GMP have continued their spree of violence against working class Mancunians, attacking peaceful demonstrators standing up to the government’s upcoming anti-protest laws. It seems that arresting nurses and elderly women’s rights campaigners a few weeks earlier has gotten Manchester’s boys in blue wound up and looking for a fight.
Demonstrators gathered in the city centre to object to a proposed government “Police and Crime Bill” which would allow police unlimited scope to designate a protest as ‘causing significant disruption’ and disband it. It doesn’t take a legal expert to know that this will effectively remove the right to protest. Anyone who’s ever been on any kind of demonstration will likely already know the police force’s attitude towards demonstrations.
A socially distanced march and demonstration had already taken place in the city earlier in the day. The participants then gathered – again adhering to strict social distancing measures, and with PPE – outside the central library. Without any kind of dialogue with organisers or warning to the people attending GMP moved in, shoving demonstrators into one another and dragging people across St Peter’s Square, arresting anyone who didn’t immediately move out of their way. Police can be seen kicking people’s legs out from under them and trying to prevent members of the public from filming their attack. Many were also not wearing masks.
GMP’s behaviour in the city centre that day is in line with the national police response to the Kill the Bill protests. Across the country demonstrators have been attacked and forced into tightly packed ‘kettles’, completely negating organisers’ conscious efforts to adhere to social distancing measures. Once kettles have been established the police declare the gathering unsafe and begin to disband it, usually violently. It is not a surprise that the demonstrators in Bristol defended themselves. We are seeing a new generation of young politically-minded people experience the reality of police riot tactics.
0161 offers solidarity to the victims of police violence. The cops do not have the capacity to be on ‘our’ side. The working class must stand united against the police, who exist solely to enforce the status quo and make society safe for the rich.