Bruce Lawson's personal site

Too scared of kettling to march

I used to love going on peaceful demos when I was a kid. Aged about 14, I’d be on a coach once a month to London, or Greenham Common or some US military base to march in support of CND, Troops Out or against the National Front.

When today’s anti-austerity marches were announced, my wife and I thought it would be great to march as a family, to show the government how we feel.

But I’m ashamed to say that I got cold feet. Recently, the Metropolitan Police have taken to “kettling” demonstrators. Wikipedia defines kettling as “a police tactic for controlling large crowds during demonstrations or protests. It involves the formation of large cordons of police officers who then move to contain a crowd within a limited area. Protesters are left only one choice of exit, determined by the police, or are completely prevented from leaving. The tactic has proved controversial, not least because it has resulted in the detention of ordinary bystanders as well as protestors.”

There have been reports of people being kettled for hours with no access to food, or to toilets. As a chap with Multiple Sclerosis, being contained with no access to the loo is unlikely to end well. More importantly, it’s likely to traumatise my kids, particularly my son who has learning difficulties.

So, we decided not to go. And I hate it that fear of the police has prevented four people expressing their opinion.

(It’s too late to help us now, but there’s an app called Sukey “designed to keep people safe, mobile and informed during demonstrations. We crowdsource updates from twitter and other online and offline sources in order to provide our users with a timely overview of what is going on at a demonstration”.)

Buy "Calling For The Moon", my debut album of songs I wrote while living in Thailand, India, Turkey. (Only £2, on Bandcamp.)

5 Responses to “ Too scared of kettling to march ”

Comment by Pigeon89

Others will shout for you all in this together! online too those who can. All the best always stronger than them!

Comment by Michael.

Mission accomplished. I’m sure that there are plenty of others who are also not going to protest for the same reason.

And what’s the solution? I don’t know. It’s a damn shame that the police in so many places are cracking down on dissent, making protest illegal etc.

And the solution certainly isn’t to vote Labour, Tory or Lib-Dem. Or probably even to vote for any of the bastards. No matter who you vote for, a politician will get in.

The fact that it is legal and encouraged (even to the detriment of non-protesters) is disgraceful. But none of the major parties in Britain (or anywhere else) are likely to want to change the situation.

Comment by mathias

How many billions more would the government have to take away from its citizens and misallocate it, so as to not being accused of ‘austerity’? Seems rather pathetic to me.
I find it ironic that someone would want to demonstrate for more state power, yet lament about the tactics of the police.

@Michael: Support the Libertarians, if there are any in the UK.

Comment by Porn Watch

title in their work before they chase their remedies against pensioners and students, years after anyone who could verify ownership has passed!

Leave a Reply

HTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> . To display code, manually escape it.