Fortress Olympics looms over London
Residents on in Tower Hamlets and Leytonstone were horrified when they learnt that surface to air missiles were to be positioned on their estates. The positioning of missiles is only part of the story. As many as 16,200 security forces will be deployed in London, in addition to 17,000 troops (more troops than the British Army have in Afghanistan). A sonic weapon designed to disperse crowds by administering “head splitting pain” is ready to be deployed. Unmanned drones will be patrolling the skies over London. An aircraft carrier will be anchored nearby on the Thames in addition to other warships.
A “safe zone” will be put in place with eleven miles of electrified fence, patrolled by 55 teams of attack dogs.
This is not North Korea or the Soviet Union but London today. During the Olympics in Peking, not even the Chinese government put up such a fence or drone planes.
The 2006 Olympic Games Act means that not only the police and armed forces can use physical force to “protect the Olympics but also private security forces. This covers anything from peaceful demonstrations, strikes, and the sale of bootleg Olympic products on the street that are not officially approved. “Brand protection teams” will patrol inside the Games to make sure that only clothes or accessories with commercial messages officially approved can be worn.
In addition people congregating on the street, a normal occurrence particularly in summer months, will be harassed, in particular local working class youth. In fact this is already happening with increased surveillance and harassment in the boroughs bordering the Olympics. Rough sleepers will be removed. The police can remove anyone “deemed in any way to be causing a nuisance”.
There is no sign that this will disappear with the end of the Olympics. The police will end up more armed and arrogant than before, London and Britain will be saddled with enormous debt as a result of exorbitant Olympics spending, whole neighbourhoods will be socially cleansed and gentrified, taxes will be increased and all the security devices and cameras installed will stay in place.
The Games are not about sport. They are about phony patriotism, brand placing, profiteering for estate agents and landlords. They are there to boost the push towards neo-liberalism, to destroy our working class neighbourhoods, to boost the power of a state that is increasingly a police state. Who is the enemy in this new Britain? It is us, the majority of the population.
The Anarchist Federation (London) will be supporting the march and events organised by the Counter Olympics Network (CON) on July 28th
See here: counterolympicsnetwork.wordpress.com/
We urge everyone concerned by the impact of the Olympics to support the events and the CON.