Erstellt am: 10. 2. 2012 - 17:02 Uhr
Brand New Riot Gear
It's confession time babies.
I am a total news junkie. It is not unusual for me to have three to five news service websites open at the same time while the TV is on a news channel. If one of the websites has a livestream, I'll keep the TV on but mute the sound. That's how I got good at recognising where a riot is taking place without necessarily hearing a reporter tell me where he or she were filing their story from.
There were so many large-crowd-footage news stories last year, that I started to zone in on the background, the buildings and the street signs, to quickly place the action. There were so many stories about protests and riots last year (and the trend doesn't seem to be letting up thanks to austerity measures, on-going struggles for democracy, and the threat of internet censorship and regulation), that the news service sites I was using and the TV channels I was watching, would have back-to-back coverage of large masses of people and recognising where the people were without sound, became a kind of bizarre little game for me. Please don't post comments about how lame I am. I am well aware of my lameness.
Ok. So, I started to be able to recognise where a protest and/or riot story was taking place by observing not just the uniforms of the police sent in to 'control' the crowds but also the way those 'protest-containing units' were behaving. It was completely surreal to watch the Mubarak-hired thugs gallop into Tahrir Square on camel-back, brandishing long whips with which to slap some order into those pesky revolutionaries. Just as surreal as the pepper-spray incident at UC Davis in California a couple of months ago.
Time Magazine named ‘The Protester’ Person of the Year last year. Probably because there were so many of them. Everywhere. So, if people are increasingly willing to express their concerns and beliefs en masse, regimes/authorities are increasingly going to be interested in new methods of crowd control. Whether the new technologies being explored are physical or the methods of reining in crowds are psychological, it’s a not-so brave new world when it comes to sneaky political control.
Reality Check Special: Saturday, 11th of February (12-13)
From the Occupy Protests to the Arab Spring, from the European Austerity Riots to last summer’s England Riots—the wave of protest movements across the globe are being met with increasingly scientific and scary forms of crowd control. Sending thugs in on camel-back is OUT, nerve-gas, non-lethal but temporarily blinding laser technology is IN! In fact, new and LETHAL forms of riot control are being developed and used—and not just by totalitarian regimes. “21st Century Riot Gear—The Science and Psychology of Public Order”.
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