Police are bracing themselves for a 'summer of rage' against the economic crisis, a senior officer warned today.The ‘known activists’ (the likes of the SWP and others) are going to be pushing on an open door if things continue as they are, or - as seems likely - get worse…
Superintendent David Hartshorn, who heads the Metropolitan Police's public order branch, said he feared there could be 'mass protest' at rising unemployment, failing financial institutions and the downturn in the economy.
The officer told The Guardian that 'known activists' were planning returns to the streets, and intelligence revealed that they may be able to call on more protesters than normal due to the unprecedented conditions.
He said: 'Those people would be good at motivating people, but they haven't had the "footsoldiers" to actually carry out (protests).Yeah, but I can’t see the average ‘man on the street’ getting out the Molotovs for what is a dry, pointless summit of wining, dining politicians. Only the usual rent-a-mob will be out for this – there will be trouble, no doubt, but it’ll not be any worse than the last time.
'Obviously the downturn in the economy, unemployment, repossessions, changes that. Suddenly there is the opportunity for people to mass protest.'
Mr Hartshorn, who is regularly briefed on potential causes of civil unrest, singled out April's G20 summit of the leading developed nations in London as one of the events that could kick start a series of protests.
'We've got G20 coming and I think that is being advertised on some of the sites as the highlight of what they see as a "summer of rage",' he said.
What’s more likely is protest over rising prices, or fuel shortages, especially if we get a heatwave:
Other parts of Europe have already seen large-scale protests against the handling of the economy.My memory’s failing me, but wasn’t it a particularly hot summer when the Poll Tax riots were in full flow?
Up to 120,000 people marched through Dublin on Saturday in an emotional and angry national demonstration over the Irish Government's handling of the economic crisis.
* I guess I have different musical tastes to ’Ranting Stan’… ;)