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Carnival For Full Enjoyment Contained By Police: Locals Attack Them Later On In The Evening (G8 4/7)

category international | summit mobilisations | feature author Tuesday July 05, 2005 21:09author by IMC Éire foreign correspondent Report this post to the editors

Report Back From 4th July Events In Edinburgh: "Fuck off out of our country ya radge bastards!"

Mounties tell crowd to turn left A long day. I overslept slightly and cycled into town just on the dot of midday, as a pink samba band were being followed by a phalanx of riot cops with shields, and mounties (horses also accessorised for the occasion). Today was the "Carnival for Full Enjoyment", and a lot of rumours and whispers had been going around that this was "the one to watch". I generally thought this was police hype, so I didnt add to it in last nights report. Even a non-political friend of mine in Edinburgh was asking me if this was going to be the really violent demo of the week, and how everyone in her workplace was talking about it, and the management in her cafe were wondering if they should board up the windows or not...

High tech police spy.  In action all day. The pink drummers tried to march one way and were turned back, so headed off West quite quickly, leaving a load of people to run up behind them. This was right on the dot of midday and I thought it was a bit foolish to be marching off so fast, considering a lot of people probably hadnt arrived at the meetup point yet. As it happened, the carnival was split in two, with the other group heading east on Princes St on their own, where they had their own fun and games reportedly. The Clown Army were in some other part of town doing their thing, and were met with huge amounts of Police surrounding them.

Clown Army tries unsuccesfully to calm crowd down So a group of around 400, possibly a quarter of which was made up of rubberneckers, hangers-on, mainstream journalists and other assorted non-combatants, marched for approximately 20 minutes before being shepherded away from their intended direction by four mounties blocking the road. The march went on for a bit and then rounded a corner towards an office block. I assumed that this one was of the places marked out on some pre-determined trail, possibly with some links to business. The street was narrow and there was cops at both ends...

Did I neglect to mention how many Police there were? There were lots. Hundreds. Thousands possibly. Very in your face, lots of evidence gatherers, with extremely hi-tech equipment, taking pictures of people masked up and being quite physical about it. They followed the march as much as they could with as many people. There were police from everywhere following the demonstration, including from Manchester, Humberside, Merseyside and the London Met.

Locals ram cops with dumpsterSo now we were in Cannon Street. The march had stopped and the band were playing, and... the Police saw their chance to hem the crowd in. Which is what they did. They raised (or whatever the correct verb is) the now infamous 'Section 60' which, not being overly familiar with UK law, is something to do with detaining a crowd that the police feel will be troublesome. There were a couple of exerted attempts to break through the police line, with lots of pushing, and even a silver car starting rolling at one point which really freaked out the cops; but despite wavering and staggering they held their line. They were all very fit, very well trained, and they had so many reinforcements, they were able to replace the line every so often, so others could go and have a piss and some food.

The Section 60 is a very, very demoralising and exhausting tactic on demonstrators, and obviously the Police know it. Rubberneckers and journos start asking to leave, and eventually the Police opened up a small gap, allowing one person out every five minutes or so. Each person leaving had to consent to being filmed, searched, questioned and ID'd. People queued up to leave, so the crowd got smaller, and the energy was sucked out of the demo.

The Police corralled the group for the guts of four hours, and then moved in. They picked out people and arrested them, with the spotters from earlier indicating who to get. A couple of Irish people who had been masked up were singled out, but none were arrested. According to UK IMC, 3 street medics were arrested; I saw one being grabbed and put into a paddy wagon (maybe they're not called that over here). I was also picked out of the people who the police had lined up on the path against the office block, and was searched and questioned before being ordered to leave.

