Police Intimidation at COP26

Saturday saw one of the largest ever marches heave through Glasgow with over 100,000 taking part. The event went off without incident, apart from the police kettling a small group of the Young Communist League and holding up the entire march for some time.

The police conduct seems to have been pre-meditated as this marcher explains:

Bella has been contacted with eyewitness accounts which contradict the police statement of the events.

The person, who wishes to remain anonymous told us: “I was in there. I’m not affiliated with the YCL, but I was marching with them on Saturday. Here are some videos from inside the kettle. Someone looks into the camera in one of them so I blocked out their face. We had been surrounded by the police from the very start back in Kelvingrove Park. When asked, the police didn’t give any reason as to why they were escorting us. Once we got to the intersection of Holland street, they suddenly closed in and wouldn’t let us march. Then they started pushing us together and trying to get us to move up Holland street. The image you see on this post is from Holland street where they kept us for almost two hours, they made sure we would miss the rest of the event. When they finally let us leave we had to walk through a tunnel of police and they had cameras to try and get our faces. Apparently the police continued to follow the group all the way down to Glasgow Green. The whole experience was terrifying, especially in the beginning when no one knew what was going on and they just kept pushing us together. At one point we were surrounded by three rows of police. They don’t tell you anything. I guess being a communist makes you a criminal.”

We need answers as to why these people were intimidated in such a way on a peaceful march. Who made the decision, who was the watch commander on the day, and where the officers are from?

Why is there no accountability for the police? Why are our political leaders silent?

Another eyewitness said: “Was just behind the kettling and it caused chaos in the march and could’ve led to a crush, which is pretty shocking given the number of children and old people around me. Also talked to a woman who was assaulted by a police officer and several others who said they were told by liason officers that they were being kettled due to touching people inappropriately before they moved on when questioned, an allegation that was never followed up on and seemed to be a lie to turn the crowd against them. The police also lied about the incident saying the YCL caused the holdup which wasn’t true as this was planned by the police beforehand (why would a group wanting to hold up a meeting stop at a convenient intersection they can pushed aside??) and they initiated the violence as photos show.”

“I knew several people who asked why the group was kettled and instead of an answer they were arrested of threatened with arrest. I’m so shocked at how many people are overlooking blatant criminal behaviour by the police that could’ve lead to injury or death.”

“I forgot that the creepiest part is that they were only allowed out of the kettle, which again was illegally done, if they submitted to having their faces photographed and details taken. This was a blatant attempt to gather intel on a political group that’s embarrassed the state previously. This is especially gross given what we learned about the secret police during the spy cops trials.”

The police have also been criticised for a raid on Baile Hoose, a recently occupied space for activists with nowhere to stay. The Guardian reported (‘Police criticised over raid on Glasgow squat housing Cop26 activists‘): “The occupants of a disused building in Glasgow that was reopened to offer emergency accommodation for climate activists have accused police of trying to break into the site with a battering ram early on Monday morning.

The activists at Baile Hoose, a former homeless shelter in the Tradeston district, said up to 20 officers from the Metropolitan police and Welsh forces mounted the raid at 3am, claiming to be acting under orders from Scottish police. The activists said Police Scotland officers arrived soon afterwards and “calmed the situation. [It] was only then that the Met and Welsh police backed off.”

“One witness to the raid said at least one of the liaison officers from Police Scotland appeared to be shocked at their colleagues’ conduct, and also said that an officer described it as “totally unacceptable” policing. Another activist said police had their batons drawn as they entered rooms, to the distress of many occupants.”

The police have questions to answer about who is in operational control in Glasgow and why peaceful climate activists are being intimidated and criminalised?

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Photo credit: Katie GalloglySwan @GalloglySwan

Comments (35)

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  1. maxwell macleod says:

    As part of some work I was doing at Cop I went back to Edinburgh last week to attend a meeting of young socialists at the Quaker house. It was hard not to like them, all decent honest kids with the best of intentions, ditto the speaker, nobody there except myself aged over thirty , mostly pretty broke trying to engineer lifts to Glasgow, and trying their best to help the disadvantaged in society There was far more about them that was noble than sinister.
    But the content of the speech was almost comical, and indeed inflammatory. The police were nothing other than agents of the elite out to get the working classes, the state’s ( which evidently included the Church ) major task was to keep the people down, once socialism was achieved there would be no further need for police.
    If you say these kinds of things to impressionable young people you can hardly expect them not to behave in a way that’s going to cause trouble.
    I have every sympathy with their intention, I was once there myself, indeed I had a drink with Blair Peach very shortly before he was truncheonrf to death by a police radio , but if I had been trying to keep order at the march and I knew that this was the message that was being sold I took would have taken precautionary measures, wouldn’t you ? Incidentally when I asked the speaker if she could name a socialist state that didn’t have a repressive police force she said that no real socialism had ever been tried since 1917!

