| Testimony of Richard D North
Media Fellow, The Institute of Economic Affairs, London
Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health
Committee on Resources
United States House of Representatives
February 8, 2002
Mr. Chairman, Members of the Subcommittee, my name is Richard D
North. I am the media fellow of the Institute of Economic Affairs,
a free-market think tank based in London, England. I have for 20
years written articles in the broadsheet press and several books
which have touched on protestors and their causes. Thank you for
the opportunity to submit testimony.
In hopes of being as useful and accurate as possible, I intend
to publish a fully annotated version of this evidence at www.richarddnorth.com.
This account is based on personal experience and reliable sources.
Any errors, for which I apologise in advance, will be corrected
I am grateful for the chance to put a UK perspective on the important
issue of protest. The US and the UK share many aspects of protest.
On both sides of the Atlantic, protestors' aims and methods have
similarities, and the internet ensures they know about and learn
from each other. Many of the targets are firms with multinational
interests, and some of the protestors are multinational too. The
authorities on both sides of the Atlantic struggle to maintain the
competing rights of protestors and their targets.
The UK has a particular recent history of illegitimate protest,
which I shall outline. Its parliament, legal system and police have
developed particular responses, which I shall sketch out.
Vociferous, vigorous, violent or vicious? Different forms of protest
Non-violent protest is a manifestation of free speech and assembly,
and as such it is jealously defended and generously safeguarded
in the UK. It is widely if warily admired, even when it is vigorous.
The core problem in the UK has been to delineate between vigorous
protest and what might best be called vicious protest. Some illegal
protest uses force but not in a vicious way: it involves trespass,
for instance, and sometimes actual damage, but not in a way intended
to induce fear. Meanwhile, there is protest which does not use actual
force of any kind, but which is designed to induce fear. I use the
term 'vicious protest' to convey all the protest which seeks to
induce fear by force or the threat of force.
The difficulty in the UK has been to explain to the media and public
that very little, and perhaps no, illegal protest can be justified.
It is especially likely to be without justification in countries
where there are plenty of outlets for vociferous protest, and for
other forms of expression, pressure and politicking. Besides, some
of the fiercest protestors have no interest in being popular or
legal: some of the most passionate are in the 'antinomian' dissident
tradition, familiar from the 17th century in the UK and the US,
of believing that the justice of their cause over-rules the claims
of all civil authority and ethics. Others are simply addicted to
Amongst all the forms of illegal protest, vicious protest –
however it induces fear – especially deserves to be called
The UK's particular history of protest
The UK's recent history of protest has been a little different to
that of the US. In the UK, mining and forestry have produced campaigns
which are mostly vociferous rather than violent. Nor do we have
an equivalent of the US 'anti-Federalist' movement. We do however
have a strong 'peace' movement.
We do of course have a wide range of environmentalists and conservationists,
and some of these believe in 'direct action', which at its mildest
includes street theatre and heckling corporate chiefs at AGMs. Tougher
manifestations have included various occupations of smokestacks,
offices and even the famous 'Brent Spar' incident in 1995 during
which Greenpeace members occupied a huge floating oil facility belonging
to the Anglo-Dutch oil company, Shell. (They objected to its being
dumped in the deep north-east Atlantic at a cost of about £20m,
as had been approved as ecologically and economically sound by regulators,
and succeeded in requiring the company to 'recycle' the structure
at a cost of an additional £40m.) This sort of action may
be reprehensible and may require a response involving the use of
force, but it does not constitute vicious protest.
The UK does, however, have a loose movement of 'new age travellers',
who are 'grunge' drop-outs, living in camps and in convoys of vehicles.
They number a few thousand and have an element which protests, and
sometimes does so by 'direct action'. There have been various 'occupations'
of land to try to stop the development of airport runways (in Manchester,
recently, for instance), various new roads (at Twyford Down, near
Winchester, at Newbury in Berkshire, and at the east end of London,
all in the 90s, for instance). These occupations were time-consuming
and expensive for the firms and authorities involved, but produced
stand-offs and confrontations which were usually more theatrical
than seriously menacing. Indeed the protestors were seen to be putting
themselves at risk by burying themselves in tunnels, or perching
in trees: to that extent, they were menaced rather than menacing.