After this I went back to the IMC Centre with the intention of getting my video footage up, but I was knackered and had to eat and relax. After a bite to eat and a beer, I headed up to St Johns Church where a group called Docspace were hosting a debate/panel entitled 'media vs. Indymedia'. There wasnt much of a debate however, it was mostly independent media makers on the panel talking about the work they did, and how independent media was great. Of course I fully agreed (of course), but it didnt make for a very lively discussion. There were many issues that could have been raised but the questions were mostly of a "what do you think of Michael Moore" type. I guess it would have been interesting to people who were new to the idea/scene. It gave me a chance to lie down on some nice cushioned pews, which I needed.

So I came out of the discussion with the intention of heading back to Muirhouse, and looked east, back up Princes St. A row of yellow jackets in the distance and police lights. This was 8pm. There arent -still- people coralled in from earlier on, are there? I cycled up and it was hard to find out what was happening. There seemed to be no 'centre' of activity, and there were certainly no 'activists' left at this point. I cycled around a long way to get to the other side of the police line, where 4 or 5 people were being detained with plastic handcuffs in front of a boarded up mobile phone shop. They were definitely not pink, black, clown, or any other block. Just ordinary folk. An onlooker said they were being arrested for refusing to move on when ordered by a Police officer, but I cannot confirm that.

They were put into vans, with a chorus of boos and hisses from the crowd, chanting to let them go. Next thing a glass bottle hit the line, racking up the tension. The cops were getting nervous, and the crowd were telling them to fuck off (because most of the riot cops were English rather than local Police, it seemed). The cops jumped into the crowd and snatched a teenage girl, provoking more anger and the occasional missile from the crowd. A bagpiper blowing out traditional tunes seemed to be stirring the Scots into a bit of an anti-establishment fervour. It seemed as if this crowd were mostly just turned up after they saw what was happening on the news, and joined in the activities themselves.

What happened next was bizarre and unprecedented... (am I allowed use them terms?) A group of about a dozen riot cops were left in a laneway while the others had been taken away in vans. Possibly they were just waiting around for an empty van to come and pick them up. Several people saw them down the lane isolated, and the next thing they were being stoned and bottled by people steaming up the laneway. Bottles were fired at them from close range, a dumpster was pushed straight at the line of shields, and a traffic cone and a bin were thrown at them when they charged their way back to the junction of the street.

Four or five of the Clown Army showed up at this point, trying to stop people throwing stuff at the cops, and making faces and generally being silly right in front of the Police. One female clown was nearly hit in the head with the big traffic cone, and their attempts to calm the situation didnt really work at all, so they left the situation fairly quickly. Within a minute a huge amount of Police vans arrived into the area with sirens squealing, pouring out more padded riot units. This sent the crowd scattering. They also brought out the dog unit, forcing people away from the laneway, threatening to use the dogs on people that did not back off.

Eventually the Police got all their Officers back into vans, and retreated out of the area rapidly. The crowd cheered and was chanting Anti-G8 slogans as well as "Whose streets? Our streets!" The McDonalds and the Topshop right in the thick of all this survived without a scratch though. After a while people filtered off, it was getting late and dark. I think in this situation just the sight of the Police on the street itself was drawing people toward them and getting their blood up, as soon as they withdrew completely the tension vanished.

To sum up: Earlier in the day was very frustrating. Being held for a long period of time destroys any energy you have, and the Police know this. It is likely they will do the exact same thing to demonstrators on Wednesday, wherever the opportunity presents itself. Are there enough people around to maintain blockades properly, or break through Police lines? On the strength of todays numbers involved, possibly not. The sanctioned G8 Alternatives march is being written off by most Direct Actionists as a waste of time, with most predicting the organisers & stewards will toe the line, and when marching near Gleneagles there might be a bit of a raised chant or fence rattling but no more. Whatever happens, the Police are well trained and organised, and this does not bode well for people planning to shut down the summit.

Later on was quite inspiring. Seeing locals ram the dumpster into the Police line was surprising, considering the supposedly ultra-militant Black Bloc'ers on Cannon Street had two heavy black ones at their disposal but couldnt get it together to use them or decide what to do next (the Police eventually just walked up to them and took the dumpsters away). It was good to see non-activist people standing up for their right to assemble and getting angry at the Police for arresting people for no serious reason... maybe there's hope yet.