    1. SleepingDog says:

      @maxwell macleod, and did you pass on your concerns to the authorities directly, or indirectly as you are doing here? It takes a particularly twisted mindset to view socialism as extremism. Royalism is extremism. Imperialism is extremism. Religions which worship a god who sends souls to be tortured in eternity for ‘wrongs’ such as disbelief is extremism. But socialism? The worst thing you can say about socialism is that it is a humanist ideology. And communism powers global science, open technology and the digital commons in our modern world. It’s hardly fringe. Meanwhile, you seem to be in denial of political policing in the UK. I wonder why.

      1. maxwell macleod says:

        Couple of points. No I didn’t inform the police that the speaker was of the opinion, in her own words which she used a slogan All police are bastards, they knew that that was the general trend of the message as it was pretty much made plain in the posters. Having been involved with socialists endeavours all my life I find it bizarre to be accused of treating socialism as extremism. I never said that. I simply asked if she could name a socialist country that didn’t have a repressive police force, and she couldn’t. Can you? That was one of the main reasons that Jimmy Reid slowed down on his communism. I dont approve of the police kettling people for two hours. I have experienced it and its horrible, but lets live in the real world. If you have a group that are setting up lectures one if whose intentions is to encourage anger at the police you can hardly be surprised if the police then pay particular attention to them on the march. I didn’t see the kettling at the march, I may be wrong, there may have been gross injustices perpetrated there, but the whole thing has to be taken as a whole and if the SWP was trying to ensure a peaceful march they were going a funny way about it.

        1. Its the Young Communist League (YCL) not the Socialist Workers Party (SWP).

          There’s something quite funny about arguing in defence of police intimidation by pointing out that there are repressive police forces elsewhere. How does that work?

          In terms of ACAB this is a fairly popular mainstream slogan after SpyCops, Sarah Everard, the treatment of Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry, the death of Ian Tomlinson who died in the City of London after being struck by a police officer during the 2009 G-20 summit protests … and on and on and on …

          Was there any violence from the YCL? Was there any violence planned? Do they have any history of violence? The answers are no no and no.

          Once again a huge protest was put at risk not from the actions of the public but from actions of the police.

        2. Wul says:

          “I simply asked if she could name a socialist country that didn’t have a repressive police force, and she couldn’t. Can you?”

          Can you name a capitalist country that does not have “repressive police force” towards groups who threaten capital?

          Your argument is flawed Maxwell. You say “…if the SWP was trying to ensure a peaceful march they were going a funny way about it.” which suggests that you think criticising the police on a poster, during a protest march, is not peaceful demonstration and that the subsequent removal of these protestors civil liberty by force, by the police, is a proportionate and a justified response to a poster? Should not a professional body, charged with maintaining the peace, be able to thole criticism without resorting to physical retaliation against its critics?

          What do you think would have happened if the police had not intervened? Would there have been a riot? A Communist uprising? A bloody revolution? Or would the march just have carried on without incident?

          Do you think the actions of the police “keeping an eye on” the YCL will have reduced or reinforced those young people’s trust in our police?

          1. SleepingDog says:

            @Wul, indeed, the question from @maxwell macleod seems disingenuous.

            What is a ‘socialist country’? The argument that an attempt to establish a socialist state in previously tsarist Russia in 1917 was invaded by foreign imperialist powers (including the British) and hijacked by a faction which led to a one-party totalitarian state that did not represent the whole of society seems reasonable to me (and during my political degree we studied the Soviet Union for a term). If a state is sufficiently democratic, it would be free to chose between socialist and factionalist policies, therefore could not be described as per se a socialist state, and may at times lean towards socialism without needing a repressive police force. A more accurate way is to look for socialist policies (such as the provision of free-access public libraries funded by general taxation). Any socialist-leaning countries, including authoritarian ones, are ever threatened by illegal embargoes, clandestine destabilisation and invasion from imperial powers, particularly the USA. This has led to governments of countries which broadly follow lines like Ba’athism to justify repressive police forces.
            You will remember that when the Egyptian government nationalised its own canal infrastructure, the British, French and Israelis conspired to invade the country. The democratically-elected Mussadegh and Allende and the more autocratic Sukarno (and many more) were all deposed with the aid of internal factions supported by the USAmerican empire with sometimes corporate, sometimes European imperial support.

