Scotland Yard have said they are going to deploy thousands of extra police officers on Bonfire night on Thursday, due to fears that organised protests will turn to anarchy on the streets of London amid the Million Mask march being planned.
The protest, organised by Anonymous, is a global protest movement against austerity and increased state surveillance.
The Guardian reports:
In what has become an annual event, police fear a repeat of the unrest that occurred at last year’s demonstration, when scuffles broke out between riot police and protesters – many wearing Guy Fawkes masks.
The Metropolitan police believes protesters plan to damage public monuments, attack police officers and try to occupy buildings. The owners of buildings identified as possible targets have been briefed by the police.
Ch Supt Pippa Mills said: “Over the last few years this event has seen high levels of antisocial behaviour, crime and disorder.” She cited harassment of commuters, including buses being rocked and protesters jumping on car bonnets.
Mills added: “This year we have strong reason to believe that peaceful protest is the last thing on the minds of many of the people who will come along.”
A statement from the Met said a “significant policing operation” would be in place for the protest, including “dedicated teams of highly flexible officers on standby at key locations in capital”.
Restrictions under the Public Order Act will also be imposed to confine the demonstration to Whitehall, Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square, and ban any protest after 9pm.
Thursday’s demonstration is expected to focus on proposals to increase powers of the security services. It will come a day after the government is due to publishlegislation seen as a revived snooper’s charter. Under the plans, internet companies will be required to store details of every website visited by their customers for 12 months.
The organisers of the demonstration have urged supporters to descend onLondon in response to the “abuses and malpractice” of the government and the “profit and greed of the few”.
In a Facebook posting, they urged followers to gather at Trafalgar Square from 6pm. It said: “We have seen the abuses and malpractice of this government, and governments before it, we have seen the encroaching destruction of many civil liberties we hold dear, we have seen the pushes to make the internet yet another part of the surveillance state, we have seen the government’s disregard for migrants, for the poor, the elderly and the disabled, we have seen the capital, profit and greed of the few put before the well-being of the many and we say enough is enough.”