G20 Direct Action: April 1stTagged as: g20 social_struggles
Published by group: Imc London Features
The day started with a big banner reading Smash Capitalism hung near Tower Bridge and a Critical Mass bike protest. Despite hysterical media coverage thousands of people took to the streets occupying the square outside the Bank Of England. The G20 Meltdown Party saw people flood the area, some avoiding attempts by police to prevent them reaching the Bank. Amidst an escalating police operation banners were hung, graffiti sprayed, effigies burnt and RBS invaded to chants of "Whose Bank, Our Bank!".
With riot police encircling thousands there were repeated attempts to push through police lines and indiscriminate police baton charges leading to many injuries, several serious. Later in the evening it emerged that a man had died after collapsing inside the police cordons near the Bank of England. Later identified as Ian Tomlinson, it was unclear what had happened to him [Eyewitness statement]
One major break out from the police lines saw scuffles spreading across the city as the streets were filled with protestors and police rushing to block them. Horses, dogs, and cs spray were all used. Despite the streets of the City of London being occupied by protestors very little property damage occurred with the surrounding shops left untouched and HSBC getting one window smashed.
Meanwhile just around the corner, the Climate Camp occupied the street outside the Carbon Exchange on Bishopsgate, erecting tents, kitchens, toilets, bunting, banners and barricades. With music and workshops running through the afternoon, a mostly relaxed fun atmosphere prevailed with people committed to taking direct action to tackle climate change and the financial system behind it.
Without provocation or warning at around 7pm riot police attacked the southern end of the Climate Camp, repeatedly battoning people who held their hands up in the air as a sign of not resisting. After several hours where people within the camp were singing and dancing riot police again started advancing, first clearing the streets adjacent to the camp. At midnight riot police aggressively swept through the peaceful camp dispersing the protestors. Despite this the camp said: "We will not be deterred. Climate change is the most urgent issue in the world, and our movement is growing stronger all of the time". See important update from Climate Camp about lost property and prisonner support.
Many actions and clashes took place throughout the day - for full a full account of events reported to Indymedia see the Full Timeline below.
As one protestor put it: "Today we reclaimed the square mile. We did what we said we would do and the police didn't stop us. It was a bloody battle in places, they were way too aggressive, but we did it."
G20 Meltdown: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 |
Climate Camp: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | amelia's photostory
Climate Camp's website Photo Galleries: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 |
Critical Mass and other events: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |
The Boston Globe photo gallery
G20 Protest n Japan on YouTube
Timeline of Events:
01:50 ClimateCamp Twitter reports "Street empty. They beat us out and squashed our tents. But oh what a world we created! Shame on the powers that be."
01:50: Police report 87 arrests.
01:20 Reports that Climate Camp has been evicted by police - people pushed back and beaten, wondering how to retrieve their belongings.
00:30 - Climate Camp participants have been making speeches to the police about why they have been taking action today [Pics and Report].
00:20 - Reports from Climate Camp of police using boltcutters to dismantle the bike barricade whilst there is now nothing to stop them coming in from the North. People just sang Happy Birthday en masse to a girl despite police at either end.
Earlier reports of riot police beating peaceful people at Southern end of Climate Camp, following fun Celidh dance at southern perimiter. People thinking the police will let them leave if they wish.
23:55 Climate Camp - Police are now moving from south to north pushing people out of the space occupied by the climate camp, and it's clearing out fast. About 500 people are left at this point.
23:45 - Peole are still being pursued and were last seen turning in Shoreditch High Street towards Hackney.
23:28 - Climate Camp: Crowd pushed past Liverpool Street as a group are chased at speed pursued by police dogs and vans. At least one arrest.
23:20 - Reports from Climate Camp of police beating people back away from Southern perimiter towards Liverpool Street.
23:18 - Climate Camp: Letting people out from South side opposite Liverpool St. Lots of police charging, Bottles being thrown from outside camp towards charging cops
22:48 - About 2000 people in Climate Camp Kettle, police want to impose a section 14 and ID everyone. They're looking to force people out through the North two at a time. There are police massing at the South End, Due to the amount of campers that does currently not seem feasible.
22:36 - Mainstream Media report that a man collapsed and died at the protest. We have not yet been able to confirm this.
22:20 - Climate Camp: Up to a thousand people remain inside the besiged camp. The police have said that they will allow people to leave, but will take names and addresses of everyone who does so. There's been a camp meeting but no consensus has been reached on what to do. Generally there is still a positive atmosphere amonst the peaceful demonstrators.
