Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Red, Green, Silver or Black?

As police and demonstrators prepare to clash in the City of London tomorrow during a wave of protests ahead of Thursday's summit of G20 leaders, I can't help fearing that the police, rather than any demonstrators, will be responsible for any disorder that erupts.

The Met's finest have been parading their intentions to face down any demonstrations with superior manpower, spending ($7.2 million at last count - how many rape investigations could that fund?) and, if need be, violence.

In Saturday's Guardian, for example, unnamed senior officers were reported to have said, of the possibility of any violence or disorder tomorrow the police were 'up for it, and up to it'.

Hardly a quote from a conflict resolution handbook! Am I the only one out there who hopes tomorrow's demo will be peaceful, and that the police will act to defuse violent tension while facilitating lawful protest, as they are required to do under the Human Rights Act.

The senior officers concerned obviously didn't get the memo.

I have already made my concerns known to Brighton Police's commander, Chief Superintendent Graham Bartlett, and he has assured my that no Brighton and Hove officers will be taking part.

I'll be going (along with fellow Brighton Green Party councillor Vicky Wakefield-Jarrett) - making sure my voice is heard, trying to dodge any disorder the police and media spark up, with my eyes and ears open, and talking with as many people as I can, especially anyone from Brighton and Sussex.

I certainly haven't been put off by any of the media coverage or police pronouncements. I only face one real question - which march should I join?

There are four - representing the four horsemen of the apocalypse, with a red horse march against war, a green horse march against climate change, a silver horse march against financial crimes, and a black horse march against land enclosures and borders (honouring the 360th anniversary of the Diggers).

They're all so important, after all. We really need a Green New Deal to address all the problems the marches signify.

I guess my final decision will depend a lot on when I make it up to London - I'll hot foot it after dropping Sammy at school at 8.45am.

I'll let you know how the march went tomorrow.

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