By Lauren Booth
I was outside the Bank of England during the G20 protest, not far from where passer-by Ian Tomlinson died after being assaulted by a police officer.
The police presence was as excessive as it was provocative.
The Metropolitan Police’s Territorial Support Group (TSG) are the aggressive offspring of the disgraced Special Patrol Group of the Eighties.
A woman is attacked by a police officer during the G20 protests in London on April 2
A woman is attacked by an officer during the G20 protests in London earlier this month
When policing events, they are issued with ‘Nato’ helmets, flame-retardant overalls, stab vests, gloves, balaclavas and boots. All carry the standard batons, pepper spray and cuffs.
Yet let’s try to remember the last full-on riot in Britain that resulted from a political rally – ah yes, the Poll Tax riots almost 20 years ago.
But the police are still authorised to use Tasers and firearm-trained TSG officers carry pistols or sub-machine guns.
My God, when did we accept that armoured cars, special snatch squads and armed police were the right level of policing for protests against Government policy?
How did we sleepwalk into a situation where our movements, all of our electronic data, even our DNA, is stored on a massive central database?
In fact, it was easy for Blairites to con us into accepting the 3,609 new offences they have created since 1997.
They tapped into our fears and prejudices so we simply ignored the repeal of our rights.
Anti-terror legislation was not too subtly sold as being aimed at evil, dastardly Jihadi-types – not ‘us’.
Presumably this legislation was intended, then, for people such as my friend Farukh.
It’s time we all woke up and smelled the pepper spray. These new laws were not created to protect British people but to control us.
Take the case of Malcolm Sleath, chairman of his local park society in Enfield, North London, who was told by police he had breached Section 44 of the Terrorism Act.
This law, amended in February, allows police to stop and search anyone they consider a terrorist threat.
What had Mr Sleath done to warrant the threat of ten years in prison? He had filmed the officers driving their police car erratically across the park.
The 62-year-old management consultant said: ‘They are supposed to investigate things on foot, so I wanted to show the picture to their sergeant.’
The question we must ask now is: are any of us ‘good’ enough to be safe from detention and harm imposed by Government bodies, out-of-control councils or bullying TSG officers?
I reckon Bolivia could be an interesting place to live.
with the Met running amok on our streets, I’d feel right at home with South American policing,
Comments from the Daily Mail’s website:
I can’t remember the last time protest changed the mind of the government. They’ve certainly been covertly encouraged by government in some circumstances to change public opinion and usher in social change but as for the government themselves? I don’t think so. If people began taking real personal risks through peaceful non cooperation, then I think they would begin to worry.
– Ed Bernays, Ireland
I commented against them here and elsewhere, saying “wake up before it’s too late.”
Well, thanks for catching up to me
Sadly, I fear it’s way too late.
I’m out of the UK as soon as, because I think it’ll get worse, not better – they’ve come too far to quit thinking they are (and acting like) our masters.
Good Luck to the rest of you.
– Somé, Manchester UK