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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Met Chief: "Twitter Made G20 Protests Peaceful"

The use of social networking sites such as Twitter have been credited with ensuring that the protests in London at the G20 summit remained, in the words of Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson, 'reasonably peaceful'.

There had been concerns, in the build-up to the protests, that the Internet and social networking sites would allow protesters better to organise themselves, and to react quickly to move protests to sites where the police response was lighter.

However, Sir Paul said, "what we have found is that sites such as Twitter have had a positive effect, turning protests into a larger equivalent of Twitter meetups. On arriving, rather than forming organised groups to lob bottles, stomp on bankers or punch police horses, demonstrators are pulling out their iPhones and logging into Twitter to tell everybody that they're Twittering from the G20 protests.

"As a result, rather than a riot we've got a bunch of geeks sitting around under placards, tapping away on their touchscreens. Quite frankly, it's a doddle to police".

We attempted to speak to the protest organisers for comment on the Twitter phenomenon, but couldn't DM them as they weren't following us.

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