They have infuriated those people who believe that a very full democratic
process has at every stage endorsed these proposed developments
and who regard the protests as grandstanding. The authorities and
commentators have often been surprised by the extent to which some
respectable middle class and middle aged people neighbouring the
sites have almost hero-worshipped the mostly young protestors. However,
some of that protest has involved a good deal of criminal damage
and allegations of criminal damage. There have been relatively few
prosecutions of such protestors.
There have been cases of 'peace' campaigners occupying Ministry
of Defence land and in Scotland especially campaigns against British
nuclear submarines have been persistent. They have frequently engaged
in 'direct action' involving criminal damage such as token damage
of submarines, and of aircraft destined for sale under UK government
licence to foreign governments deemed illegitimately violent by
the protestors. These have often resulted in short prison sentences,
but have as often resulted in acquittals by juries which have seemed
reluctant to criminalise these protests.
Anti GMO protest
Some 'New Age' protestors and others in the last two or three years
have acted against the field-scale test-planting of genetically-modified
crops in advance of government approval for commercial planting.
These have produced a few confrontations between the farmers and
the protestors, and at least one single woman farmer in Scotland
has claimed that she did indeed feel threatened by the 'invasions'
and threats of invasion of her fields.
Because these actions – usually called crop-trashings –
involve actual destruction of valuable property and the disruption
of democratically-endorsed official trials, they have seemed to
the public at large to be rather more serious, even though many
share the protestors' doubts about GMO technology. Even so, whilst
some protestors have been deterred by civil injunctions against
their activities, others have proceeded. In October 2001, the High
Court quashed a conviction of anti-GMO protestors on charges of
aggravated trespass under the controversial Public Order Act of
1994, on the grounds that there was no one else in the fields they
In a famous case in 2000, 27 Greenpeace protestors, led by Peter
Melchett (a hereditary peer of the realm), the then UK executive
director of Greenpeace UK, were acquitted following a trashing in
July 1999 of a GM trial crop in Norfolk, the county where Lord Melchett
farms. They claimed that their actions were legitimised by a clause
in the Criminal Damage Act of 1971 which allows that damage perpetrated
in the serious belief that it was necessary to avert damage to oneself
or someone else is legitimate. The jury accepted this case, to the
surprise of many observers.
Animal rights protest
By far the most persistently threatening and occasionally violent
protest has happened around animal rights protest, and especially
1) The use of animals in research for scientific, medical and product
2) Fur farming and retailing
3) Hunting with dogs
4) Live export of farm animals
5) Other cases
1) The use of animals in research for scientific, medical and product
Various groups have campaigned against 'vivisection' for well over
a hundred years, and several continue to do so today. This protest
has always been passionate, and it has contributed to some major
acts of Parliament – the Cruelty to Animals Act, 1876 and
the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act, 1986 particularly - to
intensify the regime under which research is monitored and controlled.
In the 1970s, 80s and 90s there were increasing numbers of incidents,
with some protests numbering over 5,000 people. In some, a minority
of research scientists were persistently targeted, with occasional
incidents of fire damage to cars, paint daubings of cars and homes,
and the occasional letter, nail and car bomb. Some of this activity
has been extraordinarily persistent, going on year in and year out.
One activist was prohibited in February 2000 from further activity
around the home of an Oxford University academic who has been targetted
for several years. A handful of protestors have been convicted for
theft, criminal damage, conspiracy to arson or actual arson, and
one very recently died in prison, following a hunger strike during
his 18 year sentence. His 'martyrdom' has doubtless fuelled the
movement's sense of righteousness.
In the past few years there have been sustained protests against
cat, dog and rabbit farms where animals were bred for research purposes.
In one case, the target was a farm which housed imported monkeys
prior to their use in research. All these farms were regulated,
all were providing animals for research required for legally-mandated
or authorised research. Most of the sites were the scene of regular
mass protests during which workers were shouted at, and worse. In
most cases, the owners also received threatening letters and phone
calls and in one case in 1999 an owner's wife was waylaid during
a country walk, verbally abused, and left shackled (until she freed
herself after a few minutes) to a fence. All the farms ceased operation.
Most firms which undertake contract research work on animals have
been subject to occasional mass protest, but in the case of one,
Huntingdon Life Sciences, the protests have been extraordinarily
sustained, very large-scale, threatening, violent, strategically
clever, and in part successful.
