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Do the City of London Police really see Occupy London’s peaceful protesters as domestic extremists?

 

On Saturday evening Occupy London – part of the global movement for social and economic justice – was passed a rather interesting document: a “Terrorism/Extremism update for the City of London Business Community.”

Ten copies of this document were handed to Occupy London at its Bank of Ideas building by someone claiming to be a local businessman. The document has since been confirmed as genuine. [1]

The use of fear as a political tool has been well described by others. [2]

This same fear and intimidation was evident in the policing of the Wednesday’s N30 strike march through London. It is something Occupy London and other peaceful concerned citizens have experienced as they sought to remind the highest paid that they cannot continue to ignore this economic climate without questions being asked of them directly. [3]

Occupy London would like to take this opportunity to demonstrate how the use of this kind of rhetoric can give an impression that is slightly divorced from reality. The language of fear comes easily to those who like to feel they are in charge, but its danger is in its addictive quality.

The City of London police’s recent communication – of which there have presumably been a series – starts off with Al-Qaeda and ends with a blameless educational sightseeing tour of Canary Wharf, casting aspersions on the electricians’ continuing industrial action along the way.

The document exhibits other signs of worrying paranoia. The reference to “suspected activists” seems to demonstrate a disturbing loss of perspective. Activism is not a crime and the desire to participate in democratic decision-making should not be a cause for concern for the police in any free society.

An institution that confuses active ciitizens with criminals and equates Al Qaeda with efforts to reimagine the city is an institution in grave danger of losing its way.

We would welcome clarification from the City of London Police as to what exactly constitutes “hostile reconnaissance reports concerning individuals who would fit the anti-capitalist profile.” What does hostility mean in this context? Does it come from those being reported on or those doing the reporting? The City of London police’s phrasing here is simply unclear and risks placing groundless fear in the place of constructive dialogue – which ultimately serves noone’s interests.

See the document for yourself here:

 

 

Notes

[1] Independent – Police in city see occupiers as terror risk http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/police-in-city-see-occupiers-as-terror-risk-6272434.html
[2] Adam Curtis – Fear gives politicians a reason to be http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2004/nov/24/terrorism.world
[3] N30, corporate greed, Xstrata and the right to protest http://occupylsx.org/?p=1755

 
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