Saturday, June 25, 2011

Glastonbury 2011: Crushing dissent, deflating balloons,

The Telegraph headline on the story about the U2 tax protest is almost as disgraceful as the way the festival behaved:

Violent scenes break out in the crowd at U2’s long-awaited Glastonbury debut
Well, yes, there was a scuffle - but a scuffle as guards wrestled protestors to the ground and deflated their balloon:
As Bono and his bandmates took to the Pyramid Stage, activists from direct action group Art Uncut inflated a 20ft balloon emblazoned with the message “U Pay Your Tax 2”.

But as the campaigners tried to release it over the 50,000-strong crowd, a team of 10 security guards wrestled them to the ground before deflating the balloon and taking it away.
Even the Telegraph's own report makes it clear that if there was a problem here, it was heavy-handed security:
The intervention by security after U2’s opening song Until The End Of The World sparked angry clashes with 30 or more protesters.

Several protesters were pinned against a fence near the Pyramid Stage after attempting to hold on to the balloon. There were no arrests.
There were no arrests because these weren't police. They weren't police because having a balloon with a mildly amusing, gently satirical message on isn't a crime.

Michael Eavis should be feeling pretty ashamed this morning; if Glastonbury has become a festival where security guards rough you up for taking part in a political debate, then what's the point?

[Part of Glastonbury 2011 full coverage]