In March 1997, Channel 4 (a commercial national TV station) broadcast
the results of undercover filming at HLS which showed poor animal
management at the firm. The firm insisted that this was an isolated
case, and took disciplinary action, but has faced sustained protest
ever since. New management has taken over. In any case, all HLS's
activities have always been subject to regulation. This has not
deterred the protestors from mass pickets of the main entrance and
a range of other activities including threatening staff at their
homes by phone, in person and through the mail, damage to the private
vehicles of staff at their homes. In one case, the firm's managing
director was hit about the head by man wielding a baseball bat.
There have been few prosecutions for any of these actions, though
in November 2001, three activists were gaoled for a year (half of
the term suspended) for conspiracy to incite a public nuisance (they
had persistently produced newsletters encouraging their subscribers
to target HLS and its supporters by telephone and mail).
The HLS management has remained resolute in the face of all this
hostility. Perhaps because of this, protest was widened to include
shareholders, and to any financial institution doing business with
HLS. Some of the firm's original banks and market-makers gave into
the resulting pressure, though one or two were exceptionally bold
in sticking with the firm. In the end, the Bank of England (the
UK's central bank) offered to run a checking account for the firm,
whilst several other financial functions and shareholding functions
were switched to US investors, who have since faced protests in
their turn, including at their London offices. Any firm known to
use HLS for the testing of products (as the law requires) receives
attentions, both in public and private, from protestors: these currently
include the oil and chemicals giant, Shell.
2) Fur Farming and retailing
The wearing of fur has been seriously controversial in the UK for
at least 20 years, and for as long has been the object of protest,
some of it violent. The Animal Liberation Front (founded from other
groups in 1976) has been particularly active against the small fur-farming
sector (around a dozen farms in the 1990s), with regular trespasses
which have occasionally resulted in vivid film of distressed animals.
These were presented as evidence of bad management though in fact
they may well have been evidence of how distressing sudden farm
invasions and the attendant noise can be to animals more used to
the problem of tedium than excitement. In one instance, undercover
filming produced evidence of bad management on a farm not typical
of the industry. It led to a successful prosecution of a farm worker.
During 1999 and 2000 there were isolated cases of the ALF releasing
animals from mink farms, leading to distressed animals and some
Prior to the 1997 election, the New Labour opposition received
£1m in funding from an animal rights umbrella group and included
a promise to ban fur farming should it be returned to power, which
it was. In 1999, the Queen's speech announced that the government
would introduce a ban on fur farming (the announcement being made
by Her Majesty wearing a flowing white fox stole as she sat on her
ceremonial throne in the House of Lords).
In 2001, Calman Links, the furrier 'by Royal Appointment' supplier
of furs to her Majesty, and also to many of the peers of the realm
whose official robes they looked after, was closed. Its shop in
Knightsbridge had been the target of mostly small but occasionally
very large pickets by protestors. The staff and directors had been
routinely intimidated at home. The closure was one of a series which
had seen, in the 1980s, Harrods close its in-store furriers, and,
during the 90s, several other West End fur businesses close.
At the present time, there are many stores in the centre of London
which stock furs and fur-trimmed garments, but in most cases these
are a 'back-of-the-store', or an incidental, operation, which attract
some protest, but not the full-scale protest which is reserved for
the city's sole fully-fledged, high-profile furrier, Philip Hockley,
of Conduit Street.
This case is noteworthy because it involves a shop which is owned
by a firm whose directors include the chairman of the British Fur
Trade Association, an individual who has attracted the wrath of
protestors both at home and at his store. Persistent picketing at
the shop and occasional 'home visits' led the owner to deploy a
relatively new piece of legislation, the Protection from Harassment
Act 1997, which allows a court to impose an injunction which defines
an 'exclusion' zone within which named and unnamed protestors (where
they could be presumed to know about the injunction) are not allowed,
even if they claim not to be protesting. The act requires that the
'victim' has to prove that there have been acts of a harassing kind
and that there are people willing to testify that they have been
so harassed. When protestors challenged the original injunction
in the High Court in late 2001, it was not only upheld, but their
victims were allowed to give their evidence under pseudonyms. The
victims' real names, and their addresses, have been lodged with
the court, but not publicly revealed. The courts seems to have accepted
that in such cases it was hardly sensible that victims of harassment
who had hitherto been anonymous should have been forced to make
the work of vicious protestors all the easier when the case comes
The Hockley case is important because it is an early example of
the use of a law which in principle it makes it far easier to secure
the places of work and the homes of the targets of most public protest
and even some covert protest. The Harassment Act was needed because
traditional offences such as breach of the peace and obstruction
of the highway had often proved inadequate, mostly because protestors
could strategically adjust their behaviour so as to maximise their
inconvenience to customers and staff, or other targets, without
clearly infringing the law. Parliament has recently introduced the
Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 which, in part, forbids protestors
to take their activities to the homes of individuals, but its working
may be no less fraught than the traditional laws have already proved.
