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Protests have power to disrupt their system

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Issue 2746
Thousands gathered in central London on Sunday
Thousands gathered in central London on Sunday (Pic: Guy Smallman)

The rage of women on the streets across Britain this week at the system and the police showed the state was losing control.

After the Metropolitan Police violence at a vigil held last Saturday for Sarah Everard and the protests that followed, the establishment had no answers.

The police, the politicians and the media had to bend to an overwhelming feeling from millions in society. Their usual control was shaken, at least for a time.

We should remember and build on their vulnerability. This is a chance to say no going back to the cover-up of how women are treated.

That’s not least because Sarah’s Everard’s alleged kidnapper and murderer is a police officer. And then women who came to mourn and demand change felt the heavy hand of the same police brutality.

The alleged killer of Sarah Everard belonged to institutionally sexist force
The alleged killer of Sarah Everard belonged to institutionally sexist force
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One iconic photo of a woman being pinned down by several police officers forced many to ask who protects us. And if the police don’t protect us, who are they protecting?

A single event, a horrific murder, then saw many women speak out about the routine harassment and violence that is endemic in our sexist society. The last week has put that whole society on trial.

Footage of police punching and grabbing attendees shook those at the top, but the likes of Boris Johnson and Priti Patel do not care for the police’s victims.

They fear that protests have the potential to make real change.


After days and nights of protests the system wants its control back. The Tories and the cops have tried to claim that what happened at Clapham was the result of outsiders.

Chair of the Metropolitan police federation Ken Marsh has said that the vigil turned violent after being hijacked by political groups such as Extinction Rebellion, Black Lives Matter and Antifa. But the only hijackers were the cops. Others say we need more police to make the streets safer, rather than targeting the institution itself.

Those at the top want to deflate the movement. It’s vital that this rage is not passed over in favour of inquiries, and minor changes that will alter nothing fundamental.

In a desperate attempt to regain control, police attending protests have stood back and “kindly” reminded people that they shouldn’t be protesting.

But the real face of the system is the protest-smashing police bill being rushed through parliament this week.

The ruling elite don’t want us protesting and condemning their system and their police force, no matter how “deeply concerned” Boris Johnson might pretend he is.

But we don’t need permission from the ruling class to protest. We must fight to really reclaim the streets and our lives. Don’t be tamed, don’t be polite, don’t be drawn back into politics as usual.

Stay on the streets because mass movements are vital to demanding justice, fighting for change and protecting the right to protest.

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