Another day, another live export shipment, another completely over the top police presence and this time they decided to harass people for the crime of walking on the beach and then attempting to use a public footpath.
It looked at first as if someone had seen sense and sent an appropriate number of officers to the port - only four were visible when I first arrived. But no, a wander along the port road revealed plenty more police in various locations, and soon more vehicles arrived. Strangely, a very large throng of officers were keeping a low profile behind some of the container lorries parked in the port.
I counted a total of a dozen or so police vehicles, including five large vans. I would estimate that there were between 40 and 50 officers present, though it was difficult to be sure as they seemed to be spread about all over the place this time. What on earth were they expecting to happen? There was a small group of protesters, less than usual at the port as I believe others were demonstrating at other points. Despite this, it was deemed necessary to have approximately two cops per peaceful protester.
A couple of guys were walking along the beach - doing nothing, not carrying banners, not shouting, just walking. Suddenly eight cops appeared and started tracking their movements - I can only assume they've been watching too many American movies. One of these guys was prevented from leaving the beach area and using the footpath. I heard one of the officers keep saying 'I believe you to be a protester.' Which he was, and wasn't making any secret of the fact...but was doing absolutely nothing that could be construed as a threat to public order, to the lorries about to arrive or to the safety of the officers.
A short while later, these two guys and two further protesters were escorted away from the port area and prevented from going back to where the group were gathered near the roundabout. The police seem to be assuming powers they don't actually have (at least not legally). If this kind of nonsense is deemed necessary for a low key protest by a small group, what the hell would happen if 500 people turned up and decided to get rowdy? Cameron & co seem to have decided that all protests must be crushed - and we take another step towards living under a regime much like those seen in China & Iran...
More pics here