The present situation is that fur is increasingly fashionable and
that many people, including men, now wear it, especially in the
form of more or less ostentatious linings and as trims to, especially,
the collar, cuffs and hoods of outer garments. There is no sign
that the minority of the public who find the habit offensive are
diminishing in their hatred of fur; but there are signs that those
who want to wear fur are becoming bolder in asserting their right
to. There is, by the way, little or no evidence that anyone in Britain
was ever sprayed with paint whilst wearing fur, though many believe
that such incidents did happen in the 80s. Urban myth-making seems
to have been at work here. There is good evidence of people being
frightened out of wearing fur but little of the protestors' arguments
having changed people's minds on the matter.
3) Hunting with dogs
Hunting deer, hare and foxes with dogs (usually called hounds) and
horse-mounted riders has been part of British country life for centuries,
but became pursuits of the 'ordinary' farmer and anyone who could
afford a mount or to follow the activities on foot in the 19th century.
During the 20th century it became almost a mass rural pursuit, especially
with the advent of the car, which allowed very many people to become
involved. The activity has been especially controversial in the
1970s, 80s and the 90s. 'Hunt Saboteurs', mostly young urban protestors,
became very skilled in disrupting hunts, and there have been many
examples of violence on both sides during heated confrontations,
often far from the gaze of over-stretched rural police forces in
the deep countryside. More recently, in 2001 there were some cases
of more direct intimidation of hunt staff and hunt supporters, including
some mobbing of people's homes, with fire damage to cars belonging
to them. There are reports that hunts have been stopped from starting
their 'meets' at some public houses, as had been traditional.
4) Live export of farm animals
During the late 1990s, there were sustained protestors against the
export from the UK to continental Europe of live animals, especially
young calves destined for the production of veal (milk-fed calf
meat) in crated production systems prohibited in the UK, and also
sheep, some of which were destined for consumption in the far south
of Europe and occasionally for Hal-al slaughter (that is, slaughter
without prior stunning) for consumption by Muslims. These protests
were mainly at ports, and became very heated, with one woman dying
when she was run over by a lorry whose progress she was attempting
to halt. These protests also spilled over to the homes of lorry
operators and exporters, and these were occasionally very menacing.
5) Other cases
There has been disruption of fishing matches and the full range
of intimidatory tactics against proponents of angling, and letter
bombs delivered to fish and chip shops (as familiar as doughnut
and coffee bars in the US, these provide a take-out dish which is
very traditional in the UK).
Some features of animal rights protest
1) The people and organisations involved
The animal rights 'movement' is a complicated phenomenon, not least
because the range of its support runs from members of the very public
Royal Society for the Protection of Animals (founded in 1824) through
to the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and many other groups whose
membership is shadowy and organised on the 'cell' principle by which
small numbers of committed people join to share an acronym (ALF,
or whatever) but who do not know the members of other similar cells.
Anyone can claim to be ALF. As one of its founders has said: 'The
ALF is not an organisation, it is a state of mind'. Very many of
these groups have spokespeople and even hold meetings which are
more or less public, but it is clear that they also have deliberations
and organisation which the outside world could never see.
2) The 'not condoning, but understanding' and 'moral outlaw' arguments
The public spokesmen of even the most extreme groups never say that
they condone or conduct violent acts. Instead they tend to use a
formula such as: 'I would not condone violence, but I do understand
how strongly people feel that there is animal abuse about which
the politicians will never do anything, and if this anger results
in violence, then it's hardly surprising'.
It is sometimes said by protestors that people who abuse animals
put themselves outside the normal moral sphere: almost anything
which happens to them can be justified by the suffering they have
inflicted on animals.
