Police Fears Over G20 and a ’Summer of Unrest’

Posted: 26 February 2009 by Alton Locke in International Affairs, Political Science
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Days after Latvia’s government steps down, weeks after Iceland’s government steps down, a couple of months after people in Greece rise up, Ireland begins to speak up and governments around the world have no clue what people will do. This is their worst fear — when we become unpredictable.

As 100,000 protestors marched into Dublin last Saturday, showing contempt for what many see as a deliberate shifting of the burden of recession onto working people, London’s Superintendent David Hartshorn of the Public Order Policing branch expressed a general concern over the coming G20 summit in April. He implied that the ‘usual hardline anarchists’ would stir up protest by capitalising on the public disillusionment with current economic conditions.

A policeman said:

What police do believe is that there has been a re-emergence of some known activists who may attempt to once again become part of the protest scene in London…plus with environmental and economic issues affecting more people, this may broaden the appeal of demonstration.

As governments sit back and allow the private sector to cut jobs and salaries, whilst at the same time writing out cheques for them, public bitterness has grown. As yet the strikes and protests have been localised and contained, but , fragmented as they are in a global context, they are getting more frequent and larger. Yet, due in part to a distinct lack of genuine organised labour, it has been managed by deal-making with union leaders and by appealing to people on a platform of ‘everyone having to make sacrifices’. However, the only sacrifices that appear to be being made are those by ordinary working people and small to middle-sized business collapsing in succession as the banks continue to hold back lending.

As the economic trouble shows no real signs of abatement, it’s an interesting question as to how much convincing the people who are not ‘hardline anarchists’ will actually need in order to bring them to protest; perhaps Hartshorn will have more natural anarchists on his hands than he thinks. Demonstrations are already organised for March 28: a “Put People First” march through London, coordinated by unions, charities and anti-poverty campaigns. If the tide of resentment rises, the world’s lackeys of the status quo(a.k.a. the police) may be in for far worse than they anticipate when April comes.

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