09 January 2014

Hot town, summer in the city

Discarded placards mark the end of a protest
Mallet Street, London, 12th December, 2013
Say what you like about An Garda Síochána, but you are very unlikely to end up dead if they stop you on the street. Slapped around for being a bit lippy, almost certainly, but being shot while unarmed, or Brazilian, or killed while selling newspapers, thankfully all highly unlikely.

In London, you can never forget that you are living in a de facto police state and that, on the whole, there are major elements of that police force that really aren't that nice. Under the Tory government the police are being given even greater powers with new super-asbos, the IPNAS, effectively allowing for the creation of individual laws tailored for specific people, the breaking of which can result in jail terms. The terms of IPNAS (Injunctions to Prevent Nuisance and Annoyance) can both ban certain types of behaviour and compel others, even when no actual crime has been committed.

Anticipating a summer of violent resistance against further austerity measures and draconian legislation, from communities already pushed to breaking point with little faith in the police's ability to act fairly or impartially, the police themselves have take extraordinary measures in London to deal with this loss of public faith.

By asking for water cannon.

This surprised me, as I assumed they already had them, but apparently not. Thus far they have only been legally deployed in one part of the UK. Northern Ireland.

This surprised me less.

So, London in 2014 is finally catching up with Belfast in 2001. This, it goes without saying, is not really a good thing.

We have an interesting year ahead of us.

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