Radio 4 listener | 20.04.2009 10:51 | Repression
At one point Derek Barnett said, "...level of violence...We ought to put that in context of violence and the circumstances of thousands of protesters with the sole intention of causing damage to buildings and at the worst injuring and killing police officers."
Listen for yourself online http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_8007000/8007668.stm
Start listening at about 3 minutes 30 seconds into the programme.
This is an outrageous comment. How many cops have ever been killed by protesters????
I hope by highlighting this disgraceful comment here, that something can be done about this.
Radio 4 listener
Police create an imaginary scenario of protesters causing death, when in fact this is almost unknown even GLOBALLY - protesters throwing rocks or even Molotov cocktails, or wielding sticks or whatever, does NOT kill police. The handful of cases where police have been killed, have been close-range lynchings, shootings or stabbings, and these are very very rare globally (and from the cases I know, always follow from police killings - the cases I know of are from Italy many decades back, the anti-Arroyo protest in the Philippines, the Gujjar unrest, Broadwater Farm and some cases from Nigeria). There were no police deaths in Genoa, no police deaths in the unrest in Greece last December. Look through a list of deaths linked to protests and NEARLY ALL are caused by police. Examples from this last year: the Gujjar protests in western India, 40+ dead in police shootings; Kashmir, 60+ dead in police shootings; Korea squat eviction, 5 protesters and 1 cop dead due to police use of dangerous chemicals. On rare exceptions where deaths are blamed on protesters using usual "violent" protest tactics, they are accidental, due to people setting fire to vehicles or buildings with people in them. (There's also the rather different phenomenon of ethnic pogroms, which really do cause deaths, usually from deliberately setting fire to houses with people inside or from beatings, stabbings or shootings - these are directed at civilians not police, and are usually easily distinguishable from protests).
Put simply, even if protesters are using the full range of the most "violent" protest tactics (which in Britain they generally aren't), these tactics are "non-lethal" or "less lethal" by police definition, i.e. they can't predictably be expected to kill anyone. If someone wants to kill police, they do it with lethal weapons against isolated individual police. So-called protest "violence" is about dispersing or pushing back police, enforcing the right to protest or sanctioning unwanted state actions by exercising proportionate force to control the streets of an area, create or defend an autonomous zone, reach a target or shut down state functioning.