            Of course, there will be some attempts at labelling which use the sophistry of the ‘no true Scotsman’ fallacy. However, I am saying there will be ‘bad’ actions by some socialist-leaning countries, just as (while democracy may be on the whole a good thing) ancient class-based Athenian democracy tended to be belligerently militaristic in practice. But in terms of world history, it has been empires such as the British that have been the most extreme, rapacious, belligerent and invasive, and the clandestine crimes of empires have created the need for socialist-leaning nations to prepare effective security provisions, sometimes to the detriment of their own people, but far less to their detriment than being invaded by, say, the USA and its allies (see the documentary series Once Upon a Time in Iraq for a range of perspectives on this).

            I have not seen an impartial discussion of communism on the BBC, and history programmes on mainstream British television often seem fundamentally averse to democratic research models (for example, the recent Tony Robinson’s Britain’s Forgotten Wars episode on Korea was excruciatingly devoid of explorations of what Korean public political opinions might have been). We know that environmentalists have been described as dangerous extremists in briefing materials sent to British police. Yet the really serious crimes (ecocide, belligerent acts of war, destabilisation of other countries, nuclear weapons) are committed from the very top down of the corrupt British regime (at least the latest Horrible Histories slipped in the Tudor War on Nature). If the selection and training of British police is more friendly to organised crime than environmental justice, then incidents like the targeting and kettling (police-speak: containment) of activists is only going to continue. Although should international ecocide laws be enforced… well, that is a prospect that seems only achievable in Scotland through independence, I would say.

          2. Mons Meg says:

            Yes, I think you’re right here: my auld alma mater, the YCL, is hardly the ‘credible threat’ that it’s claiming to be. I wonder then why the police singled them out for special treatment. Okay, its workers were getting dog’s abuse, being called (among other things), ‘b*st*rds’, ‘scumbags’, and ‘brainwashed c*nts’, but they were being similarly abused by other marchers too and are generally inured to such provocation by their training.

            It would be interesting to hear from the police workers involved why the decision was taken to contain this particular group.

  2. Jacqueline Gallacher says:

    The police surrounded the young socialists from the start and walked with them the whole time.
    When they were kettled I tried to get a video of it. The police were really not wanting anyone filming but they tried to make a joke of it.
    There were helicopters above the March constantly, no idea if they were police or media.

    The group we walked with told us that there were lots of undercover police in the crowd and that if we had any legal issues they would help us so everyone was aware the police were making their presence felt before we even started.
    Never experienced any of this on any Indy marches.

    1. maxwell macleod says:

      Tell me. If you had been given the job of keeping the peace on the march wouldn’t you have ensured that one of the groups you would have kept an eye on would have been the young socialists?

      1. BSA says:

        The police were not keeping an eye on them. The held them for two hours with no explanation. It doesn’t sound like Police Scotland either.

      2. Out of 100,000 people the police decided to surround and intimidate this one group. It was and is a disgraceful attack on these peoples liberties and to tacitly support it is very strange indeed.

      3. Wul says:

        Don’t ever ask Maxwell to “keep an eye” on your pint! He’ll throw a weaponised cordon around it and immobilise it for two hours until it looses it’s fizz.

  3. Lesley Docksey says:

    This sounds like the Met. Being kettled is not pleasant and having the Met doing it is the worst – they REALLY enjoy being nasty. The only thing that’s ‘good’ about kettling is that if you pass out (thirst, heat, terror) you stay standing because there’s nowhere to fall!

  4. Tim Hoy says:

    The conduct of the police at so many marches, lobbies, protests, demonstrations and carnivals, not to mention critical mass has at times been exemplary. I’ve also witnessed heroism (a copper saved my life a few years back) and some of the best examples of public servants. If these things and people I have witnessed could have been the only examples, what a disciple I’d be to their essential public service. Sadly, most of those aforementioned experiences have been eclipsed by bullying, lying, racism, sexism, homophobia, disablism, ageism ism ism fucking ism. A friend also conceived two children with an undercover officer investigating her legitimate protest activities – now a matter of public record.

