Thursday, April 16, 2009


I have been looking on with an increasing sense of unease at the aftermath of the demonstrations surrounding the G-20 summit in London.

I have a very simple philosophy.

I believe that in a democracy we all have the right to demonstrate, to march, to protest, to make our views known.

I also believe that such demonstrations, whilst they may be policed, should enjoy the protection of the police who should ensure our freedom of speech.

I do not however believe that in a democracy we have the right to riot, smash the windows of offices, shops or banks or attack those who are sent to maintain law and order.

Sadly and tragically at such events as the G-20 the determination to demonstrate and the thirst to riot become intertwined.

Society must not ban demonstrations for fear of rioting but equally it would be disastrous to allow rioting as being a legitimate form of protest.

A policeman’s (or policewoman’s) lot was never a happy one. They have a duty to protect us and property from rioters – but they also have a duty to protect our right to demonstrate. It is a delicate dividing line.

Whether the police officers highlighted were guilty of aggression or merely doing their job – I have no idea as I simply do not know all the facts. If they are deemed to have a criminal case to answer - then let them be charged, face justice and if found guilty duly punished.

However it is not the police in Britain who pose the threat to democracy – but those who riot behind the shield of democracy. It is they who threaten to steal my right to peaceful protest and it is the rule of law that is my protection.



I agree generally with your stance on this issue.However it now appears there is a rogue element among the police as well as among the protestors.The anarchistic groups seem to use peaceful peotests as a vehicle for rioting.That said,it seems totally premeditated when police officers on duty at a demonstration have taken measures to conceal their identity by wearing a balaclava or by not wearing or covering their id number.The incidents as shown on the news seem very damning and will only serve to damage the reputation of the force and reduce public confidence.Most people believe that the police look after their own and for me this was borne out by the news footage which shows that after being knocked to the ground the other police officers made no attempt either to restrain their colleague or to help the victim back to his feet.It took a member of the public to do it.If the officers concerned are found guilty of misconduct then they should be prosecuted like anyone else.However it is highly unlikely they will lose their jobs.Recent statistics show that over 2000 serving police officers in the UK have been convicted of criminal offences.

Tony Murphy

Anonymous said...

I looks to me from the behaviour and dress of the group of police baddies that they were a lot of amateur 'Specials' brought in to help cover the G20 meeting. Lack of training and professionalism turned the thing into football match riot. After working there for some years and getting to know the City Police, they would be unlikely to lose their cool in the way it was shown us on television.