Climate activists were poised to swoop to a site in London on Wednesday of this week to set up a Camp for Climate Action. But another group is also ready for action – the police.
The police’s public image is still in crisis after they raided the climate camp in the City of London during the G20 protests, and following the death of Ian Tomlinson.
The Met is attempting to erase the images of riot cops beating climate campers from people’s minds. Its new strategy for police to be seen as “good cops” is centred around messaging service Twitter – with a bit of sexism thrown in.
The Met has set up a profile on the site where protesters can sign up to receive updates about police tactics. It is making a big deal of putting women in charge – who will supposedly be “softer” and more “friendly”.
But this strategy faces many hurdles. A YouGov survey showed that police behaviour during the G20 protests has left a lasting impression.
Some 8 percent said they were put off joining protests in future because of their fears about how demonstrations are handled, and 33 percent said that filming protesters is an invasion of privacy.
The reality is that behind the gimmicks and cosy invitations to sit down and talk, the police will continue to step up surveillance and make more arrests.
We must defend the right to protest and continue to expose the brutality of the police.