Ken criticises Boris for ‘smearing’ protesters


2:47 pm - December 13th 2010

by Newswire    


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Ken Livingstone has written an excellent article for the Evening Standard today attacking Boris Johnson and others for ‘smearing’ student protesters.

He says:

David Cameron and Boris Johnson are playing a dangerous game when they say we must stop talking about the violent protesters as if they were a minority. “I don’t think we can go on saying a small minority were there,” the Prime Minister claimed on Friday. He was echoed on the news bulletins by the Mayor.

This is an attempt to criminalise and smear the opposition to the Government’s austerity measures. In fact the overwhelming majority are peaceful. To avoid violent disorder we must isolate the violent minority, not pretend that peaceable protesters are the same as them.

He goes on to criticise them for not ruling out water cannons.

He also said much of the blame was down to poor planning on part of the Mayor and the police:

Ahead of the likely May Day violence in 2001 we worked relentlessly to make sure the public understood how to demonstrate peacefully, pointing people away from those activities we thought would lead to trouble.

Yet the Mayor was nowhere to be seen on this matter until the violence started. Indeed, City Hall should have pressed the different legitimate protest organisations that there should be one, unified demonstration — not several with different focuses — to help give a clear framework for policing to help avoid a risky fracturing of the protests.

The dangerous cocktail of factors that contributed to the violence around Parliament Square has to be reviewed. Why was fencing with concrete block weights left in Parliament Square, to be used in some of the most terrifying incidents on Thursday?

The experiences of peaceful demonstrators who were kettled for hours must be considered.

The whole article is here.

Ken will today join students on the march in support of Education Maintenance Allowance.

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Reader comments


If you are going to a peaceful protest, why do you need to take iron sticks and buckets of paint with you?

@Andreas – in order to goad the police into a confrontation, just in time to take photos of it with your iPhone and email it to Adam Gabbatt at the Guardian

everyone knows that thugs are hired to start trouble so that the police can respond with violence, but then again this is probably just a “conspiracy theory” wtf, when will we learn?

I don’t know what dippy Boris is mouthing off about.

No different to a night out with the Bullingham club.

‘The experiences of peaceful demonstrators who were kettled for hours must be considered.’

Kettling is potentially far more dangerous than water cannons – unless you are kettled first and then sprayed, of course.

“Ahead of the likely May Day violence in 2001 we worked relentlessly to make sure the public understood how to demonstrate peacefully, pointing people away from those activities we thought would lead to trouble.”

I imagine it went something like this:

– Don’t throw things at the police
– Don’t hit the police with weapons
– Don’t vandalise public or private property
– Don’t set fire to things

Boris has really taken his eye of the ball. Demonstrators constantly need to be reminded how to protest lawfully and peacefully. Admittedly it is all rather confusing.

*off* the ball, even.

My kindgom for an edit button.

I voted for Boris, mainly because Ken is such a prat and uses loaded expressions such as ” the North of Ireland” instead of Northern Ireland like he just did in that linked article, and employed someone like Lee Jasper as his race and policing advisor ….. but this is an area where I think Boris will be found totally wanting.
The police are thugs … end of story really, and of course Boris can never say that and can only come out with tired platitudes.

9. Cynical/Realist?

@1 & 2:

Thugs would do that. Obviously.

Are you implying that you feel the majority of protestors turned up to that march with iron bars and buckets of paint (or similar)?

The article (by Ken Livingstone) clearly doesn’t condone the violence. But to say in any way those out for the fight were other than a small minority is deliberatly distortive.

You accuse protestors of filming themselves and sending it to the Guardian. Yet you seem to think the whole protest is represented by the few glimpses of the violence shown on the news.

10. ex-Labour voter

Those of us with longer memories will recall that Livingstone has not always been so protestor-friendly.

And, whilst we are on the subject of Ken, he supported the bombing of Kosovo and the invasion of Afghanistan.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

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  2. jennifer roberts

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  3. Claire Butler

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  4. Carl Baker

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  5. Broken OfBritain

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  6. Laurie

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  7. RichardHaro

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  9. conspiracy theo

    Ken criticises Boris for 'smearing' protesters | Liberal Conspiracy http://bit.ly/fy7Y1c





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