Not unless you’re City of London police that is.
In a new briefing on domestic terrorism and extremism threats to City businesses, the force has listed the Occupy movement alongside threats posed by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC), Al Qaeda and Belarusian terrorists. You can read the letter for yourself by clicking on the image to the right of this post.
This kind of lazy policing, lumping public order issues in with serious national security concerns, only undermines the public’s faith in the police and risks trivialising some very real threats to the UK. Furthermore, it only further antagonises the protestors at a time when dialogue about clearing the camp was begining to seem possible.
You may not regard the Occupy movement as a high point of democratic protest, but it is still a peaceful protest and Britain is still a democracy. As our Research Director Maria Fort recently warned, against the backdrop of the London 2012 Olympics this kind of police hostility towards people exercising their democratic rights is not healthy or conducive to a free society.
I hope the force quickly retracts this ridiculous and counter-productive statement and focuses on the real threats facing London.