Monday, 4 May 2009

Peaceful Protest..... yeah... of course it was.....

At the Mayday! demo organised predominantly by SmashEDO around 1000 (police estimates are usually lower and organisers usually much higher) turned up for a supposed peaceful street carnival. Because of the massive amount of negative press surrounding the G20 and police tactics, a more low key and standoff approach seems to have been adopted in deference to containing from the outset.

It didn't work, and it kicked off.

There were probably over 7000 people at the G20 on the 1st, I really have to ask myself what would have happened if we had just left them all to it, considering only around 1000 appear to have got the initiative in Brighton. Frankly, considering the huge lack of support we received from our bosses, numerous politicians and the majority of commentators in all the mainstream press, I think we should have just left them to it and I definitely think we should at the next big one, if only to prove a point. The lack of assertive action in containing a crowd that had violent intent has made the Op Commanders in Brighton look likes dicks and has caused the guys and girls on the ground to get more grief and suffer attack for the SMT's fear of looking bad on youtube and on Newsnight.

If you were one of the officers there then let me know how you think it went compared to G20 as I know there were a lot of teams from all over the place with us at Bank, so the comparison would be nice, especially so close to the last one.

There hasn't been much coverage on the news yet, but here's a couple of snippets about today's festivities down in sunny Brighton.

Fitwatch -

FIT teams have been forced to retreat from the Smasho EDO/ITT demo in Brighton. Due to a large number of participants engaging in Fitwatch tactics, they are not able to get any footage. People have physically pushed, shoved and kicked them out of the demo. A mobile CCTV van was blocked and forced to drive away. Two FIT officers trying to stop someone from doing graffiti were pushed away.This shows what can happen when we collectively resist our oppression. We no longer have to be passive victims to this policing - we can fight back and we can shut them down.

Congratulations to all those involved in Brighton and good luck for the rest of the day.

Indymedia -

After meeting by the Palace Pier, the protest moved through the centre of Brighton cheering and chanting. Four young anarchists climbed to the top of the Barclays building, where they hung a banner reading “Arms Dealers Out Of Brighton’. Barclays is notorious for being one of the banks most complicit in the international arms trade. The people responsible for the banner were welcomed into the crowd as heroes, and avoided arrest. After passing peacefully past the Clock tower, down Queens Road and through North Laine, the protest clashed with police on London Road.

A heavy police presence blocked part of the road outside McDonalds, and minor scuffles quickly escalated as mounted and riot police forced through crowds to protect the building. A smoke-bomb lit by protesters, combined with a push forward from mounted police, frightened shoppers and nearly split the protest in two.

From then on, the protest became a game of cat-and-mouse - although it was sometimes hard to tell who was the cat and who the mouse. Protesters managed to force back mounted police several times, while police hastily re-grouped around the protest as it moved into residential districts and through Preston Park. However, neither protesters nor police seemed to have a plan as such, and after much walking and a few minor scuffles - including the arrest of one man by riot police - the protest moved back into the town centre. On the seafront, for the first time in the day the police attempted to ‘kettle’ protesters by surrounding them on all sides.

However, protesters quickly skirted down onto the beach and back onto the road behind police lines. The protest moved on peacefully and, after more skirting through narrow lanes and moving around police lines, settled on the grass outside St. Peter’s Church to dance and relax.

Daily Mail -

A May Day protest descended into violence today as anti-war demonstrators clashed with police in Brighton, where thousands of visitors had flocked to enjoy the bank holiday.
Three police officers were injured after scuffles with mask-wearing activists who organised a march through the city's streets. One man was arrested.
At one point activists climbed up scaffolding onto the roof of a Barclays bank branch and unfurled a banner as part of the protest against an arms factory in the city. Graffiti was scrawled on windows and paint bombs were pelted at buildings marked out on an ‘anti-militarist’ map that included more than 30 banks and businesses.
The American Express building, police stations and several McDonald's restaurants were targeted.

Protesters chanted 'Whose streets? Our streets' as they marched through the city, while police officers on horseback cleared the way ahead of them.
Organisers had instructed protesters to wear red, but many wore black with masks covering their faces, which they said was a stand against the country's surveillance society.
Daytrippers and tourists, many down for the launch weekend of the Brighton Festival, were forced to run into back streets for cover as the crowd surged through the busiest streets and police tried to cut them off.A police spokesman said: 'The protestors having been attempting to target some premises and there have been some flash points of violence.
'Missiles have been thrown at police officers and police horses by the demonstrators.
'Three officers have suffered minor injuries - I do not believe they need hospital treatment. The group of 500 or so is still moving around the city.'
Activists from peace campaign group Smash EDO were protesting against EDO MBM Technology, an arms factory in Brighton.


Police have criticised May Day anti-war protesters for pelting officers with missiles and causing criminal damage. Sussex Police said three people were arrested, including one for assaulting an officer, amid some violent scuffles during the demonstration in Brighton.
Police say three officers suffered minor injuries like twists and sprains.
Campaign group Smash EDO, which wants local arms factory EDO MBM Technology closed, organised the protest which it described as a "huge success".

Smash EDO estimated about 1,000 protesters had gathered on Monday, but Sussex Police said it was about 500.

Brighton and Hove City Commander, Chief Supt Graham Bartlett, said: "Once again... we have seen unjustified acts of violence aimed at premises and police officers.
"Members of public including many visitors to the city have been clearly frightened and intimidated by a small minority of the group who have been verbally abusive, and throwing missiles at police.

Sussex Police said three officers were slightly hurt and three people arrested
"One member of the public was struck in the face by a missile and had to be treated by a police medical team." Police also criticised organisers for not telling them how many protesters were expected and what route they would take. Protests began with a street party in front of the Palace Pier before moving through the city centre and on to the factory to the north of the city. A small number of demonstrators surged towards officers in riot gear and flares were let off. And one small group scaled scaffolding in front of a branch of Barclays Bank and unfurled a banner.

Later groups of protesters gathered in the grounds of St Peter's Church and listened to music.
A number of others returned to the pier where they were surrounded by police in riot gear.
Smash EDO spokeswoman Chloe Marsh said the day was a "huge success".
"Large crowds arrived on foot and on bikes, bringing sound-systems, banners and a carnival dragon," she said. At least 30 protesters had reported injuries and some were struck with batons by officers concealing their identity numbers, she said. The march was a larger version of a demonstration regularly staged against EDO MBM Technology. The weapons manufacturer has never commented on the protests.

Lets see how many 'Police brutality' stories come out and short clips hit Youtube.

Same shit, different day.