‘The Battle of Grosvenor Square’ is often identified as the high-point of Britain’s experience of Sixties political radicalism. Despite its importance, our knowledge of the actual events remains incomplete. Even after the eclipse of nearly 50 years, the Metropolitan Police Service have rejected Freedom of Information requests to release their files on the demonstration.
The documents below were instead released by the Home Office. They show something the rich landscape of leftist political activism in the late 1960s, the close relationship between the Home Secretary and the Met Commissioner on matters of public order, and provide a rare insight into the operations of Special Branch and their surveillance of political activists.
Also see the related articles on this site:
- Vietnam war – story, by Jac St. John
- 1968: Protest and Special Branch, by Donal O’Driscoll.
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Remember, these are only the files that the authorities chose to disclose and may only represent a small fraction of the total files held. Also, what police officers report to their superiors is not necessarily true.