Returning to Brighton this afternoon after a few days abroad, I encountered the anti-EDO, ‘remember Gaza’ demonstration, but the youths on the street seemed more intent on provoking the police than paying respect to the victims of the Israeli assault on Palestinians. I saw a poster promoting the demo – it had a picture of Gaza and a picture of demonstrators and police clashing in a similar demonstration last year in Brighton.
I was angered by two things: the overwhelming display of force by the police – horses, riot gear, and so on. Generally officers appeared to be focused on restraint, but from the little I saw, it would not take much for the policing to turn very ugly. However, I felt greater anger at the demonstrators who were using the human tragedy that is Gaza as an excuse to have a go at the police. It felt like the ultimate insult to the victims of Israeli aggression to use their suffering as cover for juvenile, anarchistic provocation of the police.
I recall a time when demonstrations were disciplined and stewarded. They were about issues and not an excuse for confronting the police. The demonstrators today abused the memories of those who died in Gaza. I am disgusted by their self-indulgence.