Police are bracing themselves for a ‘summer of rage’ against the economic crisis, a senior officer warned today.
Superintendent David Hartshorn, who heads the Metropolitan Police’s public order branch, said he feared there could be ‘mass protest’ at rising unemployment, failing financial institutions and the downturn in the economy.
The officer told The Guardian that ‘known activists’ were planning returns to the streets, and intelligence revealed that they may be able to call on more protesters than normal due to the unprecedented conditions.
He said: ‘Those people would be good at motivating people, but they haven’t had the “footsoldiers” to actually carry out (protests).
‘Obviously the downturn in the economy, unemployment, repossessions, changes that. Suddenly there is the opportunity for people to mass protest.’
Mr Hartshorn, who is regularly briefed on potential causes of civil unrest, singled out April’s G20 summit of the leading developed nations in London as one of the events that could kick start a series of protests.