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Date: Fri, 25 Jun 1999 15:29:02 +0000
From: SchNEWS (schnews@mail.gn.apc.org)
Reply-To: schnews@brighton.co.uk
Subject: SchNEWS 217, Friday 25th June 1999

J18 Reports - June 18th Street Actions

SUITS YOU, SIR!

"Booze-fuelled hardcore anarchists turn anti-capitalist protest into orgy of violence." - Daily Star

It all started nicely enough - 500 cyclists staged a Critical Mass blockade of the streets, Lloyds and NatWest banks were occupied and animal rights activists shouted at an empty building. No-one - least of all the police - could anticipate the mayhem to come.

"Just heard that the boys at Tullett and Tokyo whose office overlooks London Bridge have been waving their gold cards and shouting 'Wankers' at the eco-warriors going past." - E-mail circulating City

Liverpool St. Station, 12 noon: Ten thousand ungrateful, work-shy dole-scroungers gathered to bite both the hand that feeds them and the free sandwiches provided to lure them away from consumer Utopia; colour-coded party masks distributed amongst the crowd resulted in four separate columns of protesters winding their way through the city streets to converge on the belly of the beast - The London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange (LIFFE). At this point the Carnival - organised by and for a coalition of nice, peaceful anarchists- was hijacked by the disgraceful, masked-up, beer-swilling, black-clad, cop-hating psychopaths that give anarchy a bad name.

And then the fun really began.

"We're being beseiged by open-toed-sandalled hippy vandals. We have armed our doorman, Bernard, with a shotgun." - Partner at Maclay, Murray and Spens ('The Lawyer')

To the noise of pneumatic drill gabba from a sound-system, a trained Class War hate mob trampled on the bare toes of decent liberal protesters and embarked on a systematic redesign of the urban environment. 'Imagine London with its rivers unearthed and its valleys revealed' they screamed as CCTV cameras were bagged up, revellers danced in a four-storey fountain of their own urine and the front door of LIFFE was bricked up with breeze blocks and cement hauled in by crack-fuelled chaos junkies. Punk band P.A.I.N.- at least one member sporting an outrageous mohican haircut- baited rioters with angry hate music- with added percussion from boots going through the windows of a Mercedes showroom.

"Five activists are reported to have shaved the head of a besuited City type, while pinning him against Freshfield's wall." - 'The Lawyer'

Dreadlocked crusties disguised in Oxfam suits stormed their way into the reception of the Liffe building, showering traders- cowering behind piles of photocopied tenners- with fountains of diseased blood as bare feet demolished the plate-glass reception. The masked middle-class mayhem mongers stormed the escalators in pitched battle with salt-of-the-earth Cockney dealers before being squirted back out on the street with champagne cannons.

"Bankers, traders and stockbrokers are the real working class." - Daily Telegraph editorial

Other demonstrators attacked branches of McDonalds; kamikaze vegans hurled themselves through the windows and bombarded police with frozen burgers, urging customers to eat Edward and Sophie instead. Others covered themselves with ketchup and deceitfully claimed police brutality.

"Schroeders were attacked by climbing nuts, who attempted to scale the building with ropes and crampons, but were thwarted when traders urinated on their heads." - E-mail circulating city traders

Thankfully, citizens, such spontaneity is unlikely to happen again. Assistant Chief Constable James Hart of City Police has stated: "We may, if conditions call for it, be more assertive next time; we'll come in harder, at significant risk to innocent members of the public peaceful protesters and police officers." Or maybe they'll just ban dissent altogether.

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Meanwhile -

"Next Friday will be the International City Day of Action. On this day, we ask you all to don your finest pinstripe, knot the italian silk tie, booted with British brogue, apply your monocles, glue mobile phone to ear and then head off down to Brighton to disrupt as many dreadlocked soap dodging men and women with dogs on string as possible." - E-mail circulating City traders
(unfortunately everyone in Brighton will be at Glastonbury).

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WHO WERE THE VIOLENT MINORITY?

The actions of a few hundred troublemakers clearly intent on causing mayhem and violence marred what was otherwise a great day out. This small, highly organised group, some of them wearing suits and sporting mobile phones, managed to get into buildings housing major financial institutions. One man who didn't want to be named told SchNEWS: "They had little or no connection with the thousands of ordinary protesters out on the streets and were clearly intent on causing serious violence. They used computer and comms equipment and were quite aware of what they were doing. We did all we could to stop them but by the end of the day they had killed 11,000 kids. That may sound shocking, but these people are responsible for that, through easily preventable poverty-related diseases, every day . They give protests like the one today a very bad name, because they own the newspapers that print complete crap about what's really going on. It is very important that the public supports our efforts to bring these people to justice".

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SO WHY THE CITY ?

June 18th was the day when the world's seven most industralised countries and Russia (G8) met in Cologne, Germany. On their agenda was more economic growth, more 'free' trade and more power for corporations. (check back issues of SchNEWS to find out why these are bad things)

The city was chosen because it is the place, as Anthony Sampson described in the 'The Midas Touch' where "people buy and sell blips on an electronic screen. They deal with people they never see, they talk to people over the 'phone in rooms that have no windows. They sit and look at screens. It is almost like modern warfare where people sit in bunkers and look at screens and push buttons and make things happen."