Tomorrow is a quiet day action-wise in Edinburgh. I'll try and file a slightly different report tomorrow evening.

Until then.

All images are lifted from forthcoming film/work in progress.

Mounties following the samba band.
Mounties following the samba band.

Police telling the pinks to back away. Note the Police Office is wearing an MPH wristband.
Police telling the pinks to back away. Note the Police Office is wearing an MPH wristband.

Trying to contain people...
Trying to contain people...

author by IMC Éire foreign correspondentpublication date Tue Jul 05, 2005 02:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Five more.

Police holding their line.
Police holding their line.

Stamping the Bobby Police hat into the ground.
Stamping the Bobby Police hat into the ground.

One lad managed to get onto a low roof on the office building.
One lad managed to get onto a low roof on the office building.

This is much later on. Cops down a laneway near Princes St/Waverley Bridge. Isolated presence noted by locals.
This is much later on. Cops down a laneway near Princes St/Waverley Bridge. Isolated presence noted by locals.

Getting ready to rumble. "Fuck off out of our country ya radge bastards!"
Getting ready to rumble. "Fuck off out of our country ya radge bastards!"

author by IMC Éire foreign correspondentpublication date Tue Jul 05, 2005 02:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Five more,

Going down the laneway to confront them.
Going down the laneway to confront them.


Banging the lid on the dumpster.
Banging the lid on the dumpster.

Charging the Police line with the dumpster.
Charging the Police line with the dumpster.

Clown Army arrive in to try to make light of the situation.
Clown Army arrive in to try to make light of the situation.

author by IMC Éire foreign correspondentpublication date Tue Jul 05, 2005 02:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Last few. Good night.

Traffic cone.
Traffic cone.

Clowns trying to calm local people down without much success...
Clowns trying to calm local people down without much success...

Dumping a bin at the Police line
Dumping a bin at the Police line

Run away! Run away!
Run away! Run away!

First wave of many reinforcements arrive.
First wave of many reinforcements arrive.

author by ortsakpublication date Tue Jul 05, 2005 08:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

nice pics...
keep em commin..

author by lpublication date Tue Jul 05, 2005 11:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

hundreds of riot police shut down the centre of edinburgh from 12 to at least 8:30 last night for no reason!
it was nuts. talking to locals everyone was saying they'd never seen anything like it.
riot cops hemmed in everyone on the streets, mostly passers by , by the evening, and surrounded the last group of people who'd been dancing on prince's st and held them there, surrounded by 10 polive vans. they even had ministry of defence cops who apparently have more powers. they locked park gates, causing injury to people who had to jump over the spiked railings. there were clowns & drummers & kids in the park.
most importantly nothing happened!
there was virtually no property damage all day. the tabloids had predicted riots & the most they got was a bunch of people half-heartedly throwing bottles at a row of mounted police in a laneway and that was right at the end & mostly local.
it had bben agreed that it would be a fluffy demo & it was . but not according to the headlines.

author by :-)publication date Tue Jul 05, 2005 12:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

well written & very engaging, and I liked how you used the words (you know the ones "un-precedented and bizarre").

author by the pantomine horse from renta ghostpublication date Tue Jul 05, 2005 17:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Black blockers and the Clown army step aside, as the big girls and boys, (Glasgow's and Edinburgh's finest) show us how its done.

Local wee lads, poll tax veterans, pensioners and grannies take on porkers from the Met.

All we need now is a screening of Braveheart and Tony and G8 could be in trouble

author by Bemusedpublication date Tue Jul 05, 2005 18:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What exactly was the confrontation with the police supposed to achieve?

Stirring up the masses to revolution? Sounds like the only revolution was an unfocused street brawl.

