March 26th: Roundup of events

Tagged as: 26march cuts demo2011 social_struggles solidarity ukuncut workers_struggles
Neighbourhoods: hyde_park london mayfair westminster
Published by group: GroupCuts Reporting

300 - 500 thousand people marched through central London on March 26th. The demonstrators protested against government austerity measures which force the bulk of the population, and especially public sector workers, to pay for the economic crisis which erupted out of the banking sector two years ago.

Most of the demonstrators - trade unionists, families, and people against the austerity measures - took part in the officially-sanctioned TUC demonstration that made its way from Embankment to Hyde Park. In addition, many groups signaled their willingness to do more than march, with protest actions being called for by multiple groups. Fast-moving direct action groups moved through London's West End, the high-class shopping district. They spent some time smashing in windows and paintbombing symbolic buildings. Others did non-violent sit-ins at corporate targets which have been identified as tax-dodgers or in some way responsible for the economic crisis. Fortnum and Mason was occupied by protestors in a UKuncut action [video] that followed the closure and occupation of multiple shops and banks in Oxford Street [video round-up]. 149 people were arrested following the occupation. The day ended with a stand off and kettle in Trafalgar Sq after hundreds of riot police attacked the crowd that was partying in the square. The total number of arrests for the day stands at 202.

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Timeline of Events | Tumblewire Updates


Pic: WackyWace (

Youth in Revolt

The marching horse from the south London feeder march

A placcard summing up the day

10:30pm update: Police now trying to clear the area of Trafalgar Square using large numbers and force, pushing people around into the road traffic. Snatch squads opporating in the area grabbing targeted individuals. Trafalgar square itself is more or less kettled, with more and more police arriving. Scuffles and arrests go on into the early hours.

8:30pm update: Things are winding down. Several hundred people are still partying in Oxford Circus, Picadilly Circus, and Trafalgar Square, as police look on.  The UkUncut demonstrators who have been occupying the Fortnum and Mason department store since this afternoon have been surrounded by police, arrested, handcuffed, searched and shipped off in coaches [tumblepic | more]. About 150 people are currently setting up to camp out in Hyde Park.

6pm Update - Police clash violently with protesters on Piccadilly and are starting to kettle people, more police headed that way. A Santander and Lloyds TSB have be targeted along with the Ritz Hotel and many other banks and shops. There have been reports of a young man receiving treatment for a head injury outside Fortnum and Mason, as people fight to defend their ground, police respond with heavy truncheon blows. In contrast, a ukuncut member inside F&M says that the atmoshere inside the building is calm and peaceful. A tent has been put up in trafalgar square, as large numbers of people gather. The end of the march finally reaches Hyde Park, illustrating the scale of the protest today. Numerous battles with police continue in Picadilly, where fires are also started in the street [tumblepic | video].

5.30pm update: The Metropolitan police have made claims on their twitter feed that ammonia filled lightbulbs have been thrown at them by protesters, there are no other sources confirming this. (update). UKuncut have confirmed that protesters have been peacefully "occupying Fortnum & Mason over the tax dodge of over 40 million by its owners Whittington Investments", the protesters have been kettled by police, and it has been suggested that around 100 police officers have been moving towards the area, with 3 police vans sighted in the street behind F&M. Peter Tatchel has spoken out in support of the protest saying "Cameron and Clegg won't listen unless we rebel and resist." BBC have reported live, that a riot police officer punched a woman in the face. There have been 13 arrests so far, and a dancing Dalek in Trafalgar Square [video]. The TUC speeches have now ended in Hyde Park.

5pm Update: Samba band in picadilly circus. Cops ordered to put helmets on. Police vans moved out of the circus, as the police report 4 police officers injured. 13 people arrested for criminal damage and public order offences. The Guardian is reporting kettling in Fortnum and Masons worse places to be kettled given the sell hampers... Strong street party is going on outside Fortnum & Masons with a sound system [video]. Police trying to keep the crowd back, having skirmishes at the edges of the crowd. At least 150 have managed to get into the shop hanging out UK Uncut and Anarchist flags out of the first floor windows. Reports that the trojan horse is on fire in the middle of Oxford Circus as prosters march away with a large sound system. Images of top protest signs here.