It's a place where a small number of people play the world's largest and most risky video game - the money game. But the consequences of this game are very real: human lives, ecosystems, jobs and even entire economies are at the mercy of this reckless system. To the frenzied traders it's might be about just gambling with blips on a screen, but to the Peruvian coffee growers who's just had the value of their crop halved ovenight, the game's for real.

As Business Week once observed "in this new market^┼billions can flow in or out of an economy in seconds. So powerful has this force of money become that some observers now see the hot-money set becoming a sort of shadow world government." Perhaps one demonstrator put it best "the damage to property that happened today, is nothing compared to the misery these financial corporations create in their never ending quest for profits."Are we all ready for a terrorist back-lash?

And now for a lesson on how multi-national companies bribe whole towns. One of the UK's biggest companies, Vodaphone recently got planning permission to build a giant HQ on a greenfield site on the outskirts of Newbury. Vodaphone refused to contemplate moving to other sites such as the vacated MOD site at Greenham Common (which they reckoned was a security risk because of the peace women there - all three of them!), they said to the town, give us permision or we'll pack our bags and go. Vodaphone were also surprisingly enough supporters of the Newbury bypass, which was built, residents were told, to stop traffic congestion and infil development.

* Did you witness, photograph or video an arrest or injury at the J18 protests in London? If so please send details (location & time of incident) with your name, address & tel number to Legal Defence & Monitoring Grp, BM Haven, London WC1N 3XX.

* A discussion pamphlet on J 18 to be published soon. Send contributions, analysis, critiques and graphics etc to rts@gn.apc.org or RTS, PO Box 9656, London N4 4JY

* http://www.j18.org/

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"OUR RESISTANCE WILL BE AS TRANSNATIONAL AS CAPITAL"

Hey, it's wasn't just about one day: "It's about building a movement. From the global to the local it's about taking back control of our lives."

Here's a quick round-up of what SchNEWS has heard so far about last Friday -

AUSTRALIA

Kim Beazley, Opposition leader, was pied for speaking at an APEC/Global Trade meeting sponsored by Shell. Protestors harassed the Stock Exchange, McDonalds and Australian bank, Westpac who invest in the Jabiluka uranium mine. Elsewhere in Melbourne, bells were sounded to wake up the world to Third World Debt problems, a Critical Mass and a Food not Bombs breakfast were held. Protesters blockaded the stock exchange with dead wombats!

ARGENTINA

Unfortunately the report we've received is all in Spanish.

BELARUS

Picketers from Eco-resistance and Chyrvony Zhond gave out flyers and toilet paper to customers leaving McDonalds. Permission for a large demonstration wasn't granted.

BRAZIL

In Desterro protesters defaced a city centre clock (built by an 'entertainment' corporation) symbolising the 500 years of "discoverment" (invasion) of Brazil.

CANADA>

In Vancouver a hundred people blockaded the Stock Exchange. In TORONTO the RTS was a fun celebration and reminder that public space is for public benefit, though it occurred very much within an imposed framework.

CZECH REPUBLIC

350 people met in central Prague, disrupting banks and multinationals despite over a thousand police (probably due to the previous 7000-strong street party with people from the Intercontinental Caravan, where there were 114 arrests.)

GERMANY

In Cologne, about 95 people were arrested, mainly from the InterContinental Caravan, who have been making peaceful protests thoughout Europe. People were beaten by police outside an art hall and 500 people protested outside the chemical transnational company Bayer in Leverkusen.

The Caravan members came to Cologne for the World Economic Summit to ridicule the Gang of Seven in a Gandhi-style "Laugh Parade", but 250 were prevented by police from entering the city centre. They were surrounded and some arrested, including Vijay JAWANDHIA, president of the Inter-State Co-ordination Committee of Farmers' Organisations, and his wife. Police used brute force, injuring at least two and making racist remarks, this despite an admission that there had been no violence on the side of the Caravan. On Saturday 19/6 estimates of the numbers still in custody ranged from 6 to 30 people.

ISRAEL

In Tel Aviv, a street carnival was held, and torches lit for the victims of corporate human and animal rights abuse.

ITALY

Demonstrators established night-long autonomous zones in the centre of Bologna. Similar actions took place in Milan, Rome, Siena, Florence, Ancona and Hamburg.

MEXICO

On June 15, the Electronic Disturbance Theatre staged a virtual sit-in and clogged up the Internet pathways to the Mexican Embassy in the UK in protest at the continuing war in Chiapas.

NETHERLANDS

Amsterdam protesters were not allowed any sound (not even a car radio) or an 8x6m banner. 50 people and lots of press showed up.

NIGERIA

A 10,000 strong "carnival of the oppressed," brought Port Harcourt, Nigeria's petroleum capital to a standstill. Many were from the Niger Delta where oil corporations are destroying their environment. Shell and Agip had their offices blockaded and a street named after General Abacha was unofficially re-named after Ken Saro-Wiwa and the old signpost pulled out.

