If you get your news from mainstream sources, you’ll be under the impression right now that the brave Avon and Somerset Police have been under siege for the last 3 days on the streets of Bristol, suffering many broken bones at the hands of what Home Secretary Priti Patel called, “thugs” who were “only intent on causing trouble.”
The BBC, as I speak, are right now reporting “minor scuffles” in Bristol last night as police “utilized batons” as they “forced the protesters to leave” the area.
It was a “peaceful protest”, largely. With only “minor scuffles,” according to the BBC. Reuters, on the other hand, called the protest “violent.”
The truth, of course, is much different. There are always two sides to a story.
Here’s the police “utilizing” their batons on “thugs” in Bristol last night. Thugs who were seemingly willfully and forcefully committing the crime of sitting on the ground, hurting nobody:
Remember recently when a police officer was arrested for murdering an innocent woman after kidnapping and doing god know what awful things to her? Well, here’s one of them smashing a young unarmed “thug” in the face with a riot shield for, you know, standing there. I guess she must have said something or called him something that warranted possible brain damage and probable concussion? You be the judge:
I have to admit with Priti Patel on this one. It’s evident from that video there certainly were thugs in Bristol last night intent on causing trouble. They were the ones with the riot shields.
Of course, there were “protesters” in Bristol last night intent on causing trouble. I am not saying for a second rocks weren’t thrown at police or property wasn’t damaged. This is only a couple of days after police vans were set on fire. However, the way the media present the situation at these events is seldom anywhere close to what actually happened on the ground, they just regurgitate whatever the police tell them as fact without much due diligence at all.
These protests have come on the back of the governments’ recent attempts to give police precise powers to restrict certain types of protest. Protests such as those where “a person commits an offense if the person does an act that a section of the public finds to be a serious annoyance.”
If you have been at any protest, ever, in your life, you just know how that line is going to get “utilized” by the police the same way they “utilize” their batons.
A “serious annoyance” is going to be any person in an office close to a noisy protest who gets a migraine. At least that will be the case for any protest in support of Palestinian rights, you know that for sure.
They arrested and roughed up two women I know at one event this year, a legal, scheduled, weekly Julian Assange rally at Piccadilly Circus, as well as arresting my friend Joe – the police liaison officer to the JADC at the same event, for crying out loud! A member of the media. A journalist!
Then they phoned him up a few months later asking when the next protests were gonna be. What do you think he told them?
He told them to do one. The police have been accused of doing it again last night, although in this video you can distinctly hear the person was arrested for an incident days before – so we need further information on this one:
The government response, as I mentioned, and of course, has been a standard authoritarian one. Boris Johnson condemned the Bristol protests as “disgraceful”, and while Home Secretary Priti Patel’s condemned the protesters as “thugs only intent on causing trouble”, just a week or so ago when defending the policing bill called police officers “brave” men and women who “run towards trouble:
Here’s the thing – I don’t disagree with anything Priti Patel said in the above clip. Our police men and women are indeed brave people, who do a really hard job and deserve way more help, resources and respect than they currently get.
Most of what they do these days has got more to do with mental health problems than it has to do with criminality. I can’t imagine how that affects their own mental health and relationships, let alone how they are expected to police a decaying society on less and less resources and training.
They really are being asked to do, just too much. With zero praise when things go right and all the blame when things go wrong right at probably the most difficult time in our lifetimes.
All of that is true. But just as there were “thugs” at Bristol this week only “intent on causing trouble”, there were also many many protesters, the majority, it seems, peacefully protesting what they feel to be a severe power grab by an overly-authoritarian and increasingly anti-democratic government.
And while it also true that the police are indeed brave men and women who do an extremely difficult job for not enough pay, they also need lockers at work to stop them stealing from each other.
And while they may be brave patriots who run toward danger, psychopaths are known for running toward danger, too.
We need more dialogue if things are to improve. It’s worrying that the government’s and media’s response to this has been to limit honest discussion of it.
Before you go….
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