It’s Camp for Climate Change time of the year again and this year, the activists have set camp outside Kingsnorth power station in protest against plans for a coal-fired unit. And the police response to the campers, in keeping with their usual tradition, is predictably brutish and totally disproportionate.
If you cast your mind back to last year’s camp at Heathrow airport which was in protest against the third runway, the police then were using smear tactics, no doubt in an effort to spread negative publicity and give the camp a bad public reputation. Someone aptly referred to it as political policing and apparently they’re doing the same this year, this time going as far as to suggest that a stash of knives found near the camp were intended for use against the police horses and dogs. Well there’s nothing like playing on public emotion, especially when it involves our beloved four-legged friends but really, the public need only to apply some common sense and they will realise that it’s hardly a feasible smear campaign. I mean what have we got? A large group of green activists, plenty of animal-loving vegans and a whole bunch of concerned citizens fighting for the planet. Are these the kind of people that are capable of hurting horses and maiming dogs to promote their cause!
And it’s easy to believe the reports coming out of the camp about police heavy-handedness. It’s ludicrous. There are young families at this camp – kids with ordinary parents who are peacefully protesting and trying to instill their children with a sense of eco-responsibility. The camp as ever seems well-organised and lively, providing expert information, skills-sharing and a diverse timetable of workshops from renewable energy to vegetarian cooking. So quite how all that would require riot shields and pepper spray is beyond my understanding.
Anyhoo, good luck to the merry campers. It’s easy for me to sit here and blog about it. Their *active* efforts are worthwhile and commendable.
I’ll tell you what though, this increasing use of control and intervention by the police in order to restrict public protests . . . and the quiet abuse of their powers, muchly courtesy of the new terrorism laws, gives me a growing and foreboding sense of alarm. Our civil rights are being taken away from us under our very noses in the guise of protection and it seems that we can no longer peacefully protest without being criminalised, pepper-sprayed, tasered or aggressively and gratuitously dragged away from the scene.