Monday, 23 February 2009

”Hot town, summer in the city…”*

Police are bracing themselves for a 'summer of rage' against the economic crisis, a senior officer warned today.

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.
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…
He said: 'Those people would be good at motivating people, but they haven't had the "footsoldiers" to actually carry out (protests).

'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.
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.

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.

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.
My memory’s failing me, but wasn’t it a particularly hot summer when the Poll Tax riots were in full flow?

* I guess I have different musical tastes to ’Ranting Stan’… ;)

2 comments:

Mark said...

'My memory’s failing me, but wasn’t it a particularly hot summer when the Poll Tax riots were in full flow?'.
Your memory is spot on.Until the August 2003 heatwave, the highest recorded UK temperature (37C or 99F) occurred in August 1990.
The biggest of the Poll Tax riots (in Trafalgar Square)actually took place during a mini spring heatwave, and coincided with the Strangeways prison riot- the native crims seeing it as an opportunity both to top up their tans, and indulge in some enjoyable wilful destruction.

JuliaM said...

"Your memory is spot on.Until the August 2003 heatwave, the highest recorded UK temperature (37C or 99F) occurred in August 1990."

Whew! I'm not losing it, then... ;)

"The biggest of the Poll Tax riots (in Trafalgar Square)actually took place during a mini spring heatwave..."

I was in London at the time - out for drinks and a meal with some work colleagues at (I think..) 'Maxwells' in Covent Garden. I remember it being really, really warm, and not being too interested in politics, we weren't aware of the nearby protest.

At least, not until the noise and hordes of masked misfits scampering by brought us onto the pavement to witness the Mounted Section in full cavalry charge across Covent Garden Square!

God, how we cheered them.. ;)