Defending your rights to march? 200,000 marched through Edinborough the day before, you could have joined them.

Storm the barricades and overthrow the G8, maybe? With an army of dumpsters and drunk Scots?

Raising consciousness? Live8 was a trite and ego-filled bit of populism, yet it pricked consciousness (and consciences) far more than your efforts. The media was actually raising issues about Africa, but you've given them a chance to duck back to the old story of the threat to law and order.

Seattle inspired with its challenge to politics-as-usual but it is really frustrating that some have never moved beyond an increasingly stale series of confrontations.

You don't need to change your tactics- you need to change your strategies. You are marginal, you are reactionary and you are doing nothing to improve our world.

author by Chekovpublication date Tue Jul 05, 2005 18:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Brilliant reporting, well written, sober and full of information. Keep it up.

author by igpublication date Tue Jul 05, 2005 18:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

As the G8 Business Summit opens today, company heads are lining up to state the importance of really helping African countries out of poverty through trade. This summit is chaired by Mark Moody-Stuart, head of AngloAmerican, the mining giant that has recently been accused of working with warlords on the DR Congo (see Corporate Watch news).

Forcing Neo-liberalism on Poorer Nations

Free trade” is promoted by the rich and influential as the means for all nations to achieve prosperity and development.
The wealth accumulated by the richer countries would seem to strengthen that idea.
Yet, that would cloud over how such immense wealth was accumulated not so much from “free trade” but from the violent and age-old mercantilism or “monopoly capitalism”.
In that context, such systems are being practised again today, even though it is claimed to be Adam Smith free trade. It is a system that Adam Smith himself criticized so much.

Related Link:
author by IMC Los Angeles Correspondent - Indymedia Internationale - Foreign New Monitoring Dept.publication date Tue Jul 05, 2005 18:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Are saying that the trouble in Edinburgh was caused by anarchist demonstrators who threw benches and paving stones at the police. Also mentions that Mr. Bush is going to be staying in a real Scottish castle.

author by Janis Joplinpublication date Tue Jul 05, 2005 19:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dear "pricked consciousness" person who said your protest was legitimate because you managed an SMS, and others protests who confront authority directly and corageously should not ... you should stay back after school today, and do as I say, respect my authority as your respect your great Emporer's and do not think for yourself as others do because you are braindead, died in school, useful only as an obedient mutt, to do your boss's will. A-plus full marks for managing to regurgitate the state mantra drummed into your weak mind? on the nine o'cock news delivered by the british bullshit corporation

author by Bemusedpublication date Tue Jul 05, 2005 19:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Protest for the sake of protest, is that what it is? Well, preserve your little ideological corner against all comers, while the G8 lines their pockets, Africa wallows in its troubles and we all swim around in the melted ice caps.

Or you could give up your self-righteousness and start thinking about solutions. Do you think you can overthrow the G8 by yourself or do you want to persuade people to help you?

What do you plan beyond protest? What end will you achieve through protest?

author by james rpublication date Tue Jul 05, 2005 21:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This a great report of the action, I have quite a few photos myself but won't be able to get them up untill a later date. Once again, it was very disappointing that a radical demonstration was not allowed to even assemble, and it was slightly hilarious looking at the media hsyteria here today.

On a slightly different note, something else should be added about this demo. The demo had a very clear theme and that was a tour of the city visiting institutions that contribute to the immiseration of our daily lifes, these included welfare offices implementing the new deal and workfare, employment agencies and army recruitment centres. The idea of 'full enjoyment' itself was a subversion of the old leftist adage of marching for 'full employment'. Unforunately, there was little of this sentiment on the action. There were a few banners the organisers had which made the theme explicit, but these were lost among the corrals. In essence what i am trying to say that this was meant to be a demo which pushed the style of reclaim the streets politics beyond spectacle towards clear class politics. So while the demo did not physically assemble, Im pretty certain that most of the crowd were there because it was that days thing to do, Some people even thought it was a carnival for 'fun and enjoyment'. So as the one event I wasa most looking forward to it was disappointing beyond state actions.