3) The 'We know where you live' tactic
It is regularly stated by protestors that it is important to take
the campaign to the home addresses of staff, directors and customers
of businesses of which they disapprove. By doing so an 'innocent'
message is made menacing. To receive an anonymous letter requesting
that one consider the morality of one's business activities may
be a mild enough matter when it is received at one's business address;
it is quite another when it is addressed, quite unnecessarily, to
one's home. Protestors are wickedly disingenuous when they pretend
not to spot the difference.
Many protest groups, some of them almost certainly with links to
violent protestors, freely use and publish in newsletters and websites
language intended to incite violence, and often publish the home
addresses of anyone of whom they disapprove. They do so with apparent
4) The well-advised protestor
Protestors are adept at presenting themselves to police and courts
as innocent and ignorant. In fact, many are canny, devious and well-advised
for free by lawyers specialising in what they see as civil liberties
issues and often motivated by agendas shared with protestors.
5) The law as an economic weapon
It has been little noticed that unemployed protestors representing
themselves in court, and too poor to pay costs, can often involve
firms and authorities in big legal and other costs at no cost to
themselves. Masquerading as pursuing civil liberties, protestors
have admitted in their newsletters to using these tactics as an
economic rather than a purely legal weapon.
Legal responses to protest
As mentioned earlier, police forces have had some difficulty deploying
traditional law against threatening protestors. Public order offences
are notoriously hard to prove, especially when the activity falls
short of actual violence, or when even large numbers of people gather
in a way which does not perhaps actually obstruct the passage of
customers into, say, a shop, but whose presence deters anyone even
trying. As seen, the Harassment Act has helped in those cases.
It is much harder to deter the menacing use of telephone or mail
by anonymous activists, though in one case in 2001 several people
were convicted for a mass mailing campaign against supporters of
In very recent years, the Home Office (the Government department
which roughly speaking corresponds with the 'Ministry of the Interior'
of other countries) has framed and Parliament has introduced laws
which make it an offence to protest outside people's private homes
(as already noted), and there have been moves to make it easier
for directors and shareholders of controversial companies to obtain
a degree of anonymity. Parliament has introduced the Terrorism Act
2000 which classifies animal rights and other forms of violent protest
as terrorist activity (and limits the rights of people suspected
and charged with offences) when it involves terrorist methods, such
as bomb-making. But such moves routinely incur the suspicion of
civil liberties groups and the media and will be used by the police
only with great circumspection.
Larger scale, anti-capitalist, protest
The recent history of events at Seattle, Prague, and Genoa have
shown how great the problem of large set-piece protests can be.
On the one hand, a generation of politicians now in office can remember,
sometimes with nostalgia, the protesting activity of their own youth.
On the other, events in London in recent years have seemed to many
to be wholly unacceptable. In May 2000 there was wide-scale disruption,
in effect a riot, in central London to mark what has become a traditional
May Day anti-capitalist protest, and it led to over a hundred arrests
and 55 convictions for violent disorder, threatening behaviour,
affray and other offences. In May 2001 the city was better prepared
and there were fewer incidents of violence, but only at the expense
of a large police operation which corralled some potentially violent
and many more probably more or less non-violent protestors for several
hours in a large road intersection, Oxford Circus, in the centre
of London's West End. The strategy was hailed as successful because
it 'took out' some potentially violent protestors, unfortunately
along with many 'innocent' protestors, whilst allowing the police
to concentrate on the remaining activists, who were loose on the
streets and more or less self-defining as mischievous.
It is important to note that in 2001 the police were more successful
in explaining prior to this sort of protest that people should not
join in for a reason which had previously not been made clear. Most
large scale protest passes off more or less without incident because
its organisers consult with the police as to routes, marshalling,
etc. The May Day and other anti-capitalist events are run by a hard
core of people who refuse to consult and it is important that well-intentioned
should be aware of that, and stay away. They may need to develop
new avenues of protest which keep them clear of the hard core and
aggressive police action.
These events had followed the 'Poll Tax' riots of the late 1980s,
which had similarly disrupted central London and which seemed to
attract very much the same leftist, anarchic, 'grunge' dissidents
and a much wider fringe of more or less dissident or by-standing
students and other young people. The core of these anti-capitalist
protestors are organised, multinational, free-wheeling, committed,
intelligent. Amongst the core, who promote wide spread civil disobedience
and public manifestations, there is clearly a smaller, more sinister
tendency who deploy menaces of the more insidious, covert kind.
