Anti-Capitalist Protests Since 2008
Several anti-capitalists protests have taken place since 2008 but not all of them were violently countered with police or military. The following are some of the anti-capitalist protests which have been countered violently by the police or the military as discussed in this essay.
In April 2009, a meeting of G20 was held in London during which the first significant anti-capitalist protests. 40,000 people took part in this demonstration after they were backed by the Non-governmental organizations and other trade unions. The demonstration which started peacefully ended up being very violent because of police violence and ‘kittling.”
The government claimed that police were deployed to prevent the protestors from disrupting the G20 meeting which was going on at that particular moment. Aftermath of the whole exercise led to death of a bystander by the name Ian Tomlinson. The police started to beat the protestors who were present in the Climate Camp. Protestors however claimed that the police were accusing them false of rioting. Police on their part released a report which indicated the reason why they used force to disperse the protestors. Police indicated that the protestors were rioting and the protest lost is its peaceful nature. The police had no choice but to use force to bring back sanity in the place.
Another anti-capitalist protest took place in the year 2011 and it took place at outside St Paul’s Cathedral. The protestors wanted to access London Stock Exchange which is adjacent to St Paul’s Cathedral. The Anti-capitalists were peaceful in their demonstration until they attempted to access London Stock Exchange. Police used all the necessary mechanisms within their reach to stop the anti-capitalist protestors from accessing the London Stock Exchange. The protestors were countered with police brutality because the police claimed that the protest started as anti-capitalist but later turned into an attempt to remove the capitalism crisis as it was conceived in the Climate Camp.
In the same year a group of protestors emerged in Spain and called itself the 15-M movement. The police reacted violently to a section of these protestors who came out to demand for real democracy. Protestors changed the cause of their protest into ‘anti-system.’ Protest changed lost its meaning because it was used to present a different grievance. The police reported that they had to stop the protests conducted by 15-M movement because they were campaigning over specific grievances. Police claimed that the protests addressed the environment, Third World debt and even capitalism. The police reported that these grievances were inter-connected but they exhibited different dangers and injustices. Police claimed that they did not intend to use violence against the anti-capitalist but they were forced to do because the protestors were resilient. The protesters did not heed warnings by the police not to attack the bank. Police became violent in order to prevent the protestors from breaking into financial institutions.
Following the global economic crisis of 2008, several anti-capitalists protests were held in several parts of Europe. Austria, Germany, Turkey, Greece and France experienced anti-capitalist protests on 1st May 2009.
In Germany, there was an anti-capitalist campaign in Berlin and the police reacted to it violently. The protesters mainly consisted of young people who succeeded in throwing rocks and bottles. Protesters went ahead to set ablaze several cars and all the dustbins they could come about. The police had to violently restrain the anti-capitalist protesters from destroying public properties. Aftermath of the Berlin anti-capitalistic saw 50 police officers and 57 protesters. In the same day, an anti-capitalist campaign was conducted in Hamburg. In this anti-capitalist protest, the protesters managed to attack a bank. The police again reacted violently against the protesters in order to protect the bank.
There was another anti-capitalist protest in Turkey in the year 2009. It did not end as peaceful as it was started. In the course of the demonstrations, some protesters who were wearing masks started to throw petrol bombs and stones at the police officers. They went ahead to smash windows of supermarkets and banks along the streets of Istanbul. The protesters of anti-capitalist campaign also defied the police directives to stop vandalizing the properties. It is the role of the police officers to maintain law and order. They are also supposed to protect the properties of all citizens from being destroyed. Police officers used water cannon and tear gas to disperse several rioters who were breaking the law. Some of them were forcefully arrested and held in the police custody while others got hurt. Force could not be ignored in this scenario because the protesters could not cooperate with the police officers. Elsewhere in Ankara there was another anti-capitalist campaign was taking place. 150,000 protesters took place in the demonstration and got themselves in the wrong side of the law. Similarly, the police was forced to use force in order to quill the scattered skirmishes that were taking place there.
