Activists taking part in a peaceful UK Uncut protest at a Boots store on 30 January in central London were attacked by police using CS spray. Three protesters were hospitalised and others were still feeling the effects hours later.
Anyone who thought the police had calmed down or softened up after their relatively laid-back showing at the London protest on Saturday 29 January will have been given an unpleasant shock by their attack on the UK Uncut action the next day.
And, while the Met were handing out glossy leaflets telling marcher they were there to facilitate our “right to protest”, our comrades in Manchester were being kettled .
John McDonnell MP denounced the police’s actions at the Boots protest as “political policing”. He has put down an Early Day Motion demanding an inquiry into the incident.
Of course all policing is political. The very existence of the police is part of the means by which the capitalist state defends its interests, ultimately by any means it deems necessary.
To fight back against the stepping up of violent clampdowns against protesters, AWL members have been involved in launching the Right to Resist initiative, which aims to equip activists with the political arguments and practical tools to fight police repression.
The National Assembly for Education, which was attended by several of the UK Uncut protesters on their way back from the Boots action, voted to promote Right to Resist alongside similar campaigns such as the “Defend the Right to Protest” campaign launched by the SWP.
Right to Resist’s “little red book”, which features legal advice from the Green and Black Cross, can be ordered from righttoresist.wordpress.com.