Thursday, April 02, 2009
G20 - "This is not a riot"
We are definitely living in interesting times. Modes and levels of protest not seen in decades are sweeping many countries in Europe and elsewhere as the G20 leaders meet to discuss our future in London. Here in Greece the country is in the midst of a general strike organised by trade unions to protest the government spending cuts. In Northern Ireland workers have taken over three Ford owned plants, in France bosses of a factory scheduled to close were held hostage yesterday by sacked employees and, of course there have been protests in London.
Yesterday I followed events in Britain via the internet and once again I have come to the conclusion that the mainstream media are being outclassed by their internet rivals. The coverage of the demonstrations by the BBC ranged from the misleading to the trite and once again the established channels blindly accepted the official version given the police and authorities and resorted to long distance reporting via telephoto lens and imported "experts" who no more about what's happening down in the streets than I do here in Greece.
Even the coverge of the events inside the summit amounted to little more than gossip and observation more suited to a beauty pageant than a high level political event. I think I heard the same old statistics repeated hundreds of times. I wonder if anyone went to bother to check out if they are true or just decided that endlessly recycling press releases is easier than doing some first hand research.
Thankfully, I was also following events via Twitter, Flickr, Youtube and blogs which gave me a much more rounded view of events including the excesses of the police whose use of "kettling" (hemming in large groups of people for hours on end) seemed to be tailor made to create tension.
In addition, We also have video footage of the way in which UK riot police went out of their way to provoke violent response from protesters in the Climate Camp in Bishopgate.