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Mayday Communiqué: Don't Believe the Hype!
W.O.M.B.L.E press release 2nd May 2001
So the men of power, the media, the state and the fat cats wanted a stage show riot. Well they didn't get it. Now their news, their (dis) information, is shown up for what it really is.
As they lick their wounds the police are congratulated for a successful operation. We can't really expect the media and police 'intelligence' to say 'Oops we got it wrong.
We didn't really have a clue what was going on'. They will continue to marginalise us never showing the beautiful expression of life and desire on the walls of the Old Bacon Factory, or the success that was had on mayday.
The focus will remain on a few broken windows, the unfortunate people caught at oxford circus (thanks to those vampires of Leon Trotsky), and our 'right' to 'peaceful protest'. There is unlikely to be a collective response from us, we feel it is better to let individuals have their own voice in this situation. So here is a personal account from a Womble.
We were to assemble at Oxford circus close to four o'clock, I will not bore you with the intricacies of our plan.
Thanks to the combined efforts of the cops and certain vampires attempting to suck the revolutionary blood out of the 'movement', Oxford Circus was already completely sealed by about three o'clock. A few of our number were unfortunately trapped, but were able to warn us. By luck and perhaps some collective thinking about 15 or 20 of us managed to bump into each other in the maze of Soho.
Disguising our sofa cushions and banners as rubbish and dodging cops, we eventually were all assembled. We dived down a particularly small dark alley and were transformed. Emerging on to Wardour street we looked more like the fluffy (and ridiculous) cartoon puppets of our name sake, than the ultra violent paramilitaries we had been hyped up to be. We began chanting and shouting and soon the banners had been unfurled in front of us.
As we emerged on to Oxford Street we were greeted by cheers and shouts, free money began to fly, it had begun. As we joined the crowd our spirits leapt, we had not been defeated!
After some conferring we decided to advance up great Portland street, rather than attempt the lines of police across Oxford Circus. The banner was soon at the front of the crowd.
People were invited to hold other banners down the sides of the crowd to form a block, some padding was handed out and some other wombles joined. As the block advance up Great Portland Street we became more raucous and ecstatic, it was really working.
Our first confrontation came, a line of riot cops across the street. Ha! they retreated with out even a clash. We moved through the streets north of Oxford Circus chanting and shouting, enjoying the euphoria of resisting and defeating the cops. Behind John Lewis, came the first real confrontation. The blows rained down, but our home made padding held.
More frightening than the truncheons was the numbness in the eyes of the thugs of the sate, there was nothing there. Again they were ordered to retreated. We moved past them and onto Oxford street west of Oxford Circus.
Here we made an attempt at the lines guarding those trapped at Oxford Circus. Here the riot cops struck back in earnest their lines being two deep and the street being wide. At one point they were pushed back and surrounded on both sides by the crowd.
But eventually we felt it best to leave this line.
Instead we moved down a side street to get round a line of riot police across New Bond Street. As we advanced down New Bond Street our numbers were swelled to about 600. Soon we came across Regents Street and moved across towards Soho.
At this point the riot cops were no where to be seen. Another mass of people joined from Regents Street and as we advanced east along great Marlborough street we must have numbered about 1000.
Here we came across a lone cop car with three cops in it. Suffice to say they looked very worried. There were jeers and shouts, but surprisingly little else, I won't go into the pros and cons of this.
We moved through the maze of Soho, again the riot cops were hardly anywhere to be seen. The next confrontation came as we tried to leave Soho for Charring Cross road. Here across a small street the riot cops stood three deep, and were extremely heavy, I thanked the quality of my helmet many times.
We made a swift decision to retreat back one street, to prevent us being trapped. We then moved south there were more confrontations, with the riot cops using CS gas, and one of our number being injured.
By Les Miserables we found again that we had out run the cops and were able to enter Shaftesbury avenue. At this point we began to move more swiftly, running sporadically to prevent the cops from moving in front of us.
This carried on up towards High Holborn. At this point we began to disperse, to avoid arrest. The riot cops had been successfully out manoeuvred and out run, by a beautiful mix of chaos and swift decisions on certain situations, we felt it was time to go home.
Though many things could have been improved, both tactically and theoretically, we managed to pull off our action. We helped to facilitated the movement of about 1000 people through the streets of the west end, and helped to prevent the crowd being encircled and cut off.
The whole action was very pragmatic, seeing as our plans were completely trashed, but we were still more successful than we ever dreamed. The events seem to show that our best strategy is to use the chaos of the situation, to oppose their hierarchical decisions, with a few swift decisions when the chaos becomes tyrannical.
Hopefully now that the idea is out there other groups will form autonomously and design their own tactics for more effectively opposing the riot police and creating better mass street gatherings.
We won and next time there will be more of us and we'll be better. This isn't the last time the rustle of parcel tape and bubble rap will be heard on the streets of London.
DISCLAIMER: This is reproduced for information purposes only. urban75 has no association with the, er, WOMBLES, Uncle Bulgaria or any other oversized fluffy creatures.) How was your day? Post up your report!
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