There is a pervasive idea that as a society progresses in economy, technology, and state systems, it automatically incurs more freedoms. The presumption goes that it is only the third-world nations that live under the jackboot and that we, in the West, possess more liberty, rights, and freedoms than ever before. It is false.
As governments and the law enforcement agencies increase in technological ability, protest, freedom of expression, and our opportunities for engaging in proper dialogue are becoming more and more limited.
While elected leaders preach of being glad that the public uses their democratic rights to protest matters they see as injustices, in reality, it has become, as Orwell may have said, that some protests are more equal than others.
During President Donald Trump’s July visit to the U.K., Liberty Nation was on the ground covering both the anti-Trump and pro-Trump rallies. The attitudes and actions of politicians and law enforcement were vastly different depending on which protest you may have seen.
According to pro-Trump rally organizers Luke Nash-Jones and Martin Costello, when there is a protest of any political importance, the helicopters come out. These choppers circle the protest area, and when they do, the internet goes down. This does not impact the major “approved” media networks who use satellite vans; it is the smaller, more independent outlets and members of the public that cannot get their information out.
Also, depending on whether the protest is “endorsed” by the British government, the cooperation of the police will be in question. Liberty Nation spoke with rallygoers who claimed that they had been turned away from the pro-Trump rally, told that there was no access to the area, told it was canceled, told it had changed location, and many other lies.
In the run-up to the pro-Trump rally, a massive disinformation campaign was in force. Social media including Facebook and Twitter posts stated that the rally had been shut down, that the location had changed, or that the organizers had been arrested were flowing freely. In preparation for covering the event with our live updates, LN encountered opposing information from a variety of sources stating that the rally was canceled. While it is probable that this was mostly anti-Trump protesters trying to create havoc, one rallygoer told us that he believed it was a coordinated campaign organized by London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s cyber task force.
Elected London Assembly Member, David Kurten, a pro-Trump politician, was informed by the police that if he attended the rally, he would be arrested for breaching a public order act.
The anti-Trump rally was far larger than the pro-Trump one. Yet strangely, it was the smaller event that had a far more obvious and sizable police presence.
During the pro-Trump rally, groups of officers went through the crowd informing as many people as possible that if they leave the area carrying their banners or flags in groups larger than two, then they would be arrested under either section 12 or 14 of the Public Order Act which carries a fine of around $250 and a potential prison sentence. LN reporters were spoken to directly on this matter by the police.
Under these conditions, it is the individual that suffers. Those that are happy to follow the state-sponsored groupthink are applauded by the media, encouraged by the government, and remain unharrassed by law enforcement. But woe betide any who dare to actually protest something the government disapproves of. Those poor souls will be lied to, abused, threatened, cheated and vilified. Peaceful protest has become a dangerous, dangerous occupation.