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Friday, December 10, 2010

The story that they are all reporting

Although last night's vote on the level of tuition fees for English students was the focus of many stories all of the attention is now switching to how police handled student protests and the tactics of the protesters themselves.

Given the near-riots that happened the first time students protested, I am astonished at how inadequate the police response was this time. I am also surprised that the Police resorted to the sort of tactics that were so severely criticised after the climate change protests in London. And what were the security services thinking in taking the Prince of Wales through Central London in these circumstances.

The Daily Telegraph sums it up: The incidents were the second time that the police had appeared unable to contain violence arising from student demonstrations. At a protest last month, demonstrators easily overwhelmed a “light touch” police presence and broke into Conservative Party headquarters at Westminster.

Just hours after the first riot, Sir Paul described the police response as an embarrassment” and issued an apology to office workers who feared for their lives when “thuggish” rioters took control of the office block. The following day, he sent an internal message to all of his officers saying that he had ordered a “very quick internal review” and warned: “I do not want to see this again.”

Sir Paul warned of a new era of civil unrest. “The game has changed and we missed it,” he said. “We should have put more officers on and we did not.”

This does not excuse the behaviour of those students and the anarchist hangers-on who indulged in unacceptable behaviour. Their tactics have actually undermined their cause. A dignified and peaceful protest and lobby would have been so much more effective in keeping public sympathy. I am pleased that the vast majority of students recognised that and behaved accordingly.
I see that jaxxlanders are virtually accusing LibDems of stoking up the violence as a diversionary tactic. :-(
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