M26 pics and report continued (2of2) - into nightTagged as: 26march cuts ukuncut
continuation of pics and report on london's 'day of rage'. first part can be found here
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part one here ............
police numbers built up, and 'fortnum and masons' was officially closed for business. as the remaining occupiers slowly emerged over a long period of time, they were taken into the side street, handcuffed, arrested, searched, processed, and eventually put onto coaches to various police stations where they were held well into the next day.
a couple of units of riot cops passed through the piccadilly crowds, and scuffles broke out as people taunted them and surrounded them. also, another black bloc group managed to attack several banks, as well as the ritz hotel. as the huge front pane of a santander branch caved in under a battering with a metal railing, the crowd cheered, and the press got their money shots before the riot police moved in.
more police were blocking the end of the road at piccadilly circus, but large numbers of protestors escaped up a side road to regent street. more riot police flooded into the area in front of the store from the south, and set up a reverse kettle, clearing the area in front of 'fortnum and mason' and moving the crowds away in two directions, also kettling some in the process.
in piccadilly circus, riot police protected the barclays and boots branches, but people were drifting down to trafalgar square where fires glowed, a sound system played, and rhythms of resistance provided samba entertainment.
the party in the square carried on for a couple of hours without incident, while small groups continued actions around the west end, setting street fires alight, and targetting casinos and other symbols of decadence.
meanwhile back at piccadilly, the last of the occupiers were still being processed in the street at 8pm, and police were inspecting the damage to the various banks outlets and the ritz hotel.
up at hyde park, the overnight occupation amd peace camp had established itself. unfortunately, tahrir square it wasn't, and there were fewer than a hundred people, a couple of dozen tents and a large marquee, scattered around camp fires in the park. but everyone there seemed to be having fun. there was also another small party and sound system at the south gates to the park. but the hilton park lane, and buckingham palace (both sites planned for after-parties), seemed to have only invited the cops, who didn't seem to be in party mood. parliament square was also quiet, and lorries were collecting the large sand-bags used as ballast for the security fences along whitehall in front of government buildings.
although there was little sign of the planned homeless sleep-in at trafalgar square, the party was still going strong. police numbers appeared to be building up though, and a little before ten o clock, dozens of riot vans charged down to the square as revellers had a little attempt at setting fire to the olympic countdown clock.
suddenly, more than a hundred fully-kitted riot police flooded into the area, and beat back protestors while snatching some. more police moved in from the south, and also along the upper area in front of the national gallery from the west. some people ran to the north-east corner of the square and were helped to escape the impending kettle by people hauling them up over the walls, but probably around a couple of hundred were trapped by a massive police operation. those inside the kettle put on a short but impressive firework display.
the cordon spread outwards too, with familiar lines forming at junctions in a tried and tested formula. worryingly, more and more units of riot police ran into the cordons fully kitted out for trouble, even though police already outnumbered those kettled.
one police support unit, the men in black, went running round to duncannon street. by the time i caught up, there was a small cordon keeping people back from a man who lay unconscious on his back on the ground. as memories of ian tomlinson came to me, i asked around for witnesses and found a group of boys who said that the man had been hitting some plastic dustbins with a stick, and that the cops had chased round the corner, attacked him from behind, and knocked him to the ground where he lay motionless. there was a legal observer there, so i connected him with the witnesses.
meanwhile, towards the strand, another scuffle was breaking out, and a small group of PSUs were surrounded by a crowd as they tried to make an arrest. panicking, they struck out at people with batons before roughly hauling their catch away to the 'safety' of the group near the fallen man.
dozens more police were filling the area from the east along the strand, and hundreds of people were running for charing cross station to make their escape. i was briefly kettled but managed to blag my way out before the cordon tightened, and then lines and lines of police closed the strand completely.
some people spoke to trapped friends on mobiles, and i heard reports of beatings in the square, riot police rampaging through the station, and many sickening reports of ambulances and injuries.
mainstream reports confirmed at least 80 injured and more than 200 arrests.
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