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Archive for April, 2009

Friday
Apr 3,2009

I am told that some of the protesters who broke into the RBS building on Wednesday used the place as a toilet.

No doubt Jenny Jones will see this as a reason why more portaloos should have been provided …..

And what exactly is the mindset of those protesting about global capitalism that suggests that the lucky recipients of the contents of their bowels should be the RBS cleaners (no doubt employed by contractors on the minimum wage) and those whose workstations were on the ground floor (hardly likely to be the high-paid decision-takers whom were the intended targets)?

Friday
Apr 3,2009

2pm Thursday 2nd April and the Metropolitan Police Authority’s Strategic and Operational Policing Committee is given an oral update on the policing of the G20 demonstrations.  Jenny Jones AM (in her guise as the “friend of protest”) has arrived with sheafs of questions, many of which she asks despite being told that this is intended to be a brief update, as the G20 event is still in progress and there will be a fuller opportunity to review in detail the police’s operations later in the month.

Her main concern seems to be that the police didn’t give out enough water bottles to the protestors corralled in various areas and that the portaloos provided were in the wrong place (obviously this would have been an even bigger issue had more water been provided). 

This raises for me the question: is it really a necessary part of policing a major event like the G20 summit for the police to be so concerned about the welfare of protestors?  The argument is that, if police tactics involve placing cordons around certain areas to prevent potential trouble-makers leaving – and inevitably peaceful, lawful protestors will get caught up in this, then the police need to ensure that the human rights of those affected are protected by providing water and toilets.  This follows on from the court proceedings following previous May Day protests, but I still find it a bit rich when the police are criticised for not providing enough …..

Where else in the world would the police provide toilets and water bottles to protestors under such circumstances? 

There are those who constantly complain that the UK is becoming a police state.  They need to consider the fact that the protests around the G20 summit and indeed the security of the summit itself were managed without (as would have happened in most other places in the world) far more people being arrested, far more people being injured, without the use of water cannons, rubber bullets, tasers etc.  Perhaps what it demonstrates is that we do genuinely have a mature democracy in the UK where the rights to protest and demonstrate peacefully are protected and safely managed by the police.

Wednesday
Apr 1,2009

The latest figures that I have seen from the Metropolitan Police say that by 5pm today the police had arrested 24 people involved in the protests.  Of those 24, no fewer than ELEVEN have been arrested for possessing a police uniform.  Of the remainder, three were arrested for violent disorder, two for breach of the peace, two for public order offences, two for aggravated burglary at the RBS building, one for criminal damage, one for obstructing the highway and one for possession of a Class A drug.  And yes, I know the figures don’t add up but we are talking police statistics here …

Nevertheless, so far the arrest figures are small (there could, of course, be worse disorder to come), but I wonder what the total would have been in another capital city faced with some of the scenes we’ve seen today in London.  And if the new protest tactic is to pretend to be a policeman …..

 

UPDATE:

Arrest figures at 7pm – 32 in total, of which: eleven for possession of a police uniform; seven for public order offences; two for breach of the peace; two for aggravated burglary at RBS; and one each for threatening behaviour, possession of a Class A drug; violent disorder; obstruction of highway; criminal damage; arson; possession of an offensive weapon; obstruction of police; Section 60; and affray.  And it still doesn’t add up.