Did the handling of the G20 protests reveal the future of policing?

Police stop G20 protesters
Thirty years ago this month, a young teacher called Blair Peach was killed during a demonstration against the National Front in Southall, west London. Peach was a member of the Socialist Workers Party and the Anti-Nazi League, which had organised the protest during an upsurge of support for the far right. Peach’s death and his funeral, attended by the thousands who accompanied the procession through East London, was memorialised in art, poetry and song.

It was believed that he had been killed by a blow on the head from a police radio but the exact cause was never officially established. A jury returned a verdict of death by misadventure. The policing of the protest, in which the Metropolitan police’s Special Patrol Group (SPG) were notably involved, remains a topic of debate to this day.

Another 30 years, another demonstration, another death, albeit one that appears to have no link at all to violence by either police or demonstrators. Once again, however, the policing of the protest is under scrutiny.



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