Most people will have seen the footage of a Greenpeace protester being punched, grabbed by the shoulders and neck and then frog-marched out of the room by an MP, Mark Field, who was attending a dinner at the Mansion House. If you haven’t seen it, here is the link:
This all happened as a result of a group of climate activists wanting to inform the Chancellor, Philip Hammond and bankers and MPs attending the dinner, about how the current economy is acting to make climate change worse. The Greenpeace activists, mainly women, had dressed up in red evening dresses to look as if they were attendees, thus getting through security. It was a non-violent protest, as the protesters were only carrying leaflets to hand out. The violent action of the Tory minister was in stark contrast to this. Other guests just sat there without intervening or trying to stop Mark Field violently assaulting her.
Mark Field MP grabbing the non-violent protester at the Mansion House event
As a result of an outcry, Mark Field has been suspended from his post. A piece in The Guardian tells the story from the woman’s point of view:
According to this article, Janet Barker, the protester, thinks that Mark Field needs a course in anger management.
The other interesting (or shocking) factor in all of this is the way in which it has polarised opinion, many thinking that Field was within his rights to treat her so violently. And others, like me, being appalled at the unnecessary level of violence he used. These comments can be seen below the original clip (link above). Do we have half a generation of people who justify violence against women? Who justify expressing contempt towards those who have a different opinion to themselves? To me, it looked like he punched her in the breast before grabbing her shoulders but others have not commented on that.
Are we to see more of this kind of thing as protests against climate change escalate, as they must do? A polarisation of opinion on climate change and the future of the planet, just like we have become polarised over Brexit?