In my book, I warned of the 'criminalisation of protest' and that the police seemed to be able to treat peaceful protestors as if they had less rights than others. A culture of antagonism had evolved in the police that allowed some of them to treat us as if we were scum. Whilst this is not true of all officers, it is a dangerous phenomena indeed.
The decision that PC Simon Harwood is to face manslaughter charges is an important one. If he is held to account, it may stem the tide of police violence during demonstrations and protest. It will also help those good police officers who are often sickened by some of the behaviour they witness from their colleagues, but feel unsupported in the process of speaking out.
I witnessed some of the violence on that fateful day in April in 2009, and also on some of the more recent protests in the capital. We must promote a ethos of non-violence in both the police and the protest movement if we are to be successful in struggling against the devastating policies of this government.
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