"I sometimes think that the price of liberty is not so much eternal vigilance as eternal dirt."
- George Orwell
Should you find yourself eating a custard tart in Trafalgar Square do make sure not to spill any cream on the floor. It's a criminal damage and you are liable for arrest. That is precisely what happened to six individuals who were peacefully highlighting the criminal record of some Olympic sponsors by means of theatrical improvisation. Impersonating each a representative from the Games' most controversial sponsors (BP, Rio Tinto and Dow) the three agit-performers were finally subjected to an innocuous (so they must have thought) bit of custard-throwing.
Barely 15 minutes into the performance and 25 police officers moved in on the crime scene and arrested the performers and their accomplices who were busy cleaning up the sugary green matter. The Metropolitan Police has confirmed the arrests.
The fact that the most environmentally friendly Games in history are about to begin might explain the over-zealous reaction of the authorities and their resolute intervention against the improper polluters.
It remains unclear why the same ecological rigor was not applied when choosing Olympic sponsors such as Dow and BP. British Petroleum (BP), despite undergoing a skillful brand-laundering operation, is still responsible for having turned the Gulf of Mexico from clear blue to viscous black. Dow owns Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) which in 1984 killed 25.000 people with its poisonous gases in one of the worst and, needless to say, unpunished ecological disasters in history.
While the prompt and efficient reaction of the police in warding off yet another spill is undoubtedly a laudable operation, there are still a few important security issues to be addressed. Few days after the private firm G4S declared its inability to provide the agreed number of security personnel, Claudia Blunt, the daughter of Prisons Minister Crispin Blunt, exposed the dangerous incompetence of another private security company. Tungsten SIA, Miss Blunt learned at her own expenses, recruited inexperienced stewards without checking their criminal records as well as inviting them to exaggerate their experience if questioned by Olympic organizers. All this in a dimly-lit nightclub in Oxford.
Besides the most environmentally friendly these are also the most militarized games in history with more troops to be deployed in London than in Afghanistan (where there is a war going on technically). One only hopes that all the billions invested in securing the British capital are not exclusively dedicated to a bunch of custard-throwing protesters and their criminal activities.
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