    I’ve been kettled just once in my life. Not at a protest amazingly but at the Notting Hill Carnival. I served at the local fire station at the time but was off duty. I’m fine with enclosed spaces, but the two guys I was with got really distressed that they were being restrained by those around them in a sheep pen. Where does the name “kettle” come from because it does cause many of us to reach boiling point. Is that the idea?

    Another great piece Mike. Thank you.

    1. Mons Meg says:

      I believe that ‘kettling’ comes from the German ‘Kessel’ (‘cauldron’), which in military terminology referred to an army that had been encircled for the purpose of annihilation. German protesters began to use it in the 1960s as a persuasive definition of a tactic that our workers themselves choose to call ‘containment’; that is, of encircling a body of people without engaging them with force. (I’ve actually been involved in a kettling myself: back in the early ’70s, a neighbour in our village disturbed a burglar and raised a hue and cry, whereupon a group of us rushed to kettle the parasite until the police could get there and take him into custody.)

      The idea is to prevent a larger group from breaking into smaller splinters that then have to be individually policed. According to some criminologists, it works to maintain order by using boredom rather than batons as its principal weapon. There’s evidence from comparative studies that it leads to fewer arrests and injuries than traditional policing methods, such as the deployment of CS gas, water cannon, and baton charges.

      Police Scotland are world leaders in containment/kettling. It’s recently been training/advising several US police departments in its use as an alternative to their less effective ‘militarised’ approach to maintaining public order.

  5. Dougie Blackwood says:

    Par for the course with our “security services” that are nothing more than a rich man’s army. Do you remember when the G20 (maybe another number) were in Gleneagles hotel some years ago? Transport throughout Scotland was disrupted; people were not allowed to board trains; buses were stopped and turned away.

    Why don’t these “Elite” people just hole up in Davos where they have their conference every year. No point in coming to Scotland or going to Rome last week and creating havoc for the poulace while not listening to what the people have to say.

  6. GordonD says:

    maxwell macleod’s view appears to be that the YCL contingent at COP26 essentially got what they deserved, despite having done nothing other than be less than polite and subservient to the police. This, coupled with his patronising belief that only youthful naivety and ignorance could lead someone to be anti-police (and so they are probably being manipulated by older people for their own sinister purposes), is the authentic voice of the white, middle-class male liberal. Someone who will rarely experience the more brutal aspects of policing, and because of their privileged position in the social order will never have to consider why it is that the state needs a coercive force to maintain that ‘order’.
    I am reminded again of the Phil Ochs song, Love Me I’m A Liberal. Written in the 1960s as a comment on the US Democrats opposition to political reform, and support of McCarthyism at home and imperialism abroad. As Phil noted in the song’s introduction:

    “In every American community, you have varying shades of political opinion. One of the shadiest of these is the liberals. An outspoken group on many subjects. Ten degrees to the left of center in good times, ten degrees to the right of center if it affects them personally.”

    1. Stuart Alexander Jackson says:

      The only thing I know is that some people infront of us marching with AUOB spat and shouted abuse at some yesers! thats what we were told when we were stopped behind the group with red flags, not sure what who they were, the police picked them up over it, and then another group of protesters had a sitdown protest over that.

    2. maxwell macleod says:

      It is ludicrous to suggest that what I said was that the socialists got what they deserved, I said no such thing. I merely tried to explore what actually happened. The young socialists, organised a series of meetings, with posters, that were advertised as information on the nature of policing and the speaker then gave a speech that was manifestly inflammatory, my understanding is the she also gave it at a number of other locations to the one I attended. As I said I was impressed by both her and her audience, good decent people of good intent. But if you want to fully understand what happened at the march you have to put it into the context that the police must have known that these meetings had probably taken place and assumed that the ones to watch out for were those who had attended them.
      I fully accept that there is a good deal of conjecture in my remarks, but no more so than the suggestion that the police were intent on inspiring violence. I saws the march it was a magnificent display of protest and very lightly handled, let’s be objective and not see devils under the bath.

    3. maxwell macleod says:

      Maxwell Macleod’s view was evidently that the SWP got what they deserved. Not is isn’t, you made that up.

  7. greenergood says:

    So a kettling of a somewhat obscure Scottish group – to experiment, to find out how to do this in Scotland? Dunno, have there been very many kettling experiences (well, since Gleneagles) in Scotland, compared to England? Or was this an example displayed by the ‘visiting’ English polis about how they ‘handle’ disruption? Especially when there were so few examples of ‘disruption’, but England’s finest were sent up here to make an example of any disruption in Scotland, and show how it should be handled, foregrounding new English Parliamentary powers to deal with protest throughout the ‘United’ Kingdom.

