Anyone who has been to a protest or demonstration recently will know the absurd drill. The police construct a “protest pen” out of those interlocking metal fences and you’re expected to stand in it. These are usually constructed across the road or around the corner from the subject of your protest, so it is unlikely that they’ll even see – much less hear – your efforts. After an hour, you leave frustrated – knowing that while it as a worthwhile cause, your gesture was token at best.
A concern I have expressed for some time now has been that this inevitably will lead to an escalation of this type of confrontation. If peaceful protest is rendered impotent and ineffective by overzealous policing, then the only alternative can be violence.
In this case, it seems the police don’t take act act to stop events by public figure who encourage and glorify violence against lesbian and gay people either because they are institutionally homophobic themselves and simply don’t take threats to gay people as seriously as they now take racism; or because they don’t believe gay people will riot or plant bombs.
Therefore they encourage extremism because (a) peaceful avenues are frustrated and (b) there is a perception that only extremists get listened to.
I don’t know what to make of this state of affairs, but it is rather depressing. After days of trying to persuade the police that man who shrieks “FAGGOTS! I’LL KILL THEM ALL!” from the stage is not the best tonic for community cohesion, Peter Tatchell has now laid out these depressing options.
Gays want riots to stop concert
New Scotland Yard: we ignore peaceful protests
Gays advised to bomb and burn to get police action
London – 21 November 2008
There are calls for gay people to riot on Sunday outside a concert in London by Jamaican reggae singer Bounty Killer, who urges his listeners to murder gays and lesbians.
The police say that unless there are threats of violent protests they will not cancel the concert.
If protests go ahead outside the venue on Sunday, there are fears of bloody confrontation, given that many of Bounty Killer’s fans are gang members, have guns and knives and are violently homophobic.
“We have been swamped with calls from gays and lesbians who are urging violent protests to stop Bounty Killer’s concert going ahead,” said Peter Tatchell, coordinator of OutRage! and the Stop Murder Music
“Gay people are really angry. Regardless of what I say, some are ready to break the law. They say it is self-defence of the gay community.
“Since the police won’t enforce the law to stop Bounty Killer, some people want to take the law into their own hands.
“No one wants violence but it seems the only way the police will listen to the concerns of the gay community. Polite discussions with the police don’t work.
“OutRage! has agreed to publicise details of the Stratford Rex concert venue and Newham and Stratford Police Stations (which have direct responsibility for policing Sunday’s concert). Details of follow below.
“We will leave it up to people’s individual conscience about what they should do.
“We don’t support violent protests. I hope the police will see sense and avert a bloody confrontation.
“As of Friday afternoon, Sunday’s concert will go ahead with the official sanction of the Home Secretary and the Acting Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.
“Jacqui Smith and Sir Paul Stephenson have ignored polite, peaceful lobbying by the gay community. They have treated us with total contempt.
“They condemn gun and knife crime, and deplore the terrible killings of young Londoners, yet they facilitate a singer who promotes murder.”
Mr Tatchell has been tipped off by an officer at New Scotland Yard that the Met Police has decided:
“The MPS would only cancel Bounty Killer’s concert if there is a likelihood of public disorder.”
“This is a tacit encouragement of violent protests,” added Mr Tatchell.
“The police are effectively saying that if someone to threatens to firebomb the concert venue and kill the manager they will cancel the performance. Otherwise, if the protests are peaceful, the police will ignore them.
“It is utterly appalling that the Met Police will only respond to threats of Violence and will ignore peaceful lobbying. This is a complete disgrace.
“Perhaps the gay community should threaten to bomb and burn? Then the police might listen to us.
“New Scotland Yard’s approval of Bounty Killer’s concert, despite him committing the criminal offence of incitement to murder, is absolutely shameful.
“The police have sacked an officer for being a mere member of the BNP, but they refuse to act against a singer who incites murder, which is a serious criminal offence.
“This non-enforcement of the law is not the policy the police adopt when dealing with racists. Racists have been banned from entering the UK and banned from performing, on the grounds that their presence is not conducive to community cohesion and good community relations. Their banning was independent of any threat of public disorder.
“Many of us are fed up with the double standards of the Met Police. This is another example of the Met taking a tougher stand against racism than against homophobia.
“How much more explicit do Bounty Killer’s incitements to murder need to be?,” queried Mr Tatchell.
Watch this video of a Bounty Killer concert. He openly boasts and incites the crowd: “Faggot, I kill every one of them”:
“Despite this open, bare-faced incitement of murder, the police refuse to cancel Bounty Killer’s concert and the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has granted him a visa and work permit.
“There is a clear correlation between murder music and homophobic violence, especially in Jamaica, where the release of anti-gay tracks often coincides with a rise in queer-bashing violence,” added Mr Tatchell.
Watch this video of the attempted lynching of a gay man in Jamaica, where the attackers shout the lyrics from murder music songs: “Batty men fi dead (queers must die)”:
Angry? Please do something. Protest to the Jamaican High Commissioner in London, Burchell Whiteman:
(email both addresses)
Protest against Bounty Killer’s concert
Stratford Rex concert venue
361-375 Stratford High Street,
Phone: 020 8215 6003
Newham Police Station
Phone: 0300 123 1212
Stratford Police Station
Phone: 0300 123 1212
I really do hope the Metropolitan Police and Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, see sense before things start getting really ugly. People are really angry because firstly, we don’t want this crap imported into the UK to poison life here, and secondly because we know that no other community would have to put up with this. There is no way a figure who is notorious for ranting “Kill the Niggers!” or “Gas the Kikes!” or “Slaughter these Muslim Dogs!” would be allowed a visa to appear in the UK. Everybody knows this double-standard – this hypocrisy – exists.
Sooner or later it’s got to come to a head.