Page last updated at 14:47 GMT, Monday, 22 March 2010

Metropolitan Police admit G20 unlawful arrests

By Dominic Casciani
BBC News

Photo: Anonymous
Officers in riot gear questioned about 60 people

The Metropolitan Police has paid damages to protesters it unlawfully arrested during the G20 protests.

The force paid £6,000 in damages to Hannah McClure and Andrew Rubens who were held during a raid on a squat.

The arrests came about when officers in riot gear broke up a meeting of some 60 climate camp activists during the April 2009 global summit in London.

Solicitors for the pair said that others demonstrators held during the same operation would now sue.

The Climate Camp anti-global warming group was one of the key protest groups involved in two days of G20 demonstrations centred on the City of London financial district.

Ms McClure, 22, and Mr Rubens, 23, had joined a meeting at premises at Earl Street on the edge of the Square Mile on 2 April.

Large numbers of police later arrived in riot gear and sealed off the street before detaining some 60 people who had been inside the building.

'Aggressive raid'

At the time, protesters complained they were treated harshly because it had been a peaceful meeting. Some of the activists chanted "shame on you" at the officers during the raid which was subsequently posted on YouTube.

Ms McClure, of Leeds, and Mr Rubens, a Glasgow student, complained that they had been unlawfully arrested and held without reasonable suspicion.

They said they were made to stand in the street as officers compared the group with images of protesters that been gathered by intelligence teams.

Mr Rubens said in a witness statement to the court that he had been "very shaken up".

In a statement, the force said: "The Metropolitan Police Service can confirm that it has settled a claim made by two people present at an address in Earl Street on 2nd April.

"We have accepted that they should not have been arrested and have agreed to pay them compensation. Any further claims will be looked at on a case-by-case basis."

Stephen Grosz, solicitor for the pair, said other protesters who were angry at being arrested would now bring their own claims.

"No-one who has seen the footage of this raid can fail to be shocked by the police tactics," said Mr Grosz.

"A group of protesters was terrified by this unnecessary and aggressive raid. We asked the Commissioner to apologise, either publicly or at least individually to the two claimants. He refused to do so.

"We hope that the settlement of this case will help to ensure that such incidents are not repeated, and that the circumstances of this incident will be taken into account when planning for similar events in the future."

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