There might have been a number of reasons for this. Perhaps within Britain there hasn't been the same level of groudwork put in on the idea of precarity. Again the propaganda for the demo was a wee bit muddy, the graphic looked just like a carnival rather than aesthetically representing the theme and then of course, I do think there is somthing of an unthinking aspect to the demos people go on.

Im just raising these points as i think they are quite relevent in terms of advancing beyond summit hopping as we relate to it and as most people view it.

author by Terrypublication date Wed Jul 06, 2005 01:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The point was to march around the city to highlight the various institutes and make the places and issues connect.

If you read the report again, you will see that it was the police that harassed the march all day and prevented it from assembling and taking place. It was then the locals who threw a few token objects at a few ioslated riot cops.

You berate the anarchists for not joining in the other march or event , namely the MPH or at least for doing something similar.

The thing is that groups like the MPH never say anything too radical especially in the public image. It so happens that anytime some group tries to speak more directly or ask radical questions or attempt to make the connections more direct and obvious, then the police ALWAYS at EVERY march try to disrupt them and provoke them. The name of the game is to try and criminalise them in the minds of everyone else and that seems to be exactly the path you have been led part of the way down into believing about anarchists.

It is true that many at the MPH event are quite aware that their presence will not make any difference. It is also likely that many of those same people would join more radical actions if they knew about them and thus really challenge the system, but so far the capitalist system has been extremely and continues to be extremely successful at muffling the anarchist or other radical's voices, through making sure they get little fair hearing and making sure that when their name does crop up in the media that it is ALWAYS in some way or another connection with violence. That way nobody gets to know about what they say, their analysis, their proposals and alternatives and about their own events.

It is quite clear the MPH has been co-opted by the establishment. It is true many of the grassroots activists in the MPH would be quite radical in their views and clearly see what needs to be done and are annoyed at the leadership, but in the public image, the MPH is almost speaking with the same voice as the government. The government / State does care what the grassroots activists think, all that matters is that the public message is co-opted and it is.

By co-opting the MPH and similar groups at other times and then ensuring that only the MPH event annoucements get through to the public and no other message, it shows again how extremely effective the capitalist system is at drowning out our voice.

I hope that clarifies things a bit.

author by blackiechanpublication date Wed Jul 06, 2005 03:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

great reporting and good luck out there!
just don't get arrested!

author by Questionpublication date Wed Jul 06, 2005 14:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Why wear scarves over your faces?
Why did some choose to go through a residential area and attack cars and satelite dishes on houses?

author by Joepublication date Wed Jul 06, 2005 14:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There is no mystery as to why some people wear masks. If you look at the pictures you'll see lots of cops with cameras filming protesters - that this would cause people to hide their faces seems obvious in particular if they have hostile employers.

The car/satellite dish is more complex I'd suggest

a. Idiots (every crowd comes equpped with one)
b. I saw a report of a car hitting someone - given that the car filmed was actually abandoned in the middle of the road this might be connected (or it might not).
c. Media spin - sometimes these stories turn out to be untrue (remember 'Anarchists plan to gas 10,000 Dubliners'). One car was clearly attacked but I've not seen any evidence for the satellite dishes yet.

Unfortunaly I suspect a. is most likely but we'll see

author by New deal for the deadpublication date Wed Jul 06, 2005 19:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It is essential to mask up, even on peaceful protests these days, if you're identified, the authorities have the power to visit all manner of nasty retribution upon you, such as stopped welfare benefits etc. They can make life very difficult for you.

In Northern Ireland, political activists/community workers, routinely have their benefits stopped, their housing forms mysteriously go walk about, the authorities are particularly nasty to claimants who approach political parties such as Sinn fein to sort out benefits on their behalf, of course this is political discrimination, but the authorities get away with it, because there is an overall unwritten government/civil service policy to discourage ordinary people from supporting Sinn fein by any underhand means necessary.

