The recent mass demonstrations in Hong Kong that have been calling for greater democracy saw the Police initially responding with riot squads, tear gas and pepper spray against peaceful protestors. However, this authoritarian response merely caused the protests to grow, leading to the temporary withdrawal of the Police. On Sept 30th Human Rights Watch called for the authorities to avoid using excessive force, and there was a stand-off during the national holiday to celebrate the founding of Communist China. Protestors had planned to occupy government buildings if the Chief Executive CY Leung didn't stand down by midnight Oct 2nd, resulting in a heavy police presence outside the Chief Executive's building. In a recent Press Conference, CY Leung still refused to quit, but has offered to hold talks and this offer has been accepted by protestors. The situation currently appears to be calmer, although many protestors are still on the streets.
The Battle of Orgreave
The Battle of Orgreave happened when 10,000 striking miners were confronted by up to 4000 police officers from across the country at the Orgreave coking plant in South Yorkshire, resulting in running battles between pickets and police, with 93 arrests and over 100 injured from both sides. This incident was significant because it saw the first major public display of the new paramilitary tactics that British police had learnt from their colleagues in Hong Kong, with Waddington (2011) arguing that the police planned a set-piece confrontation rather than reacting to violence from pickets as was suggested by the media. During the day police in riot gear would stand in formation holding long shields, and periodically part their lines to allow mounted police and officers with short shields to charge at the crowd, with snatch squads making arrests. In 1985, the BBC produced a documentary about Orgreave and interviewed John Alderson, a former Assistant Commissioner in the Metropolitan Police. This was his response on seeing footage of the fighting at Orgreave;