Upate 4.30: To emphasise the point of the protest, the Samba group is marching towards Oxford Circus with a coffin to represent the funeral for public services we are faced with. Oxford circus sit-in and street party still happening, with a few thousand people there with the horse right at the centre [video]. 30 police vans have arrived to the north of Oxford Circus, 6 have arrived to the west. Some experienced people on the street are saying that they think a kettle appears likely. Tactical Support Group (TSG) is active in the area. 13 shops have successfully targeted in Oxford Street. Paint bombs have been launched at the Apple Store on Regent Street. A few thousand protesters are still partying at the Oxford Circus sit-in. Hundreds have occupied swanky food and drink superstore Fortnum and Mason, some chanting 'You can stick your royal wedding up your arse!' Red and black flags are being waved outside the store's windows, where protesters are creatively opposing the multi-million pound tax dodgers.

4pm Update - Around 200 people are running through Audley Street, launching missles at the police - reportedly the police have their truncheons out and are using them. The Metropolitan Police have suggested that 14 protesters have been injured - 12 with minor injuries and two with non-life threatening injuries. Near the US Embassy on South Ordley Street, the police have instigated a baton charge. Bolton Street has been blocked by police lines. From Berkley Square to Oxford Street, protesters have smashed the windows of The Mayfair hotel, Starbucks, HSBC and a Porsche showroom.

3.30pm: The Ritz in Piccadilly is being pummelled by protesters: paint bombs launched and windows smashed [pics | video]. Ed Milliband has spoken at the rally in Hyde Park; he told crowds that the Government's cuts are too deep. Vast majority of protesters have remained peaceful, despite violent clashes along Shaftesbury Avenue and West End. Flares and fireworks have been let off on the corner of Arlington Street and Piccadilly, with one police office lightly injured and one or two protesters arrested. Tens of thousands are still arriving at Hyde Park, while the march continues to tail back to central London and actions are happening all around. Attempts have been made to move to the Hilton hotel in Green Park. Shops shutting down and down Oxford Street. A skirmish broke out outside Carphone Warehouse on Oxford Street. Police are in riot gear in Hyde Park.Figures estimating the numbers at the protest have risen to half a million. See earlier pics from Piccadilly.

3pm: 100-150 Blac Block covered police cars in paint and fighting with police on Shaftsbury avenue. Tesco on Dean Street shut down by sit-down protestors [tumblepic]. People have paint bombed Boots chemist on Oxford Street. Hundreds still arriving at Trafalgar Square. Windows at Ann Summers in Soho have been smashed - 'Fight Sexism' has been daubed on the windows too. Police lines are forming a kettle at Piccadilly Circus. Meanwhile, police are experiencing tactical difficulties as Black Bloc begin to rejoin march at Piccadilly Circus. Lloyds bank on Sackville Street has been smashed. Large crowds at MacDonalds on Shaftesbury Avenue outnumber police. All major shops on Oxford Street shut.

2.30pm: Ukuncut protestors have been closing shops along Oxford Street [pics]. The Black Bloc have broken through police lines at Bond Street, corner of Gerrard Place and Shaftesbury Avenue, 100-150 black bloc fighting with cops, stuff flying through the air, police vehicles have been paint-bombed and graffitied [pics]. Topshop in Oxford Circus has been closed. Windows been smashed and paint bombs have been deployed. HSBC on Charing Cross road has had its windows smashed, paint all over the fit team's cameras report. Over 500,000 people estimated present at protest.

2pm: The diversity of people on the protest means that this cannot be considered simply a 'trade union march' or the 'usual suspects' this is a broad cross-section of British society, with the possible exception of the super rich. Further updates: Black Block have broken though police lines in Regent St [video] and reports of a large police presence protecting tax avoider Phillip Green's Topshops from UKUncut.

1.30pm Update: As well as the main march, smaller decentralised actions have started to appear. Reports coming in that a McDonalds in Leicester Square has been occupied. The radical workers block has been chanting outside Downing St. Other blocs including Pink and Black have met and are now marching.

1pm Update: Estimates on the numbers of people on the march exceed the predictions in the media which went from 100,000 to 300,000; the number being passed around is now 450,000. While the march has set off, numbers are so great that many gathered at the main march assembly area in Embankment have yet to move off. The south London feeder march from Kennington grew to around 4000 people, including many anti-cuts local groups, the Militant Workers bloc, and the infamous horse. Legal advise billboards have been seen on the route.

11.30am Thousands have gathered at the main march assembly area in Embankment. Meanwhile around 2000 are at Kennington park [pics] and smaller groups have been assembling at different locations to march to the main march or to other feeder events.

The south london feeder march set off at around 11.40am