Student protestors got back on the streets on the 9 of November. A year after the temporary occupation of Millbank, and with the Riots only just behind them, it seems the Police have gotten a bit tired of being pushed around by the youth of the nation on London’s streets.
The police accepted the protest but put on enough officers to have a two man escort for each protestor. and a few spare horses. The feeling as the march through the west end was jovial but after a break out at Trafalgar Square and an (ultimately failed) attempt to occupy the square, the police stepped things up. With the feeling going into the square mile more like something from 1984 or a scene from Children of Men.
Now I know this blog is meant to be on images in the media. But how about the images that we see with our own lives.
The sense of foreboding I felt after witnessing a met snatch squad take a protestor in what could easily have been labeled as a political kidnapping in another country labeled as authoritarian by the west.
The image given to protesters is one of complete control over their movements and actions.
On the 30 November during the national Strike called by the TUC over Public sector pension reforms. Trafalgar square was cordoned off by a 7 foot steel fence. Not some flimsy thing you get around building sites but a solid wall.
The suggestion from the government that all protest in and around London during the Olympics will be banned. It is truly chilling that only 4 years ago the national press, the government and opposition of the time condemned the same brutal policing of protest by China.
As a watcher from afar I supported the police during the G20 riots outside the Bank of England in 2009. I thought of the police as hard done by in trying to control a protest which goaded them into action.
After only a few protests attended as a member of the press, there to document events objectively. I find myself becoming amazed at the abuse of power and heavy handedness of the state to protect businesses and organisations complicit in the market collapse from peaceful protest in a public forum.
The hypocrisy of the West, and the manner in which we excuse police and government authoritarianism, because we think we have power through a vote held at the governments request, leaves me in amazement.