PAKISTAN

In Gujrat, Pakistan there was an enthusiastic anti-nuclear procession. The leadership of the trade union association, Apfutu, which had gone underground on the 14th came out masked and veiled and joined the rally despite blockades by a local administration eager to arrest them. Angry protesters broke the police control circle. Women went on hunger strike outside the deputy commissioner's office.

During a protest gathering about 300-400 hundred police commandos arrested several of the leaders. They used baton charges and tear gas on innocent men, women and school children. 50 of the protesters were released on bail, and the rest were shifted to the district jail. A reliable source says they are charged with attempting to damage/harm the territorial integrity of the country. The punishment for this is death. Bail had now been granted to all but about 9 leaders, who are said to have been tortured and beaten.

Neither the defendants not the trade union organisations can raise the money to hire lawyers to defend them in court, but they welcome any donations to the "International Solidarity Funds of APFUTU": title of account: International Solidarity Fund of APFUTU, bank account no : 1180 (U.S. Dollars), 1181 (German marks); Allied Bank of Pakistan Limited, main branch, Chowk Nawabsahib Gujrat (Pakistan).

Supporters may transfer cash direct to the above accounts or send cheques/bank drafts to the union address: All Pakistan Federation of United Trade Unions (APFUTU) Union House, Rang Pura, Sargodha Rd, Gujrat 50700, Pakistan Tel: + 92 4331 28736/26398 Fax: + 92 4331 525302 E-mail: union@grt.space.net.pk

SPAIN

300 people spent a couple of hours with music, fireworks closing down streets and banks and Lladro's, the richest and most hated speculator in Valencia.

In Madrid seven days of action in the financial capital came to a head with a Reclaim The Streets smack bang in the commercial centre of the city. Other highlights of the week included 100 people occupying the Madrid Stock Exchange for more than an hour.

In Barcelona, two small groups of people closed two main streets in. One of them, in Sant Andreu Town, recreated a beach and they give fried potatoes to commuters in cars. 100 people took part in action at the derelict site of a squatted house evicted and demolished by police two years ago, creating an organic vegetable and medicinal garden, with water features.

In Sant Cugat (20 km from Barcelona)a bike demonstration of just 13 people managed to close the motorway and get to Barcelona to join the main demonstration. Barcelona's Reclaim The Streets proper took place with up to 700 people dancing until 11pm.

SWITZERLAND

In Zurich, 300 people occupied a construction site in an area currently being gentrified and held one of "the best parties for years". In Geneva, over 50 anarchists washed (!) major banks in the centre and 100 took part in a mobile carnival.

UK

In Lancaster activists occupied Freshfields, a city law firm which boasts of representing nuclear, aviation, road transport, chemical, mining, asbestos companies, tobacco products and the drinks industry, this was followed by a critical mass.

500 people turned Glasgow's George Square into the site of an unofficial party with two sound systems, a critical mass bike ride and one old Ford Fiesta with a J18 RTS registration plate. The Bank of Scotland, the Job Centre, The Army Recruitment Office and Strathclyde Police HQ were targeted as demonstrators marched around the centre for about 2 hours then headed for the park for more partying.

In Edinburgh Reed Employment had paint and posters telling them what people thought about their involvement in New Deal plastered all their offices.

URUGUAY

The Montevideo June 18th Network occupied the main square of the Old Town (the financial centre).A trade fair was set up, with themes such as cheap labour, child labour, education, local culture, consumption and communication. Trade unions were also involved. There was also a parade, entering into the Stock Exchange, the Banco de Montevideo and passing in front of the Ministry of Housing and the Environment and McDonalds, where they stayed for a while singing and getting in the way.

USA

37 people were arrested after people reclaimed the streets in New York's financial centre. For nearly 2 hours, 500 costume clad protesters took over, tying up traffic and rallying in front of the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street. 2 People were nicked and equipment seized.

In San Francisco over 500 people came out to Reclaim the Streets, dancing through the Financial District, stopping outside the corporate headquarters of some of the world's largest and most vile transnational corporations and financial institutions. Stops also occurred at two of the city's giant retail chains.

In Los Angeles protesters played cat and mouse with the police as they tried to hold a party, blocking streets despite baton charges. Police were forcing people out of the park by pushing and hitting people with their batons.

More than 100 activists joined in a Carnival Against Capital in frontof a Bank Boston in the city's financial district. Hundreds more workers watched, costing the bankers many thousands in lost "productivity." 600 demonstrators organised by Jubilee 2000 in Washington DC formed a human chain around the U.S. Treasury Department.

In Eugene, Oregan, a parade escalated into violence as police deployed tear gas and arrested 15 people for rioting, a felony, and other charges. Three officers suffered minor injures in the rioting, as did an unknown number of protesters. As many as 200 protesters played cat-and-mouse with police for hours stopping long enough at intersections to disrupt rush-hour traffic and anger drivers, but paraded away when threatened with arrest and tear gas.

Around 50 demonstrators in Austin, Texas baracaded both ends of a street and took control of a section of road. The police arrived and arrested three of them.


road protests 1999   |   road protests (current)   |   movement links