via Guerilla Reporters

Newest trend: Police beatings in the name of “public health”

One has to ask – if scenes of vicious police violence towards unarmed protesters had been witnessed at, say, a Black Lives Matter event, would we ever hear the end of it?

Would it not roundly be condemned by every media outlet and politician in the Western world as a heinous breach of human rights, and be pointed to for decades as an example of the systemic bigotry of Western society?

Well, luckily for all of us, we’ll never know the answer to that question for certain, because it will never happen.

Western police have never, and will never set German shepherds on Black Lives Matter protestors, or pro-abortion protestors, or any other Left-leaning group, even during a pandemic. They reserve that treatment only for groups with a particular set of political views.

Over the weekend, shocking footage emerged of Dutch police unleashing attack dogs on unarmed protestors who were demonstrating against the country’s draconian Covid-19 restrictions.

The Netherlands is currently under a severe lockdown – the equivalent of Level 5 here in Ireland – with all non-essential businesses being forced to close by law. Cinemas, bars, restaurants, shops – you name it, it’s closed by law. Schools were even closed early.

Christmas was essentially cancelled by the government due to severe restrictions. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte even told the elderly that there would be “no cuddling the grandkids” during the Christmas period – a shocking statement to hear from a politician if ever there was one.

To date, around 70% of Dutch citizens are fully-vaccinated. So, in light of all of this, it’s no wonder that thousands of extremely frustrated Dutch citizens took to the streets to demonstrate against these measures.

However, there was just one problem: gatherings of more than two people are banned in the Netherlands under the new rules. And so, the police brought the hammer down on the event – both figuratively, and literally.

After police forbade the protest from going ahead, citizens defied these orders, claiming their legitimate right to demonstrate in public and express their displeasure with government policy. They came with posters and placards, and were met with batons and blunt force trauma.

One man in particular was seen with a police german shepherd locked onto his arm, with police dragging the man to the ground as he screamed in pain.

Now, videos on social media often only tell half the story, and admittedly it’s unknown what the man may have done to provoke the police before this. We simply don’t know what the impetus for the attack was. Maybe he started it – who knows?

However, it’s worth noting that in the footage in question, both of the man’s hands are clearly empty and weapon-free. Whatever started the conflict initially, at the end, an unarmed man was being brutalised while surrounded by teams of armoured police in riot gear wielding batons and attack dogs.

Further footage can be seen of other unarmed male and female protestors being whacked and beaten with nightsticks by Dutch police.

Nearby, in neighbouring Germany, recent scenes have shown police dragging protestors by the hair and kneeing them in the head.

One piece of footage allegedly shows German police beating a woman in the back of a police vehicle.

Before this, in September 2021, Melbourne police knocked an elderly woman (who is reportedly in her 70s) to the ground before pepper spraying her full in the face.

These kinds of acts are not confined to the West, however. After Kenya implemented a Covid curfew, at least 15 people were killed by police during the first 9 weeks of the policy according to Kenya’s official police oversight body. At least six other deaths are being investigated, as well as alleged shootings, robbery, harrassment and sexual assault by officers.

Amnesty International Kenya even said that Covid-19 restrictions provided “the perfect storm for indiscriminate mass violence” by police.

Notably, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer has called for witnesses and victims of police violence to step forward with evidence of such incidents.

Melzer previously claimed that he had received over 100 reports of excessive police violence from German authorities from one anti-lockdown protest alone.

“Every single message and video needs to be carefully verified and I will also speak to direct eyewitnesses. But my impression is that in several cases there is reason enough for an official intervention on my part with the federal government,” he said.

Melzer added that he was “very concerned about the development of police operations in demonstrations worldwide,” saying that “Something fundamental is going wrong – in all regions of the world, the authorities are evidently increasingly viewing their own people as an enemy.

“Every single case must be clarified, and thoroughly. And every clear rule violation by police officers must have severe consequences. The politically responsible must not take the incidents lightly.”

Melzer went on to condemn violence against police officers, but said that these could not justify police retaliation against non-violent protests, urging police to “use proportionality in all cases.”

“Violent actions against police officers are also unacceptable, they are crimes for which the perpetrators must be punished,” he said.

“However, isolated violence by demonstrators must in no way serve to justify police violence against other, non-violent demonstrators.

“The majority of the protests were not violent rioters. It is absolutely unacceptable when the police take action against defenseless demonstrators because of mere administrative offenses or civil disobedience with sometimes life-threatening violence.”

In 2020, around the time of George Floyd’s death, in almost every Western capital, Black Lives Matter protestors marched through the streets by the thousands campaigning for their cause. They were not mauled by dogs. They were not shot with rubber bullets. They were not pepper sprayed in the face while incapacitated.

It is becoming increasingly clear that State brutality only goes one way in the West. It’s not that protests are banned – it’s that certain types of protests are banned, and if you hold the wrong views and breach restrictions, you can prepare to get a loving boot in the head from the State, allegedly for the sake of “protecting lives.”

How can authorities around the world justify beating their own citizens to a pulp for the sake of their “health”? And how can we condemn authoritarian regimes of the past, while falling into exactly the same terrifying patterns?

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