> home - action - mayday -
Cakes, Frocks and Baton Charges...
the Great Auntie Capitalists take on the power of the State!
By 'KakaTim', urban75 bulletin boards 04.05. 2001
We arrived in the city centre at about 2.30pm. There were four of us, three dressed as respectable ladies of a certain age (Auntie Mo, Auntie Flo and Auntie Come-and-have-a-go-if-you-think-you're-hard-enough) and one dressed as a vicar.
We heard that it was all starting to happen at Oxford Circus so we went that way to find a fuck load of police holding back a big crowd. By going round some side streets you could join the crowd - this was a deliberate tactic by the cops to get everyone in one place before they penned us in - but I didn't know that at the time. Briefly met Sam Phallocrat around this time (u75 regular).
We gave out Cakes and Biscuits and the Eenee Stannit - a spoof newspaper we did at Glastonbury last year but updated with a special Mayday report entitled SCUM OF THE EARTH - MAY DAY THUGS EAT BABIES AND SAY RUDE THINGS ABOUT THE QUEEN MUM (GAWD BLESS HER!).
Knew that the tabloid toilet papers would out do us on the ridiculous story front but we gave it a shot. We were going to do the newspapers in Eric Morecambe style macs and caps - but a costume change wasn't feasible.
Narrowly avoided getting caught when they closed off Oxford Circus only to be trapped in Holles Street by John Lewis with about 2000 others. Still we had a Samba Band and plenty of cake left. We were entertained by someone trying to bag the CCTV camera.
The riot cops then started to push up from the bottom end of the street. We all joined arms and pushed back, trying to force our way out. Those at the front were met with a fierce battering from police batons and shields - much more womble outfits needed for next time!
The mood in the crowd was surprisingly good and, despite the best efforts of the pigs, generally calm. I saw very little being thrown at the cops - plastic bottles and a couple of placard sticks.
A guy took out the other CCTV camera to huge applause. An attempt to trash the John Lewis store window was prevented by the crowd - it wouldn't have done any good and just given the shits in blue an excuse to steam in.
Many of the people in Holles Street were bystanders, tourists and people who'd worked in the area - but the police were not making any distinctions and would refuse to talk to anyone other than to offer a cheery - 'Get Back You Cunt!' when approached.
At about 8pm they started to let us out. We walked through a corridor of riot pigs who were lashing out at anyone they didn't like. A guy next to me got a battering 'cos he stopped walking.
The crowd was milling about. We wandered around back streets trying to find the rest of the protest, but everywhere we went lines of very aggressive riot pigs were blocking exits. We tried to go back the way we'd came, to find that blocked as well.
I noticed a few dozen teenagers, they had obviously not been on the demo and had come down for some aggro (I did it too when I was 15!). The kids started putting windows through, some one set light to a bin and the pigs started steaming in again.
It was pretty scary, there were hundreds of us trapped in a small area with the horses forming up. Again the police were not letting anyone out.
Over the next three hours we were slowly moved towards Euston Station. There were about 500 of us - most of whom had been a Holles Street - and the various youth who sauntered down for some action. A car got overturned on Tottenham Court Road and I got whacked by a riot shield for walking on the pavement.
We were held in a street by Euston Station for two hours. A women in a flat above, stuck her head out to see what was happening "One thousand cups of tea please Love!" shouted one wag. We were finally released at 10.30pm having been held captive for seven hours.
Conclusions - The police effectively put central London under martial law. Anyone in the area was liable to be held under mass arrest for up to eight hours without any food, water or toilet facilities. The mass arrests were totally arbritary.
As well as being a blatant abuse of human rights and the freedom of expression and assembly this also had the effect of closing down central London for an entire day. The cost has been estimated at £20 million+. As some one pointed out - a riot would have been a lot cheaper!
The press and police hysteria made mayday a BIG event - this has forced the issues into the mainstream debate. They were talking about the 'power of the global coporations' on daytime TV shows! Surreal.
The television coverage (I watched it on video) showed lots of footage of cops laying into protesters and barely a placard stick being thrown.
Despite the bullshit commentary many people will be able to see for themselves what was going on - an escalating level of violence from the state towards anyone who opposes the free market consensus. We have definitely rattled some cages.
The backlash against this years mayday was not due to last years events (which have now been elevated to a huge riot). It is because the activist movement has movement has moved from single issues to a direct critique of the power structure - and they hate it!
Respect to everyone who was there, especially those who had the guts to try to push back the riot pigs.
Next time we need more stewards with mobiles and megaphones and more wombles!
More than anything, we need more bodies on the streets - they had a tough time containing 10,000 of us. Another 5000 and we would have won the day.
Tactical victory to the pigs (at a huge cost and the possible future restriction of section 60), but a resounding moral victory for us.
Report by KakaTim 04.05.01
How was your day? Post up your report!
Have your say in the forums!