It was never going to be convenient for the cops to admit that all their intelligence was pointing towards the fact most anarchists couldn’t care less about a couple of toffs getting married. Having endured not only the humiliation of a large mobile black bloc on 26th March, but also the earlier debacle of escorting Charles and Camilla’s car straight into a public order situation, the Met were in desperate need of restoring some credibility.
The police would have known there was no threat. All those undercover cops who have replaced/were already working alongside Mark, Marco and Lynn would have known the mood of the anarchist community as much as we did. Over 100 people were bailed out of central London for the day, many of whom had no intention of going anywhere near the wedding in the first place. There was never a danger – it was a useful fairy tale fed to gullible journalists who were happy to feed the frenzy.
Civil liberties were cracked down upon, squats were raided, several people were subject to preventative arrest the day before, and like the Jubilee, people who braved the streets were rounded up, including one group of zombies who were arrested for the offence of having a coffee in Starbucks. The Met were able to use a day of “joy” and bunting not only to have a show of force, but also to attempt to prove that force worked.
Assistant Chief Commissioner Lynne Owens has claimed the operation was a “success” and the day “should prove that the Met is able to handle next year’s Diamond Jubilee and Olympic Games”. However this simply isn’t true. The cops didn’t prevent anything. There would not have been any more of a breach of the peace if Chris Knight et al had been allowed to parade through the streets, and it certainly hasn’t proved they have the capability to deal with a determined bloc.
However, the cops will undoubtedly claim this model of preventative detention and raids was a success and seek to use it in the future. A dangerous precedent has been set and this blatant state intimidation must be resisted both in the courts and on the streets.