    1. There’s been dozens of examples of Scottish police kettling people

  8. p j says:

    Marching in the rally on Saturday I was blown away by the positive, humorous, imaginative, noisy and enthusiastic energy of this very international group of young people. As a teacher they made me feel proud. Not only that they had the capacity to enliven a very wet afternoon in Glasgow but by the dignity and seriousness they maintained in delivering their message. I couldn’t help contrast this with the other very large group of young people I saw that day. The UK’s finest in all their Hi-Vis glory. Grim faced legions of UK Police lined the route and stood in side streets avoiding the worst of the rain. Their job made easy by the compliance of around 100,000 peaceful people determined to have their voices heard. This compliance didn’t seem to be enough for the police leadership however. A small group of Anarchists and the YCL contingent on the march were targeted by the Police. The Intelligence of the Police in these matters appears deeply reactionary, outdated and unconvincing. We need to have a light shone on the decision making of the march on Saturday. Policing in the 21st Century in Glasgow should not be looking to the violence of The Red Clydeside as a model of interaction with the populace.

    1. Mons Meg says:

      My youngest son was one of that small group of anarchists. They were kettled when they let off a flare, the wee monkeys. One arrest was made; nobody was hurt.

    2. SleepingDog says:

      @p_j, in that context, I was amused to discover that Police Scotland call their reinforcement from other UK forces ‘mutual aid’. Not sure if they’ve heard of Peter Kropotkin or not.

      1. Mons Meg says:

        The mutual aid arrangements that Police Scotland have with other forces all over the world is actually a good example of the anarchist principle of voluntary reciprocal exchange of resources and services to the mutual benefit of the parties involved in the exchange. The various Scottish forces had similar decentralised arrangements until they were nationalised in 2013.

  9. GordonD says:

    When I arrived at Kelvingrove Park on Saturday it was immediately obvious that the police had targeted the YCL for attention. Even before they left officers were lined up immediately in front and behind the group. On the march itself I ended up much further ahead so did not witness the police action against them. However I do know from friends and comrades who were nearby, that when the march got to a suitable junction the police suddenly and with out warning surrounded the group and pushed them off the march. As we know the police kettled them there until the march was effectively over.
    I the think an important lesson for us from this is not just the obvious one, that the police are not our friends (although clearly this is a hard one for some to grasp), but that we have to acknowledge that if we are going to be effective our demands and actions are going to confront and challenge authority. Demonstrations, even ones that entail some disruption to daily routine can be tolerated, even encouraged by governments if they can be safely ignored afterwards. The more it looks like a movement is a threat to business as usual, the greater the authorities try to divide and weaken it. The answer is for all of us to become more aware of what is at stake, to be clear about the potential threat we pose to governments and business interests, and to build a basic solidarity to protect ourselves from being divided and defused. My friends who saw the police action to isolate YCL tried to intervene to support them and break the kettle. Unfortunately they got little help from stewards and other marchers. If they had it might have forced the police to back down and shown the authorities that we (the climate change activist movement) will not be so easily divided and intimidated.
    For an interesting discussion on the need for having a strategy that achieves real change rather than just demonstrates opposition, and the kinds of tactics that might entail, this is a recent interview with Swedish activist Andreas Malm by Novara Media. (Spoiler: he is in favour of properly targeted direct action, disruption and attacks on property, but has mixed feelings about Insulate Britain and ER)

  10. Stuart Alexander Jackson says:

    I was there with AUOB helping as a steward, and was told by others stewarding the march that some yes supporters a little bit ahead were spat on by some of the group ahead of us, the police picked them up and after that there was a sit-down protest by other protesters. (hope this one passes the check)

    1. It would be great to have someone verify this, I find it extremely difficult to believe.

      1. Mons Meg says:

        That’s the general post-truth ‘problem’: the narratives around these events are being spun from selective hearsay and innuendo to fit and further consolidate the established prejudices around which the various parties involved each strengthens its solidarity. The YCL will milk this incident for all it’s worth; so will the Sun and the Mail. And quite right too.

