City of London police have reportedly issued a document to local business owners, listing the Occupy movement alongside such terrorist groups as al-Qaida and Farc. While the document stops short of explicitly labelling Occupy London as a terrorist group, there is nevertheless anger within the movement that they have been identified as such a serious threat.
What’s alarming about the document is the apparent police assumption that ‘anti-capitalist’ equates to ‘dangerous’. Apart from causing some minor inconvenience, Occupy London has caused no damage or harm to anyone, so the inclusion of the group on the ‘terrorism/extremism update’ – believed to have been sent to local corporations – is seen by some as a provocative move.
Police say that they have a duty to inform local businesses of any groups that might pose a threat, but campaigners argue that the document is an example of the force’s lack of perspective, and that it reinforces the ‘them vs us’ dynamic that some see as part of the developing UK political landscape. It also adds to the impression that dissent and protest are being gradually criminalised. News of the document’s circulation comes just a day after a report found that anger at police was a critical component of the London riots earlier this year.