Socialist Worker

State responds with fear ahead of G20 summit

by Siân Ruddick
Issue No. 2145

Police created a climate of fear in the run up to the G20 protests in London. Workers in the City were advised to 'dress down' and to hide company badges to avoid being attacked by protesters.

Anti-car bomb barriers were erected around the Excel centre in east London, and police divers and speed boats were to guard the G20 summit venue from the water. The police operation will cost £7.2 million.

Commander Simon O'Brien from the Metropolitan Police boasted to reporters that his force was 'up for it and we're up to it'.

This heavy-handed approach is the latest attempt to criminalise protests. In the early years of the anti-war movement demonstrations passed off peacefully – even when a police ban on one was broken in October 2007.

But this started to changed with the demonstration against George Bush's visit to London in June last year. Those challenging the ban were met with police violence and many were arrested.

This was followed by police baton charges against those protesting against Israel's attacks on Gaza in January this year.

We must stand united against government and police attempts to criminalise and intimidate protesters.

Raid uncovers 'different' books

Five activists from Plymouth – including a 16 year old – were arrested under anti‑terror legislation this week in the run up to the G20 summit.

One man was detained on Monday of this week after allegedly graffiting a wall.

Police searching his flat then apparently found political literature, fake weapons and fireworks. They then arrested a further four people.

Paul Netherton, Devon and Cornwall assistant chief constable, said that the seized weapons were 'not major' and 'probably not even lethal'.

Commenting on the literature found, he said, 'It's political. It relates to political organisations. It's not extreme but it's a different political view. It leads to motives and things like that.'

It is not entirely clear what this means or why it is important to the police that people might take a 'different' political view.

A Scotland Yard spokesman confirmed this week, 'At the current time we have no information to suggest a change to the threat picture facing either the demonstrations or G20.'

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