In April 2009, as G20 were meeting in London, there was a demonstration dubbed anti-capitalist campaign taking place in Scotland. They were so violent in nature that they proceeded to Royal Bank of Scotland. Protesters wanted to break into the bank and take away money in order to satisfy their wants. They claimed the money that was lying in the bank belongs to the capitalists who did not how to spend yet they could hardly afford their basic needs. Some of them succeeded in looting from the Royal Bank while others were baton wielding police officers who were charging towards demonstrating students. Most of the anti-capitalist protesters were peaceful with only a few of them causing trouble for the police officers. The police officers were forced to use force against the rioters. Riot police officers were deployed in the Royal Bank of Scotland in an attempt to control the situation. In the course of controlling the protesting crowd police assaulted the rioters. A man was reported to have collapsed and died in the skirmished and police brutality was blamed for his death. However, it is clear that the police officers were preventing the rioters from taking money away from the Royal Bank of Scotland.
During May, anti-capitalist protest was conducted in Montreal. It was organized by a group known as CLAC Montreal. This group is known to be anti-capitalist and have for a very long time expressed their disappointment with the global economy. The anti-capitalist protest was meant to be peaceful. It started as early as a half past 5 a.m but the police order for its stop barely 30 minutes after. A section of the protesters who had sued red and black bandannas to cover their faces threw rocks and bottles at police officers. They also went ahead to dangle donuts in front of police officers using fishing rods. Some of them smashed windows of shops and supermarkets along the downtown streets. TD Bank was not left untouched during this anti-capitalist protest. A hole was punched on its window by vandals who probably wanted to break into the bank. Videotron outlet’s window was also vandalized. Police peacefully negotiated with the rioters but they could not stop. The police officers therefore decided to use batons and smoke bombs to disperse rioters. Some of them were arrested and detained for vandalism. Several police officers were also injured in the process. police used violence to stop the vandalism act that was perpetuated during the anti-capitalism protest on the Montreal’s downtown.
The latest anti-capitalist demonstration was conducted in Frankfurt, Germany. German workers’ unions in collaboration with Blockupy organized the campaign. They convinced several thousand of protesters to join in opposing inauguration of the new tower for the European central bank. The anti-capitalist demonstration started very early in the morning when a group of 400 protesters attempted to cross the bridge over the Main River in order to access the new tower for European Central Bank. They were however successfully blocked by the riot police officers and none of them accessed the new tower. The protesters were angered by the fact that European Central Bank spent € 1.3 billion on the 46 floor skyscraper tower yet they could hardly make ends meet. The protesters wanted the police to allow them disrupt the opening ceremony of the new tower for ECB because they were not happy with the austerity measures troika imposedon ECB. However, the police officers could hear none of these therefore prohibited from reaching the tower.
Most of the protesters were peaceful as they marched across the streets. However, some of the protesters started to riot, they burnt down vehicles some of them belonging to the police officers. They smashed windows of buildings within the surrounding of European Central Bank building. Protesters claimed the global economy was under siege and something urgent needed to be done in order to bring it back to its feet. Solution was closer to them than ever because they could simply destroy the new tower that was intended to house European Central Bank. The police officers were compelled to use force to disperse the rioters in order to protect the city from gross damages by the enraged protesters. The police reported that they detained 350 protesters. 80 police officers sustained injury from corrosive liquids in the due course. Police became violent because their peaceful mediation attempts were objected by the rioters.
In conclusion, all the anti-capitalist protests that have been discussed in this essay have a single common characteristic. All of them involved the peaceful protest turning into a riot. The protesters made attempts to break banks in all the anti-capitalist protests that took place globally. These protests took place at different geographical location at different timelines yet they all involved breaking into financial institutions. The protesters showed how the dwindling economy affected their lives negatively. Lack of enough money to satisfy the need of the working class has caused the emergence of anti-capitalist campaigns globally. These fulfill Karl Marx’s prophesy of capitalism whereby the 99% poor in the society will attack the rich 1%.