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London police to protesters: Follow us on Twitter

London police to protesters: Follow us on Twitter

British police bracing for what could be the country's biggest protest march in eight years have an unusual message for demonstrators: Follow us on Twitter.
London's Metropolitan Police have sometimes struggled to find the right response to the wave of protests that have followed the global financial crisis. On Tuesday, Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Lynne Owens said her force was refining its practices, "particularly our communication ability."
The idea was to engage with protesters in real time, responding to concerns over policing, broadcasting warnings or quashing rumors. To that end, she said that protesters "may like following us on Twitter or sign up to our text service to receive live updates."
The stakes are high for Saturday's march, which both police and protesters say will be the country's biggest in years.
Dubbed "March for the Alternative," it is meant to voice anger felt by many Britons over the deep cuts being imposed to the country's public sector spending, jobs and services. The Trades Union Congress, which is organizing the rally, expects at least 100,000 people to show up.
The march, which will end with a rally in London's Hyde Park, follows a series of rowdy student rallies that have descended into violence.
One rally last year ended with several thousand protesters trashing the ruling party's office building. Another demonstration drew international attention when a small group of protesters stumbled across the car carrying Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, battering their vintage Rolls Royce and shouting "Off with their heads!"
Like an increasing number of demonstrators across the world, protesting students used the micro-blogging site Twitter to organize, post pictures, and swap tips about dodging police cordons.
Owens said police would deploy some 4,500 police to keep the peace. Among those monitoring the march, she said, would be "a team of people in our control room particularly trained to use Twitter."


Updated : 2021-05-16 15:23 GMT+08:00