21:35 - Climate Camp: A photographer was taken to one side by police and threatened under anti-terror legislation that he was not allowed to take pictures of police "engaged in their duty." Police confiscated his camera and attempted to delete all the photographs he'd taken. The photographer pulled out another camera to film them doing this, and was threatened again, but police then returned the first camera.
21:27 - Climate Camp: the riot police have marched through the sit-down protest without attacking and reinforced the cop cordon on the north side of the climate camp. There are now 3 lines of cops there.
21:19 - Climate Camp: on the north side of the climate camp, outside the kettle, 100 riot police are lining up and looking as if they will attack/evict the peaceful demonstrators.
21:03 - Climate Camp: Snatch arrest squads in operation on South side of Camp
20:50 - London Bridge: Police have cleared London Bridge
20:42 - Climate Camp: There is now a sit down protest in front of the police vans and lines blocking traffic on Wormwood St being held in solidarity with the climate campers currently trapped by police. Still a party atmosphere with lots of music within the climate camp kettle
20:37 - Climate Camp: Reports that the police now intend to keep campers for two hours and then allow them to leave in groups of twenty
20:36 - Bank: People are being let out of the kettle at Bank one by one, no more stop and searches.
20:30 - Climate Camp: Camp meetings are taking place at south and north perimeters, finding a concensus to decide what they do now.
20:23 - London Bridge taken by protestors
20:20 - Climate Camp: On the South side of the camp, two people have shimmied their way up a wall along and over the police line and dropped down into the camp, to great cheers from the kettled in crowd [pics].
20:15 - Bank: - People at Bank of England are only being allowed to leave the kettle after being stopped and searched and having their picture taken.
19:53 - Bank: At Bank of England, about 500 people were surrounded by riot police for over an hour. Many demonstrators tried to negotiate with the police to leave the kettle. Some small fires were lit inside the kettle.
19:43 - Climate camp: Between 10 and 30 arrests at climate camp as people attempt to non-violently prevent the police from destroying sections of the camp. Bikes thrown around, tents smashed up, several injuries reported.
19:30 - Climate Camp: Is blocked both ends and police have indicated that they intend to keep people there for an hour
19:20 - Bank: Ongoing scuffles between protestors and riot police. Two arrests of street theatre performers for impersonating police officers.
19:15 - Climate Camp: Police have attacked on the South Side of the camp, indiscriminately beating people who are holding their hands up. Police claim it is to contain the camp as many parts of the city are out of control. [report1 | 2]
18:57 Climate Camp: Police mobilising at both ends of the Climate Camp, moving riot police up to the edges of the barracades.
18:35 - G20 Meltdown: Riot police have charged into the crowd at Mansion Hs from Lombard St. Reports of indiscriminate violence against the crowd and several injuries. Passers by have also been caught in the charges.
17:55 - UEL: The University of East London alternative summit is on, albeit outside.
17:54 - Climate Camp: Riot police are taking positions at the north end of the Climate Camp, building a police line. People in the camp are getting concerned that they will be penned in.
16:54 - General reports coming in of protesters all over the city, enjoying the empty streets.
16.49 - Someone has been beaten badly by a police baton charge near Canon Street (which is round the corner from Queen Victoria Street) according to a lasthours tweet.
16:45 - Climate Camp: One arrest from the line of protesters in front of the police.
16:35 - HSBC windows smashed on East Cheap. Large crowd now at Fenchurch Street and slowly dispersing around the north of the city.
16:31 - A Sky news camera man has been injured by police when the riot police charged at Queen Victoria St and police slammed his camera onto his face. Also, three people have superglued themselves to the entrance of Tesco on Old BroadSt, to protest against multinationals taking over the highstreet. The shop is now being blockaded.
16:26 - Queen Victoria St and Queen St: Large group of protesters of several hundred people, area heading towards Canon street. A group4 security van was forced to turnround, fleeing the crowd, to chants of "Who's streets, our streets"
16:21 - Climate Camp: Still fluffy and fun, all mainsteam media have left [Pics]
16:20 - Bank: The crowd at Bank is now much smaller, as the police have been letting people out - a few hundred people are left in a very tight cordon of riot and mounted police.
15:56 - Queen Victoria St and Queen St: Large group kettled in, with more riot police joining cordon around them. Riot police still pushing the crowd back in variuos directions, Crowd chanting: "who's streets - our streets" and "Shame on you", And every few minutes the crowd is attempting to break the police line but being beaten back.
