Whenever the Metropolitan police start talking up the prospect of violence at a demonstration, it's usually a sign they are gearing themselves up to crack some heads. Remember these comments immediately prior to the G20 protests in 2009?
Guardian, 27 March 2009
"...the Metropolitan police was understood to have contacted a number of protest groups warning that the main day of protest, Wednesday, 1 April would be "very violent", and senior commanders have insisted that they are "up for it, and up to it", should there be any trouble."
Metro 26 March 2009
"Metropolitan Police commander Bob Broadhurst warned London would be hit by "a coming-together of anarchists, anti-globalisation groups and environmentalists."
Independent on Sunday, 29 March 2009
The officer commanding the police response said that a hard core of protesters was intent on storming buildings and provoking violence. “Everything is up for grabs. That is the aspiration, to get in and clog up these City institutions as best they can,” Commander Bob Broadhurst, of the Metropolitan Police, said."
We all remember how that turned out. Now Commander Bob is at it again, according to the Press Association today:
Oh, and let's not forget this gem from Broadhurst in the aftermath of the G20 protests:
Police are warning that this week's anti-fees protests could be hijacked by "violent youths".
Thousands of students and lecturers are expected to take to the streets on Wednesday and Thursday to demonstrate against the Government's plans to treble university tuition fees.
But the Metropolitan Police raised concerns that troublemakers could use the protests as an "excuse" for violence.
Protests held last month against the proposals were marred by violent clashes and resulted in numerous arrests.
Commander Bob Broadhurst, head of the Met's Public Order Branch said: "We have seen groups of youths descending on the last few student protests as the day progresses, purely with the aim of using the event as a venue for violence and to attack police.
"It has been obvious that these particular elements are not genuine protesters and they have no intention of protesting about cuts to tuition fees or any other issue. They have turned up purely to take part in violence and disorder.
"We will work with all protesters who want to peacefully protest and we acknowledge and respect their right to do so, but I would warn them to be aware of this violent element, which could harm them and their cause."
Mr Broadhurst called for parents to advise their children of the dangers of attending a protest as youngsters are more at risk if violence breaks out.
Many school children, including some dressed in school uniform, attended previous demonstrations, and the Met was criticised after pupils were "kettled" for several hours during the second of a series of protests on November 24.
"Violence and disorder is often a result of a minority who are determined to cause trouble," Mr Broadhurst said.
A review by the Inspectorate of Constabulary, parliamentary hand-wringing and even a Civil Liberties Panel - and yet absolutely nothing has changed, except a new set of protesters discovering that the police have no interest in 'facilitating' the right to protest.
"I have not seen anything that particularly concerned me. They were responding in the way I trained them to."