There remains a lot of chatter online about the prospect of riots this week during the G20 summit in London. And I’m sorry, I just don’t get it. We have the case of a university professor who’s suspended from his job for reacting to the police’s own threat of violence. This includes the threat of using Tasers:
The centrepiece of the security plan will be hundreds of officers from the Metropolitan police territorial support group, who are routinely armed with speedcuffs, extended batons and CS gas spray.
The Met confirmed yesterday that they will be supported by officers equipped with Tasers on stand-by should trouble break out.
“There will be an armed response vehicle element to this operation and [those officers] will be carrying Tasers,” said a spokeswoman.
Hang on. TSG officers, encouraged to use weapons? Look what TSG officers actually do when they’re wound up. So far I see a police force, increasingly behaving like a law unto itself, threatening extreme violence on protesters. I see freedom of speech curbed through a hysterical overreaction to a man whose job is to encourage students to think for themselves and to challenge the status quo. I also see a media giddy at the prospect of violence on the streets:
The majority of protest groups have promised to demonstrate peacefully, but there are fears anarchist and hardcore anti-capitalists from Britain and abroad will try to fight police in pitched battles reminiscent of the anarchist riots of the late 1990s which caused millions of pounds of damage.
Senior officers at Scotland Yard say they are aware of several groups which plan to converge on the City of London financial district to cause blockades, and attempt to get inside major banks including the Bank of England.
One organiser is believed to be a senior lecturer at the University of East London. Some groups are said to be considering filling roads with sand and then sending children to play in it, making it impossible for police officers to forcibly remove them.
The evidence for ‘pitched battles’ comes from where exactly? And may I remind you of the way in which ‘anti-capitalists from Britain and abroad’ fought police in Genoa in 2001? The violent bastards!
The April protest has captured the imagination of anarchists. Some are plotting further demonstrations against the G20 on the day of the summit on 2 April.
One protester said the example of Athens, where young Greeks have been rioting for several months since police shot dead a teenager, could provide further inspiration.
An anarchist wrote in an online ‘blog’: ‘The combination of the recession, the inspiration of the Greek anarchists and the G20 summit being in london on 2 April gives us the opportunity to mobilise far larger than usual numbers on to the streets… Seize the time.’
Well let’s look at the example of Athens. First off I fail to see the link between people rioting because of the police murdering a teenager and the G20 summit. It’s hardly as if Britons riot when the police do commit murder – I doubt most people care about Jean Charles de Menezes, whose name is never invoked at any protests. And look how the police responded to the protests which did happen in response to the police murdering that boy in Greece. Chilling. Can someone substantiate the likelihood of ‘riots’ when all I see is police threats and a history of violent repression of lawful protest?