Bent to good authorities?

Human rights, authoritarian neoliberalism and consent policing

Authored by: Willem de Lint

The Routledge International Handbook of Criminology and Human Rights

Print publication date:  August  2016
Online publication date:  August  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138931176
eBook ISBN: 9781315679891
Adobe ISBN: 9781317395553


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Across southern Europe, there is a growing legitimacy crisis as frustrations with austerity – in particular unemployment and curtailed public services – spill out into the street. In Madrid, Barcelona, and other cities, police have sought to protect state government buildings against street protests and riots. Ada Colau, who co-founded the anti-eviction group, Platform for People Affected by Mortgages, framed the connection between human rights and policing from the point of view both of an activist who was repeatedly arrested during protests and, as of May 2015, mayor-elect of Barcelona:

when we have unjust laws, like the ones we have now in Spain, one has to massively disobey these unjust laws to protect human rights. … In order to defend rights and to win rights, many times it has been necessary to disobey unjust laws. Of course, now, as future mayor of Barcelona, I hope the police are going to be at the service of human rights, and not of the banks.

(Colau, Democracy Now 2015)

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