G20 Protests Continue Into The Night

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 108 months ago
G20 Protests Continue Into The Night

climate_camp.jpg
Climate Camp on Bishopsgate / image courtesy of Matt Perdeaux from the Londonist Flickr pool

As the night draws in, what's happening on the City's streets?

People are finally being released from the kettle at the Bank of England, one by one (and after a spell of being searched and photographed). Things took a nasty turn around 6.30pm, with missiles being thrown (we heard one girl, just released from the pen, complain about something metal that had come through the air). Police were running frantically around corners and the Guardian reports a baton charge. Let's not forget though, these people have been held there since lunchtime and frustration will be mounting.

We're shocked to hear of police closing in the Climate Camp - and Indymedia is talking about a baton charge there too. A ramble through the Camp around 6.15pm this evening was as pleasant a stroll as we've ever taken in London. Protesters have erected tents in the road between Wormwood Street and Threadneedle Street, were cooking food and generally chilling out - it reminded us of a miniature urban Glastonbury. We were slightly perturbed by the sight of police with helmets and shields but didn't think for a moment they'd go in.

The BBC reports that from 4.30pm "a different sort of demonstrator has started to arrive - clad in black, masked and aggressive" but we saw no such people, or felt any dodgy atmosphere, and the Guardian's Paul Lewis tweets that a colleague saw no provocation. The police claim demonstrators are setting things on fire, but we can't help but wonder if they've mistaken camp or cooking fires for wanton destruction. This is a campsite, after all. It smacks a bit of the Met wanting to break up the camp so they can all go home.

News from the Alternative Summit is that it's taking place, which is a big success in itself. BP sensibly postponed its party in the British Museum, particularly on a day when they announced they're cutting 620 jobs from their solar business, so the planned protest there has also been cancelled.

Let us know your stories from today, and post your photos in the Flickrpool.

Last Updated 01 April 2009

Dave

This is bizarre. I took a stroll along Poultry towards Bank station at about 5:15, and there was absolutely nothing happening. More photographers than protesters, and no more than a perfunctory line of bored-looking riot police by Bank. It really looked like everything was winding down. I hung around for 20 minutes, but it really was very quiet.

Reports that aggressive, masked and black-clad protesters were arriving is completely at odds from what I saw. It looked like everyone, police included, was just getting around to going home (or to the pub). I guess I was on the wrong side of the Square Mile to see (or hear) any of the drama.

Interesting to hear the theory that the (possibly) illegal detention of protesters within the 'kettle' might have provoked later violence. Although there's little justification for violence at what should be a peaceful protest, after the late-night rioting that followed the appalling police 'kettle' tactic in 2001, you would have thought that they would be wary of repeating the exercise. Unless they actually wanted to provoke people, that is...

RachelH
Unless they actually wanted to provoke people, that is...

Well, you have to wonder don't you? All the hype about violent anarchists, thugs and what not; is the kettle tactic a passive-aggressive way of justifying that hype and subsequent tactics? They always say the aim is to wait until protesters get tired or bored and just want to go home but yeah, that definitely didn't work in 2001. And when the City police's own advice is "not to antagonise protestors and risk escalation in incidents", it makes you ask what the hell they think they're playing at. Especially when they start kettling uber-fluffies like the Climate Camp.

DeanN

Oh come on now, the protesters would love it if the cops actually did become aggressive. They'd be the first to yell "police brutality" and have the scars and swipes to justify their pointless posturing. For good or ill, our police are pretty supine and are unlikely to give some of these fatheads the smack they deserve.

chloeg

Fantastic stuff Rachel. Well done for being there and telling the truth. I spoke to some extremely balanced sensible people who said they felt that the police had been very heavy-handed. For every 1000 peaceful protestors there seemed maybe 50 'anarchists'. By about 1am near the cordoned off Climate Camp everyone just sat down and talked to each other or zoomed off on bikes to see where the action was. People were from all sorts of backgrounds with many variations of opinion on the details. The media have a lot to answer for.

ohmyliver

I'd agree, the most danger at the climate camp thingy was the distinct possibility of being Kumbyya'd to death... was possibly the most fluffy demonstration I've seen... not so much trying to smash the system, more trying to get the system to reconsider things via a nice chat, a cup of tea, and a slice of home-made cake

The emerging footage of the police's policing of it speaks for itself
https://london.indymedia.org.u...

johnny51

The mood at bank definately changed once people realised they could not leave.
I know under the Geneva convetion I have the right to peaceful protest. But perhaps it does not include the right to stop peaceful protesting?