The recent, very violent policing of protests against the G20 meeting in London has become a matter of concern. The story that the authorities tell is one of disobedient police officers. The story, with a bit of imagination, could be understood as if, perhaps, there aren’t just a few bad apples in the barrel, some individuals: maybe there is a disease inside the institution, indeed it is “very worrying“:
“Some officers now appeared prepared to flout recent orders from senior commanders to display their numbers, Huhne said, with another officer photographed at the protest staged by Tamils in Parliament Square with his numbers disguised. “What we appear to have is repeated cases of police officers ignoring the direct orders of their police supervisors and this is very worrying.
“There’s only one motive for a police officer disguising his identity and that’s because he thinks he’s going to be doing something reprehensible.”
Senior Metropolitan police officers held a series of crisis meetings throughout last week and sources said Sir Paul Stephenson, the new commissioner, was determined to get a grip. One Met source said he was ready to “kick some ass” among senior officers. The IPCC has received more than 185 complaints about the G20 protests, of which 44 are not eligible for consideration, including complaints from people who saw footage on TV. Around 90 complaints about use of force included witness accounts as well as those from alleged victims.”
It is obviously wishful thinking that the current concern will translate into institutional reforms on a large scale. Most likely it will subside into a few firings, extended suspensions (paid holidays) and early retirements with golden handshakes. The police as an institution is intricately connected to the economy and representative democracy, representing industrial, private interests, as such it is a force of violence that is mobilised when the masses threaten the elite. The police are the arms of the agents of waste.
“The tradition of the oppressed teaches us that the ‘state of emergency’ in which we live is not the exception but the rule.” Walter Benjamin, 1940.
For those who have followed mainstream media coverage – as it first unfolded – of the protests against the scandalous G20 (who are deciding to give the IMF, those with the Structural Adjustment Plans to steal from the poor, an enormous amount of money: The G-20 agreed to give the fund and other development bodies new resources of $1.1 trillion, exceeding most expectations, with the IMF’s coffers potentially boosted by $750 billion) might have missed a few things, but thankfully we have Indymedia and others.
This is not, however, about economics and politrix directly (this seems like an interesting introduction to those issues), but about police brutality.
UPDATE: The Guardian has now brought two stories, documenting police brutality leading to the death of Ian Tomlinson:
and Video reveals G20 police assault on man who died: Exclusive footage obtained by the Guardian shows Ian Tomlinson, who died during G20 protests in London, was attacked from behind by baton–wielding police officer
FURTHER UPDATE: The mainstream media is now completely in on the Witch Hunt for “one bad apple”, who acted “out of order”. Channel 4 has a report here (curiously followed by an interview with “protests police commander Simon O’Brien” lying through his teeth: HE SHOULD BE ARRSTED TOO, FOR DELIBERATELY LYING TO THE PUBLIC TO PROTECT A CRIMINAL!) and the BBC reports that the “Metropolitan Police (Met) has now acknowledged Mr Tomlinson came “into contact with police” before he died.”
Compare the evidence to the first stories from the BBC and SKY (released three hours later; i.e. time for scripting) saying that he died of “natural causes” and that protestors prevented them from providing first aid. What really happened was that the police brutally attacked a random pedestrian and he died consequently.
Christiania evictions spark riots in Copenhagen, is not a story by colonos, it just came in on the wire and is reproduced here with no comments, really, unless, that is, THAT THIS is typical of the racist, culturally cleansing Danish government and their coercive police force.
Christiania is a place that they just don’t like, because people are different there. Remember that this is the duck pond country of The Ugly Duckling, where if “you are not from around here” you better get out.
Since the current and far-right founded government began their cultural cleansings with their shocking win and alliance with the racist, anti-muslim, national social-democratic, far-right, Danish People’s Party, in 2001, there has been a war on christiania. Alongside Denmark’s participation in the war on the Afghan people the country has undergone a dramatic cultural turn for the worse. The people have responded eloquently to Prime Minister, Anders Fjogh Rasmussen:
The government in their first few weeks in office announced a cultural genocide when they listed 250 research institutions and projects to be shut down. That was just the beginning. Meanwhile there is a rise of extremist christians as well.
Violence and gang war is now on the daily agenda in a city that suddenly has to sustain a large cannabis market that was previously run by happy hippies in an unholy marriage with Hell’s Angels type bikers. This used to unfold in a fairly organised and mostly peaceful manner in Christiania’s Pusher Street, for all to see and observe and know about, but the market came up for grabs when it was pressurised, as part of the cultural war, out of the Free Town (Fristaden, as Christiania is also called). There was a culture similar to that of the Dutch coffee clubs, but in a lovely park by the water where many cafes and restaurants and social and ecological projects constinue to thrive, but nowadays with the ever present threat of raiding riot cops. Consequently, the cannabis market now unfolds around the city where rival gangs make neighbourhoods their own battlefields.
As violence has become everyday the authoritarian government, of course, has responded by investing more powers in the police, who have, with increasing force, introduced security zones in the inner city where civil liberties are routinely suspended in the form of stop and search interventions without probable cause or reasonable suspicion. The Brave New World has come to the Duck Pond. Of course it is very convenient to evict the cannabis market from Christiania, because the consequent warfare was obvious and serves as a perfect excuse to erode civil liberties and step up spending on policing in general.
In the 1970s Denmark’s social-democratic experiment was still a model and example, although it had many problems, it was certainly better than the extreme right-wing regime of today. It came to an end in 1982 when the country has its first round of the neoliberal waves of destruction that have brought the planet into a financial and ecological crisis. This is round two.