Hillsborough disaster shows the real function of the police

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Printer-friendly versionSend by emailOn Saturday April 15, 1989, at an FA cup tie between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, 96 football fans were killed at Hillsborough stadium, Sheffield. The oldest victim was 67, the youngest a ten year old, the cousin of a then eight year old Steven Gerrard. This slaughter not only showed the contempt of the football authorities, the media and the police for the working class; it also showed that for the state, its police force is not there to protect and safeguard the masses, but has been perfected to repress them. Hillsborough occurred just five years after the police had brutally attacked the miners and their supporters and eighteen years before the 7/7 London bombings, where the police were shown incapable of carrying out the most basic care of the victims and giving the simplest first aid.

In a disgusting travesty in the aftermath of Hillsborough, the Sun, on police information, accused the fans of hooliganism, stealing from and urinating on the dead and the dying. But in reality the fans were the real heroes, immediately improvising and assisting. And people that get crushed to death expel the contents of their bladders. Earlier in the miners' strike, the media showed its ‘objectivity' with the BBC reversing the footage of the armed police attack on unarmed strikers at Orgreave, presenting the workers as ‘starting it' and therefore responsible for their own injuries.

Twenty minutes before kick-off at Hillsborough police monitored the Leppings Lane crush on CCTV. They did nothing while people were crushed to death standing up or as barriers gave way. Police patrolling feet away on the pitch seemed helpless at best, ignorant and abusive at worst, putting the crush down to hooliganism. Although the police eventually opened a gate to let people on to the pitch (the match had started and Beardsley nearly scored for Liverpool on 4 minutes - luckily he didn't, because the resulting celebrations might have made the situation even worse) the police response was still one of castigating ‘hooliganism'. With the match stopped and ambulances arriving at the stadium from everywhere, the police refused to let them in, telling them that there was still fighting. Forty four ambulances and over eighty trained staff were kept outside by the police while the wounded inside were left to die as the traumatised fans did what they could to help. One ambulance driver, Tony Edwards (himself traumatised by the event) drove through the police lines to the Leppings Lane end. He said (Observer, 15/3/9): "... There was no fighting. The survivors were deciding who the priority was and who we should deal with. The police weren't". Despite his willingness and first hand insight, Edwards wasn't called to the Taylor Enquiry, or Whitewash as it should be more accurately known.

 The Enquiry had fine words for the football supporters, as more recently did the Sun in its ‘tribute'. There's more of this spew to come from the bourgeoisie. But all the sickening hypocrisy cannot hide the facts that the police as agents of the state are there to repress and keep down the working class, not to assist or help it. The disgusting events of Hillsborough show this clearly.

Baboon 25/3/9