corralled behind police lines near Bank tube station in the City of London on the day of the protests, says he was informed by people in the crowd that the men had been seen to throw bottles at the police and had encouraged others to do the same shortly before they passed through the cordon. … – guardcouk
Plainclothes police with batons at G20 protests
Plainclothes officers, one with his baton drawn, are seen mingling with uniformed riot police in the City of London on 2 April: The Guardian’s video evidence
“When I was in the middle of the crowd, two people came over to me and said, ‘There are people over there who we believe are policemen and who have been encouraging the crowd to throw things at the police,'” Brake said. But when the crowd became suspicious of the men and accused them of being police officers, the pair approached the police line and passed through after showing some form of identification.
Brake has produced a draft report of his experiences for the human rights committee, having received written statements from people in the crowd. These include Tony Amos, a photographer who was standing with protesters in the Royal Exchange between 5pm and 6pm. “He [one of the alleged officers] was egging protesters on. It was very noticeable,” Amos said. “Then suddenly a protester seemed to identify him as a policeman and turned on him. He legged it towards the police line, flashed some ID and they just let him through, no questions asked.”
Amos added: “He was pretty much inciting the crowd. He could not be called an observer. I don’t believe in conspiracy theories but this really struck me. Hopefully, a review of video evidence will clear this up.” – guarduk
If you are in a crowd at a peaceful protest and someone on your side tries to escalate it to a violent protest, do what you safely can to keep the peace. Outing plain clothes cops who wield weapons and try to get others to attack can save lives by preventing an incident.
I still find it hard to believe. Is provoking riots really an official policy of the police in the UK?