According to the article, a peaceful protest in a public place (a shop) with no restrictions to other people, where the protestors were asked to leave, and even tidied up after themselves and were then kettled and aggressively arrested, meanwhile other protesters who were actually being violent and causing trouble elsewhere went unchecked. In my opinion, this is one way to start off violent anti-police protests.
The protesters were even apparently lied to, being told they’d be able to leave quietly, without being kettled or held in any way – thus making the police seem to be lying, cheating thugs. This sort of reputation is only going to raise anger amongst those affected, which happens to be practically any citizen who has ever peacefully protested in this country – anger against the force designed to keep the peace and uphold the laws of the land. Acts like this only go to highlight how maybe they aren’t quite doing it right.
Given that there were literally hundreds of thousands of people there (estimates range from 250 to 500 thousand people) protesting against the cuts that the ConDem government is putting us through, the Government isn’t getting a very good image as it is, and as the Police are giving this image too, it reflects even more badly on them.
What’s more, this isn’t the first instance of heavy-handed policing in recent times – protesters at Glasgow University who had been staging an occupation of an unused university building for seven weeks, when the university decided they didn’t want them there any more, so called in police to evict them, which turned into students being dragged from the building. Eventually, the students decided to occupy the main services building of the university instead, causing havoc to the operations of the university. Eventually, the university struck a deal with the students allowing them to return to the unused building just to get them out of the way.
In all seriousness, the police and the government need to take a good long hard look at themselves, and decide if this is the way they truly want the country to turn out – and with calls for a national strike, I don’t think it’s going well for the government. We seem to be seeing a resurgence of the Thatcher years, with all protests and strikes there, although I doubt David Cameron has the backbone for it – although when supported by his best friend (and seemingly puppet) Clegg, they might be able to keep up the traditions of the Iron Lady.