Not for the first time in recent years, the Metropolitan police disgraced themselves yesterday when policing the Olympic torch relay across London, which was part of the media hype in the lead in to the 2008 Olympic games, which are to be held in Beijing. It became obvious at the start of the relay that the Metropolitan police’s job was to provide the second tier security detail for the organizers of the games, the Chinese government. It is the only conclusion one could draw from the Met Commissioners willingness to have his officers used as a second tier of muscle whose job was to act as an outer security circle around the Chinese government sponsored bouncers who provided the inner ring that circled the torch bearers as they crossed London. Incidentally, the Chinese security contingent, in their baseball caps and sun glasses, looked like they had been recruited from the doors of the Shanghai nightclubs which the offspring of China’s ruling elite love to frequent; and in which a single nights bar bill equals a years wage of an average Chinese worker.
As these steroid enhanced bruisers pushed, shoved and had arrested all who came within their path, there colleagues in the London police went ahead and demanded that those along the route must be suitable attired; and woe betide anyone who might be wearing clothes that may cause the Chinese government offense. Pro-Tibetan demonstrators were ordered by the police to remove their T-shirts and had their Tibetan flags confiscated and on one occasion trod into the ground. Proving yet again a Metropolitan police commanders word is useless when she/he has to decide between up holding the rule of law in support of powerful forces or the man in the street. For despite the Police promising not to intervene to prevent embarrassment to Beijing’s bureaucrats, in reality as is always the way they came down on the side of the power elite and to hell with the law and the right to protest. What was it that the police found so offensive on the T-shirts of the demonstrators, the slogans ‘China Stop the Killing,’ ‘No Torch in Tibet,’ and ‘Talk to the Dalai Lama’. What fickle intellectual beings police officers are.
Still, the sheer tenacity of the pro-Tibet demonstrators won the day; and in some ways this was due to the undemocratic stupidity of the Metropolitan police who helped turn into a farce what the Chinese Government and the Olympic Organizing Committee believed would be a powder puff for their grubby and discredited Beijing Games. For this we should all be grateful, for not only were these Pro-Tibet demonstrators campaigning against the bloody misrule of the Chinese government in Tibet, but defending our right to protest on OUR streets.