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The debate on policing of protests

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Lila Allen | 13:30 UK time, Tuesday, 7 July 2009

The Panorama inbox has been host to a lively debate lively debate following Monday's programme Whatever Happened to People Power?

Raphael Rowe's investigation into the policing of protests following the controversy over tactics at the G20 demonstrations certainly split opinion.

Tran wrote in to say "I feel infuriated having just watched this programme. I don't understand what society we live in when protestors break the law by squatting, breaking windows, damaging property, provoking the police and more and then feel they have any right to claim that their human rights have been violated. The police are there to protect the general public and I dread to think what would have happened had they not been there yet I feel their sense of frustration in the vast amounts of criticism they have received in simply doing their job. I think we take for granted what rights we have in this country and need to be more grateful to those who are employed to protect us. Let's put more faith in people who put their neck on the line and give them the respect that they deserve. The police should feel empowered and respected for the authority they should rightfully hold instead of being criticised from every angle."

Lin McAlinden disagrees. "Through there own misguided importance, the police have now developed a 'them and us' society. Years ago the British public had a good relationship with the police, but now it is run and operated in the whole, by what can only be described as jumped up illiterate thugs. Orwell was right," she emailed.

The right to protest is a democratic right and draws people from all walks of life with a whole host of issues they want addressed as Panorama discovered when it interviewed a climate change protestor and a pensioner campaigning to safeguard a cemetery where her husband was buried:

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The programme was also discussed in the blogosphere where once again opinions differed. For Fitwatch Panorama didn't go far enough in defending the right to protest but also felt the police were made to "squirm".

The debate on Pie and Bovril was more heated and peppered with strong language with some worried by the extent of police powers and others feeling officers were goaded by protestors to lash out.

Today's headlines that a report has called the Met's planning for the G20 demonstrations "inadequate" is sure to keep the debate going.

Twitter played a big role in reporting the G20 demonstrations as they were happening and had been keeping up with developments today.

Facebook has various groups representing the many opinions in the debate.

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