The politics of protestors
Most protestors have fairly limited core issues about which they
are passionate. Few are political revolutionaries or even leftists
of the kind with which Western history is familiar. The environmental,
conservation, animal rights and anti-capitalist protestors are not
the same people, though many individuals may adopt causes outside
their main concern. The most violent of the protestors seem to despise
the more moderate protestors, though the moderate tend, often unconsciously,
to provide cover – both actual and political – for the
In general, the most visible protest – even when it involves
large numbers of people – is fairly manageable, albeit at
a cost in damage to property and disruption and sometimes actual
danger to the public. It is the menacing, covert activities of the
most vicious protestors which are the hardest to address, even when
the nature of their offences is well understood and framed in law.
Such crimes are hard to investigate, and the perpetrators too wily
and committed to be easy to deter.
The future of protest
It is widely believed by the UK authorities that electronic data
systems – the web, email – will provide attractive targets
for protestors seeking to disrupt their opponents.
The police and protest
The British police at the highest level believe that it is important
not to be heavy handed against protest. They believe there is widespread
sympathy for many of the causes which have attracted some violent
support. Many senior police believe that it is important to tolerate
as much protest activity is as possible, consistent with resisting
the worst kind of behaviour. What is more, they believe that the
forces of authority can only succeed if they are sometimes seen
to fail: that is to say, in a street protest, the 'mob' must sometimes
be allowed to win, because it is better that TV news viewers see
the police as victims who sometimes take setbacks, rather than as
hard-ball aggressors who succeed by being heavy-handed.
One difficulty the police have faced is the acquittal of large
numbers of protestors arrested in good faith and on pretty good
evidence. Usually, as remarked, the grey areas of criminal law have
allowed protestors successfully to plead innocence and police over-reaction.
The resulting damages paid to protestors by police forces have been
expensive and embarrassing. Until recently, police have felt that
politicians did not support them in general in their handling of
protestors, and that losing cases played into the hands of those
amongst politicians who were sceptical of their behaviour.
Protest and politicians
As remarked, New Labour came to power having given various commitments,
some of them in their manifesto, about reform of legislation with
a bearing on animals. Committed to allowing a free vote on hunting,
for instance, they have since found that though a majority of Members
of Parliament would probably prefer to vote for a ban, there has
been a surprising resistance to the idea from both hunting people
and – what was not expected – people roused to defend
hunting on libertarian grounds. There has also been a backlash against
the intimidatory habits of some protestors.
Similarly, it may have surprised New Labour ministers and parliamentarians
the degree to which illegal activity on the part of protestors against
GMOs and fur has proved unpopular with the public.
However, the biggest shock to New Labour in government has come
from the HLS case. When this first arose, the Home Secretary, Jack
Straw, seemed sympathetic to the outcry evidence of poor management
by HLS provoked, and certainly did not rush to defend the company.
Arguably, at first he added to their problems. The realisation that
HLS' activities were required by Parliament, and that many major
and profitable British and multinational firms fulfilled their legal
obligations by contracts with HLS, seems to have jolted ministers
into an understanding that if this firm did not exist, government
would probably have to invent it.
Besides, as news of the levels of intimidation employed against
HLS staff and others filtered through, ministers must have realised
that the public was even more shocked by the abuse of humans, which
was deliberate and large-scale, than they had been by evidence of
abuse of animals at HLS, which appears to have been rare and was
Protest and the media
The UK media prides itself on the robustness of its defence of free
speech and has tended to believe protest represents democracy in
action. It has preferred to overlook or gloss over much violent
protest, and especially intimidation in private, where the word
of the protestors tended to be heard, whilst the victims' was not.
This has quite dramatically changed in the last year or so, and
many papers such as the Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph and
The Times have covered these issues with far greater seriousness.
Several commentators on what might be called the left have also
been much more forthcoming in defending the rights of inquiry represented
by animal research, and the rights of tradition or even fashionable
whim represented by hunting and the fur-trade.
There is a long tradition of vigorous and vicious protest on many
issues in the UK and it has not allways been well handled by the
media, politicians or the courts. Recent excesses by the protestors
have produced a backlash which will quite likely strengthen the
hand of the victims against their aggressors. However, there is
no sign that this changed atmosphere will do anything to weaken
the resolve of those determined to impose their will on society
without recourse to the ballot box.