It's not fair because they are in a postiion of anonymity and power, but since when has dog eat dog capitalism ever been humane or fair, they fight dirty and underhandly, and only if the odds are stacked in their favour, so even the playing field, don't be a hero, mask up, and don't give them a target to vent the frustration for their dreary, greedy existence on.

author by Rise with your class, not out of itpublication date Wed Jul 06, 2005 21:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It is never reactionary to support the actions violent or otherwise of ordinary working class people, it is reactionary to condemn those actions and support the authorities.

It is never reactionary to support people who are armed with only bricks and pipes against a well trained Armed to the teeth police force.

It is reactionary to adopt the mannerisms of middle class snobs in order to social climb and denegrade your own class.

Unfortunately the protest movement is unique in that it tolerates aload of sanctimonious arseholes who chicken out of a fight, and choose instead to take the opportunity to side with authortarian figures when violence does erupt.

author by Shane - ordinary guypublication date Thu Jul 07, 2005 05:05author email shaneon at indigo dot ieauthor address author phone 086-3188-199Report this post to the editors

I saw the pictrues both on this site and on TV, those that went to Scotland looking for trouble, and caused the distruction as seen around the world, deserve every cracked head a police baton comes into contact with.
You'd love to overthrow democratic governments and install your communist governments.

DON' GET ME WRONG, I am on 'the left', but this type of action is way out of all order, protest, march, leaflet drop, but jesus, what does smashing windows and throwing bins around achieve?

Nothing except, more police...........more often.

author by Elephant in the roompublication date Thu Jul 07, 2005 11:45author email elephant_room at yahoo dot co dot ukauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

See Kicking Away The Ladder by the development economist Ha-Joon Chang

"The book, on the basis of a detailed and careful review of historical evidence, argues
that this cannot be further from the truth – the developed countries did not get where they are
now through the policies and the institutions that they recommend to the developing countries
today. Most of them actively used “bad” trade and industrial policies, such as infant industry
protection and export subsidies – practices that are frowned upon, if not actively banned, by
the WTO these days.

Very interestingly, the UK and the USA, which most of us think as the
paragons of free-trade and free-market policies, were the most ardent users of such policies in
the earlier stages of their development. In terms of institutional development, until they were
quite developed (say, until the early 20 th century), the developed countries had very few of the
institutions deemed essential for developing countries today, democratic political institutions,
a professional bureaucracy, and the central bank. Indeed, when they were developing
countries themselves, the developed countries had much lower-quality institutions than
today’s developing countries at comparable levels of development.

If this is the case, aren’t the developed countries, under the guise of recommending
“good” policies and institutions, actually making it difficult for the developing countries to
use policies and institutions that had allowed them to develop economically in earlier times?
Friedrich List, the mid-19 th -century German economist who perfected the theory of infant
industry protection (which interestingly was first systematically developed by the first US
Secretary of Treasury, Alexander Hamilton), certainly thought so. He criticised the British
preaching of the virtues of free trade to countries like Germany and the USA as an attempt to
“kick away the ladder”, with which Britain climbed to the top.

Pointing out that the allegedly “good” policies and institutions recommended by the
Bretton Woods institutions and the developed country governments have not been able to
generate the promised growth dynamism in the developing countries during the last two
decades or so, the book calls for a radical re-thinking on development strategy......."

author by James Rpublication date Sat Jul 09, 2005 03:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The point has been made a dozen times and rather than repeat it theoritically I'll illustrate it with an example from leaving Sterling convergence centre today. There was a line of police across the site entrance, you were filtered into a gauntlet of coppers with photo print offs of people on actions that they were looking to take in. Of the people they searched they also took photos of the clothes in their bags. Given such a level of technical survillence, if I were to do something that may warrant a serious sentence then a mask seems like a very reasonable tactic.

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