This article immediately follows our last note,’No Protests, No Demonstrations. No Safety, No Voice.’
We are glad it went ahead. It had to go ahead because people cannot be silenced on issues as important as this. Lighting a candle is one thing, but this kind of act could never have replaced a vigil to express the collective pain, grief, fear and shock that people feel.
It could and should have been done so very differently. Even as we write this at 10:20pm, there is mounting criticism of the police’s handling of the Clapham Common vigil: Labour leader Keir Starmer has Tweeted that, ‘This was not the way to police this protest’, and the Conservative MP Caroline Nokes raises a pertinent point in her Tweet, saying:
‘In this country we police by consent – not by trampling the tributes to a woman who was murdered and dragging other women to the ground.’
The policed could have peacefully facilitated it, taken part and even been and ally. Instead, this happened:
It appears the police waited for nightfall before making arrests, which just makes it feel all the more twisted, as it begs the question: why wait? Why not turn people away as they arrived? Why lull them into a false sense of security when it was known that arrests would inevitably be made? As people arrived and saw the police not making arrests, they must have thought that it was okay for them to be there.
Plague Island is a very sick and ill place right now. The government seem terrified of any kind of dissent or any kind of protest. We think this is because if everyone were to wake up – and more people are waking up – the government know they will be in for a busy year of dissent, protests and pressure. The flip-side of that is if the government can curb all of this and silence us, they can keep pretending that everything is fine, and can continue to try and convince us that they are doing a good job.
For this reason alone, we must never be silenced.
~ L&A 13.3.21 ~