15:30 - Jobs Not Bombs March: Arriving in Trafalgar Square, up to 1000 people.
15:20 - Climate Camp: Still going Strong, over 2000 people and 150 tents, described as a hugely impressive infrastructure. There are theatre performances, compost toilets, a medical tent, a couple of working kitchens, with many people picnicing there. The camp has been attracting passers by and city workers. There are police lines on either side of the camp but people are allowed in and out. Plenty of dancing and banners across the street.
15:14 - Queen Victoria St and Queen St: A couple of hundred riot police are getting shields out of vans and are starting to push crowds back.
15:07 - Queen Victoria St and Queen St: 60 people have sat down in front of police vans, blocking them. There is a sound system here too. Other police are trying to push the crowd back towards Bank.
15:04 - Bank: Horse mounted riot police now forming a line near RBS and Bank of England on Threadneedle Street. Some police lines who were in normal uniforms around the Bank of England are now changing into riot gear.
14.56 - Bank: Large crowd left the Bank of England and went down queen victoria street. It wasn't clear if the cordon was moved or the police opened it. Vanloads of riot police deployed to stop them, attacking the demonstrators.
14:52 - Bank: Police have been keeping people penned up on Poultry near the Bank of England for the last while. Demonstrators have now broken out of the pen through police lines towards the west.
14.34 - Bank: Police reinforcing lines at Bank - an inner ring of riot police and an outer ring of normal police officers. Some people are trapped and want to get out and get to UEL for the alternative summit at 16:00.
14.22 - Bank: There is still a large crowd at Bank - cordoned off in a police pen, with no one allowed in or out. At RBS Bank nearby, Bartholomew Street police are violently attacking the tightly-packed crowd.
14.15 - Climate Camp: The camp is relaxed with games, food, speeches and school kids enjoying the reclaimed space.
13:50 - G20 Meltdown: Police trampled over people sitting on the ground peacefully with riot police on horses. A guy's flute was kicked away from him since it could be "used as a weapon". One imc reporter reports being thrown to the ground, punched and kicked by a police officer, with the cop shouting "It's a shame isn't it" as he continued to kick.
13:47 - G20 Meltdown: Bartholomew Lane - Royal Bank of Scotland. 50 cops on horses and 60/70 riot cops + FIT are there. Meanwhile, protestors are inside the RBS branch, and it's being smashed up, but the cops are not intervening.
13:46 - G20 Meltdown: Bank of England - Banner being raised: 'So many battles against the system and finally it ends by itself', another saying 'Stop trading with our future'.
13.45 - G20 Meltdown: RBS Bank surounded on Threadneedle street, reports of one window smashed, and orange smoke canister let off.
13.33 - G20 Meltdown: Tactical withdrawal of police line up Princess street - some bottles thrown, another police line and riot police remain, with the crowd chanting "let us out". Two arrests outside magistrates court, initial arrest was because someone spoke in a 'foreign accent', Many people witnessing the event were pushed over and assaulted by FIT officers (sh104 sh660).
13.31 - G20 Meltdown: Clashes on Threadneedle St, caused by police cordon maintained for no apparent reason, Seior officers declined to give reasons for cordon when asked, police medics seen reaching over lines of colleges to beat protesters.
13.30 - G20 Meltdown: At least 3 people arrested in Queen Victoria St, legal observers present.
13:25 - Climate Camp: Two violent arrest have taken place at the edge of the Camp and put into police vans parked outside the Climate Exchange,
13:20 - G20 Meltdown: Riot police vans have moved in at Threadneedle St, police in full riot gear have moved into the crowd, Legal Advisers are being shouted at by cops, before the call stopped we could hear a lot of shouting and a voice saying "police are moving in".
13:10 - Climate Camp: Around 1000 people are now at the Camp. Bishopsgate is closed and police have formed half cordon across Wormwood St preventing traffic from moving west.
13:00 - G20 Meltdown: Minor scuffles between police and protesters are reported at Bank. Meanwhile the Climate Camp has been set up and the kitchen is up and running outside 64 Bishopsgate: "Share and enjoy samosas for social change and cake for corporate collapse! - Love and lentils".
12:30 - Climate Camp: At least thirty tents have already gone up outside the the Climate Exchange in Bishopsgate with a crowd of around 500 people setting up the camp's infrastructure.A big banner has been hung up reading 'Nature Doesn't Do Bail Outs'. The Critical Mass sound system has already arrived in there, and although there is a heavy police presence in the area, the atmosphere is good and people seem to be waving from the offices windows.
