What better way to honor a royal wedding than to crack down on free speech? Facebook celebrated the William and Kate wedding by nuking 50 groups that were created to protest the ongoing sweetheart deal in the UK for bankers and companies that get away with paying hardly any tax, and the cuts to services for tax-paying normal people that result from these posh tax-cheats.
Facebook is not suited to the purpose of organizing political causes. It may be an easy place to mobilize people, but between it capricious management and the ease of mining it for social graphs, it is an authoritarian secret policeman's best friend and a censor's bosom buddy.
FACEBOOK PAGES THAT HAVE BEEN DELETED IN THE LAST 12 HOURS:
Tower Hamlets Greens,
London Student Assembly,
Roscoe 'Manchester' Occupation,
Notts-Uncut Part-of UKUncut,
No Quarter Cutthewar,
Comrade George Orwell,
Anti-Cuts Across Wigan,
Don't Break Britain United,
Westiminster Trades Council,
Central London SWP,
North London Solidarity,
Rochdale Law Centre,
Goldsmiths Fights Back
Senior London police officers lied to peaceful protestors from UKUncut who had entered the luxury department store (and alleged tax evader) Fortnum and Mason, telling the demonstrators that they'd be escorted to a back entrance, away from "disorder outside," saying they were "free to leave." When demonstrators peacefully left on the proscribed route, they were seized and arrested, and the same officer said, "Yes, you're free to leave - to the police station. You're going to be arrested."
UKUncut have a hard-won reputation for peaceful, well-organized protest that cooperates with police. With this shabby trick., the Met have squandered the trust of this protest group and protestors all over London and the UK.
The video also shows the officer agreeing with protesters that a breach of the peace had occurred outside the store, but not inside, and that Uncut protesters were being held inside so they did not become "wrapped up" in that disorder.
"As people leave, they're going to be asked to go left," she can be heard telling protesters. "They're just going into a safe environment because there's some disorder [outside] ... so we're trying to keep it sterile, safe, so people can get away to the tube station.
"People here are non-violent. It's sensible - we don't want them getting involved in stuff that makes it difficult for them," adds the police officer in the footage. Another officer also assured the protesters no one would be kettled if they left the building. A spokesman for the Metropolitan police said it would be inappropriate to discuss the matter while proceedings are active.
Forget what you've seen on the BBC and Sky about yesterday's protest/"riot" in Trafalgar Square; the New Statesman's Laurie Penny was on the barricades (and apparently, there was a moment when the barricades were on her), and she's seen something altogether different from what the mainstream coverage depicts. If you read only one account of the protests, make it this one (and you should really read more than one!).
Minutes after the fights begin in Trafalgar square, so does the backlash. Radio broadcasters imply that anyone who left the pre-ordained march route is a hooligan, and police chiefs rush to assure the public that this "mindless violence" has "nothing to do with protest."
The young people being battered in Trafalgar square, however, are neither mindless nor violent. In front of the lines, a teenage girl is crying and shaking after being shoved to the ground. "I'm not moving, I'm not moving," she mutters, her face smeared with tears and makeup. "I've been on every protest, I won't let this government destroy our future without a fight. I won't stand back, I'm not moving." A police officer charges, smacking her with his baton as she flings up her hands.
The cops cram us further back into the square, pushing people off the plinths where they have tried to scramble for safety. By now there are about 150 young people left in the square, and only one trained medic, who has just been batoned in the face; his friends hold him up as he blacks out, and carry him to the police lines, but they won't let him leave. By the makeshift fire, I meet the young man whose attempted arrest started all this. "I feel responsible," he said, "I never wanted any of this. None of us did"