Having studied British history for around five years, I have learnt how the everyday man and woman fought a constant battle against a powerful state in order to gain certain human rights. At first it was the right to vote, and then for unions and the right to protest. To struggle continued into the twentieth century, when eventually women got the right to vote and the working class seem to have gained enough rights to not be treated like tools.
Whilst studying this period, I often thought of how lucky we are to live in a nation that tolerates protests, and doesn’t crack down on people who oppose government policy. That was until recently, when I saw video footage of a Metropolitan Police officer punching a student in the face. The mainstream press say that this is an ‘alleged assault’, but the video taken by a freelance journalist clearly shows the officer using his fist to subdue what seems to be a student minding his own business.
What baffles me is that the Metropolitian Police Service are not investigating this incident because they have not received a complaint. So not only is there another thug on the streets that is apparently there to protect and serve, but the police seem to think that the kind of behavior displayed is acceptable unless a member of the public is brave enough to complain to one of the world’s largest police forces.
Of course, it would be normal in a civilised society if the mainstream press ran this story constantly in order to bring more light to case, and hopefully get the officer arrested for assault, but it seems the BBC and other media outlets would rather concentrate on abuses of power in other nations. It’s as if the government are saying “well yes, we are taking away your freedoms, but look how bad it is in Syria!”
Now that the University of London has banned protests for six months on the campus, it is practically impossible to show any discontent with the institution. What’s worrying is the speed at which this policy was brought forward, as it should not be that easy to ban protest in nation that hails itself as democratic (especially when we wage wars on nations specifically to install our beloved democracy).
But what can we do? Well we can report every single abuse of power that we see on our streets that are performed by the police and other civil servants. They are there to protect us, and the student that was beaten for no reason was causing no harm to that officer, or anyone near by. If we are to report everything, then police forces across the UK will be bombarded with so many complaints that they will have to do something about it.
It is wrong that with so many cuts to our public services, people like the officer mentioned still hold a well paid job.
Do not let this government take away from us the freedoms that our forefathers fought and died for, and do not let public servants (be it police officers or MP’s) abuse their powers, for it will lead to more discontent and violence.