      2. Stuart Alexander Jackson says:

        I’ll try and find out from the other stewards, I just turned up for the march and was asked to help steward the event but don’t really know anyone I was with. but that would probably be when we meet for the next march, but I’ll try online. but it’s what we were told by the group around the guys with the unicorn float. I’m not trying to score points, just say what happened.
        One thing I will say is there is a fair bit of anti independence sentiment in the london squat scene, when i lived there back in the day. It’s not a stretch to see people that are corbinestas or to the left of that, (which I guess I am myself) up here with a bit of a hateful attitude towards us, maybe out of ignorance of the nature of the movement.

  11. Bruce says:

    It is important to reflect on police tactics in Glasgow during COP26. Following an incident of “kettling” of Extinction Rebellion protesters last Wednesday, an open letter was written to the First Minister raising concerns. (https://cop26coalition.org/open-letter-to-nicola-sturgeon-on-policing-at-cop26-2/). It would be good to know if there was a response to this. XR is a non violent organisation and this action seems disproportionate to me, but I was not there.
    Here is my experience on Saturday. I was standing at the entrance to Kelvingrove Park when the group referred to in this article arrived. They were all dressed in black, most of them were hooded and most had their faces covered with red face coverings. I felt they presented a threatening and aggressive presence. It was like the arrival of a paramilitary group.
    When the march began and before they had covered 100 metres from the Park they had let off two flares that produced a lot of smoke. There were small children in the march before and after the group.
    I have no idea what happened later in the march. From the start they had a police escort around them. Legal observers were present.
    The energy of this group was in complete contrast to the rest of the large crowd who were positive and peaceful.
    I felt reassured by the police presence around the group. It seemed to me as though they had arrived seeking confrontation and so I’m not surprised that confrontation ensued. I am saying that, in my opinion, the group had some responsibility for the attitude they brought to the march.

    1. Mons Meg says:

      Surely not, Bruce! That account doesn’t fit the traditional narrative of the police as an instrument of oppression at all, at all, and just won’t do.

      ‘Flares’ and ‘public safety’, indeed!

    2. SleepingDog says:

      @Bruce, if the police thought that a non-establishment political group was violent and dangerous, protocol is to proscribe it (as, for example, right-wing ‘Scottish Dawn’ is, apparently). In fact, the most dangerous political groups after Islamic terror, as identified by the British security services, are right-wing/neo-nazi terror groups. You know, the ones that have been found joining the police.

      Not all uniform dress codes are paramilitary. If you want to see dress-alike congregations of the legions of evil, London’s private clubs will provide a more bountiful hunting ground. What colours should red-flag communists and the anarchistic black block choose anyway? The police were in uniform, and they were (in the front lines lightly) armed and armoured. Perhaps it would be more rational to view police presence as intimidatory, given everything.

      What is a protest march if not a confrontation? Did it not appear that the police engineered the confrontation with that group? Isn’t red part of the rainbow? Colour badging is, of course, fraught with confusion and (sub)cultural differences and nuance. Don’t confuse the black bloc with blackshirts.

      If police are allowed to kettle (‘contain’) large groups in protest marches because one or two people let off flares, this makes life very easy for any agents provocateur amongst them. Of course, it would also be incumbent on the group to allow police to single out and arrest flare-carriers, in order to let the group continue. I deplore the use of aggressive swearing, heard on the videos, where opportunities for engagement with the police present themselves, as I believe strongly in the power of political argument and persuasion. Nevertheless, some people are less able to control their language when stressed, and loud swearing-peppered language is common in parts of Scottish subculture, presumably not unknown in police forces either. Perhaps a discussion on police use of ‘mutual aid’ could have been fruitful.

      The letter from the COP26 coalition signees seems well-argued, to me. Deliberately “creating an unacceptable chilling effect on the right to protest” is a matter of great public concern at any time, moreso in a climate crisis and political corruption epidemic.

      Are we to take our designated bogeymen from pearl-clutchers like maxwell macleod, or should we accept that some possibly angry and drilled groups should be allowed on protest marches as long as they don’t break the law? That is a civics lesson for children, too. Protestor diversity. Political plurality. Freedom from prescribed styles of protest. Who are the real villains here? Are some indeed dressed alike and intimidatory?

      1. Mons Meg says:

        ‘…as long as they don’t break the law.’

        And who will police this, SD? And how should they respond if and when those whose behaviour they’re policing do break the law?

        And what were our policing workers doing on Saturday? Containing a group of youngsters who, by Bruce’s account, let off a couple of flares in a busy public place.

        No baton charges, no CS gas, no water cannon, no fuss, one arrest. Not a lot to make such a song and dance about.

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