As the dust settles and the inquests begin into the G20 in London we can look back and reflect on the happenings of the past week. One of the really interesting things for me at such summits is the way in which police/protestor relations pan out. It seems clear that there has not been a global convergence of policing styles as suggested by some authors. Both police and protesters, seemingly, largely abide by a national template. See the following site for work that Michael and I have done on these questions: http://www.sociology.ed.ac.uk/current_research/g8_research
Looking through the coverage it is clear that the police were ‘heavy-handed’ at times. As they would doubtless note, however, their heavy-handedness (which may have contributed ot the tragic death of a protestor according to today’s Guardian) is very restrained compared to that of other forces. The package of the unarmed, friendly British Bobby is often far from the truth but it does serve to constrain the actions of officers.
Protestors likewise follow established repertoires of action. The set-piece march on the Saturday was a classic example of the British protest tradition though there were also examples of more radical voices and actions.
It was also interesting to see how the global leaders – for all their talk of consensus – had more than an eye on their home fronts.
It seems the ‘global crisis’ is also being nationalised – not just in terms of government bail-outs of specific banks, but also in terms of how blame is allocated and how governments react. There is interesting material on this in the latest issue of Economic and Political Weekly: http://epw.in/epw/user/userindex.jsp