12:15 - G20 Meltdown: All streets around Bank have now been closed. A large crowd is still surrounded there at one end of the square, but a group of around 50 masked up people have managed to break through the police lines and heading up Corn Hill. Other reports confirm that police have opened a pen in the opposite side of the crowd and people are able to leave the pen. There are a couple of sound systems and a good party atmosphere.
12:12 - Space Hijackers: 10 of them have been arrested under Section 19 of the Police Act for 'impersonating the police' outside News International. They have been taken to the West End central police station.
12:05 - Critical Mass: Has now ended at the north end of Tower Bridge. Before dispersing they tried to get the Space Hijackers tank unstuck but they were unsuccseful. The Critical Mass sound system is now moving on and planning to join up with the Climate Camp's action later on [Critical Mass report].
12:00 - G20 Meltdown: The Green Climate Chaos march from Liverpool Street is in Princess St where police have tried to pen them in, but most people have managed to break through. Bank tube station is now closed.
11:40 - G20 Meltdown: A group of around 150 people have managed to escape the police pen outside Cannon Street and they are now doing a spontaneous demo around the City. They are moving very fast and police are running behind trying to catch up with them.
11:30 - G20 Meltdown: Around 50 people are outside Cannon Station from the Black Land Enclosure march with one of the four Apocalypse horses. They have been completely surrrounded by police.
11:30 - G20 Meltdown: Liverpool Street Green march has now managed to move down Bishopsgate. It is made of around 400 people and police have been unable to stop them from moving.
11:23 - G20 Meltdown: One lane in London Bridge is now completely blocked.
11:20 - G20 Meltdown: Around 500 people are now marching towards the Bank of England from London Bridge. The front banner of the march reads 'Capitalism Isn't Working'.
11:15 - Critical Mass: Is now at Tower Bridge with a sound system.
11:10 - G20 Meltdown: People at Liverpool Street Green Eco march are being prevented by police from marching towards Bishopsgate.
11:55 - G20 Meltdown: Several groups of people have now converged at Bank forming a big crowd. Police are trying to surround them. Reports of individuals being stopped and searched by police all around the area.
11:45 - G20 Meltdown: A group of around 1.500 people from the Silver Financial Crimes march have now crossed London Bridge and are now moving down King William street. Police are flanking them on both sides preventing people from breaking off and moving into surrounding streets. The march is very loud, it has a brass band, a 'capitalism coffin', and banners reading 'Where is Our Democracy?' and 'Democracy Is A Sham'.
11:02 - G20 Meltdown: 15 police vans have arrived at London Bridge, and the first Apocalypse horse has emerged. There is a large crowd of several hundred people. It is currently all quiet.
10:53 - G20 Meltdown: People are gathering at London Bridge for the Silver Financial Crimes march. Police FIT teams taking photos of protesters.
10:45 - Factory Occupations: Car parts factory in Enfield owned by a company called Visteon has been occupied by workers this morning, as they arrived for work and they were told that the company had gone bust. A factory in Belfast owned by the same company has been under workers occupation for the last two days.
10:40: People with the 'tank' have been ordered to go down Bishopsgate and they are sorrounded by two police vans.
10:30: The Space Hijackers have turned up outside the RBS with an 'police armoured vehicle' with lots of CCTV cameras on top. The vehicle hasn't been able to move towards Bishopsgate because police has stopped it and are now conducting a thorough search.
10:10am - Critical Mass: The bike ride starting to move from outside the RBS, No police escort so far.
9:30am - Climate Camp : Around 100 police have taken positions inside the Climate Exchange building. Crash barriers have also been erected outside the Bank of England. Reports of police FIT teams outside the Convergence Centre at Earls St and outside The Foundry pub in Shoreditch.
9:15 - Critical Mass: Around 50 cyclists starting to gather outside Bank of England for the critical mass cycle ride.
8:40: Banner dropped at Kingsway reading 'Nature Doesn't Do Bailouts'.
6:25: A huge banner reading 'Smash Capitalism' has appeared on the Thames next to Tower Bridge.
The Camp for Climate Action is promoting the idea that the failed economic system hasn't just created the financial crisis, it's responsible for the climate crisis. They say that trying to tackle climate change with market instruments like carbon trading would hand control of the climate system over to the same bankers, brokers and private traders who caused the financial collapse, and that we need a radically different economy not based on endless growth. They point out that we will not be able to ‘bailout the climate' in the way that governments have had to bailout banks.
Contact email: https://london.indymedia.org.uk/articles/951