York Law School Event
After the 1981 Brixton riots, which prompted widespread criticism of police powers, the Conservative government moved surreptitiously to permit a greater freedom for the police to crack down on protest. Since then, successive British governments have condoned their tactics—from batons to horse charges to kettling. Through undisclosed documents and eyewitness accounts, Matt Foot and Morag Livingstone reveal organised police violence against miners at Orgreave, print workers at Warrington, anti–poll tax campaigners, student protesters, and Black Lives Matter activists.
Those protesting against racism, unfair job losses, draconian laws, or environmental disaster have been targeted, brutalised, and unfairly detained. In response, the media has frequently denigrated protesters while praising a police force that continues to act with impunity. As a result, protest and resistance have become almost unsustainable—to the detriment of democracy.
This history of policing reveals the true character of a state that tries to silence dissent with violence. Protest will, however, not be suppressed.
“An important study of how history influences the present.” – Kirsty Brimelow KC, The Times
“Brilliantly readable, it carries you with it every step of the way. One forgets how frightening authority is and the detail on police behaviour is dreadfully shocking and distressing. It never assumes what you might believe or what you might already know and at the end leaves the reader in no doubt as to what has happened in this country.”– Emma Thompson, actor and activist.
About the speakers
Matt Foot is a criminal defence solicitor, specialising in representing protesters and victims of miscarriages of justice. As a campaigning lawyer he co-founded Justice Alliance, to protect legal aid, and Asbo Concern.
Morag Livingstone is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, writer, and internationally published author. She is co-author of two best-selling narrative non-fiction books, Hackney Child and Tainted Love.
Dr Joanna Gilmore