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MeMoir 2 | by Mister Higgs
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MeMoir 2

here's todays trip down memory lane, brought to you via the frontpage of the Evening Standard, march 6th 1990. The original photographer's name was Mike Floyd.

 

The events portrayed here are a few weeks before the big Trafalger Square poll tax riots of 1990 and before Thatcher waved bye bye.

 

Here I'm getting arrested outside Haringey Civic Centre (north London), monday 5th march 1990, after spending some time contributing to disrupting and stalling Haringey council. The council members were meeting to set their first Poll Tax, which was also to be one of the highest Poll Taxes in the country.

 

There were some eggs involved. They were mine and they inspired a Sun newspaper headline the next day that said "MOB HURLS EGGS."

 

It was the next day while I was on the tube, that I looked across at the other passenger's newspapers and noticed that I was on the Evening Standard frontpage, captioned into the role of "an angry protestor".

 

The whole of the caption says..."Police restrain an angry protester during the height of last night's demonstration."

 

Actually the expression on my face isn't anger, it's simply me concentrating on making it very difficult to physically move me.

 

What's missing from the newspaper's account is that once the police did move me round to the side of the building, away from the media spotlight, that was when the arresting officers started kicking me repeatedly in my lower back. Plus it's a shame there was no camera in the police van, where I was held on the floor with an officer drilling his elbow into my face with the full weight of his body for the entire journey. Best of all I could have done with a photographer being present at the moment when we arrived at the police station and the officer grated me like cheese against the station's external pebble dash wall and then just before we entered the building he whispered menacingly to me "say nothing".

 

I'd been arrested plenty of times before, but that was my first experience of police violence whilst being in their grip and it was a bit intense at the time. It was worrying and I remember feeling relieved to be sharing a cell with another arrestee once inside the station, rather than being isolated and vulnerable to further abuse.

 

Plus after all that the cheeky bastards charged me (falsely) with beating up an officer AND with trying to instigate a riot.

 

I've still got copies of all the arresting officers creative statements, I'll share those detailed gems with you another day.

 

Earlier that evening I'd also experienced some perfectly reasonable police. We were originally inside the public gallery, delaying the start of the council meeting, and the police that eventually carried me out of the building simply deposited me outside and suggested that I go away for a bit and cool off.

 

As it was I then went straight to the nearest shop and that's when I purchased my eggs.

 

Tomorrow we'll probably visit the frontpage of The Pink Paper from around 1989/90, some AIDS activism, catapulting condoms over the wall into Pentonville prison.

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Taken on December 4, 2007