Wednesday, 1 April 2009

G20 summit starts as Police and Protesters clash!!!

In the big build up to the opening day of the G20 summit, a "war of words" and posturing has swirled back and forth between the Police and the anarchic element of protesters via the media. I can recall reading quotes from "unnamed police sources" saying "we're up for it" and numerous threads on protest forums suggesting that certain fringe groups are willing to deploy "any means necessary" to make their feelings known.
Recipe for disaster? I think so.

Carl Court/PA Wire/PA Photos

Despite calls from the government and peaceful protest groups such as Climate Camp for the avoidance of violent protest, I think under this current climate and heightened sensitivity of the Police, it was extremely unlikely that the protests would go on peacefully. In my opinion it's a "lose, lose" scenario as the Police have to bolster up security because of the possibility of things getting out of hand. Equally, protesters who are looking to express themselves by "any means necessary" will have prepared for a bust up - one source informing me that piles of bricks had been left outside Central London Bank branches overnight so as to avoid Police searches.

The 1st clashes started sometime around lunchtime, with Police charging down people as they tried to get close to the Bank of England. Scuffles and skirmishes broke out in pockets throughout the crowd with the Police making 20 arrests at the time of me writing this. In one scuffle, I'm pretty sure I saw a man wielding what appeared to be a sword! Hopefully things will calm down, but with blood spilt and the evening rapidly approaching, the pessimist in me tells Central London to brace itself for much worse.


Owen Humphreys PA Wire Photos

Some have accused the media frenzy of inciting and encouraging the violent and aggressive scenes by providing a stage for emotions to clash and explode. It's hard to disagree with that train of thought looking at scenes like this which have been common throughout the day -

- not the damage being caused but the sheer number of Photographers and Videographers waiting with baited breath and trigger happy fingers for something like this to happen(I think it's disgraceful when it reaches this scale).
Whilst playing into the hands of the media, I understand and somewhat share the anger of some of the protesters (peaceful and violent) I fear that they're up against one of the biggest, most organised gangs and most brutal gangs in the world and I wish there was a better way of getting the point across without having to go up against them; I just hope nobody is killed.

SIMON DAWSON/AP/PA Photos

As environmental campaigner and Guardian contributor George Monbiot asks "Riot police, or rioting police?" on his blog, It seems things are quietening down now (calm before the storm perhaps?) I don't know but what is evident after a day of protest, is that the protest itself was largely peaceful on the part of the protesters and the pockets of violent protesters did not outnumber the media frenzy vying for blood.
What does that say about the state of our civilized society?


- Mr. Devo

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