road protests 1999
| road protests (current)
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Date: Fri, 25 Jun 1999 15:29:02 +0000
From: SchNEWS (email@example.com)
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
"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.
"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).
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".
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or RTS, PO Box 9656, London N4 4JY
"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 -
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!
Unfortunately the report we've received is all in Spanish.
Picketers from Eco-resistance and Chyrvony Zhond gave out flyers and toilet
paper to customers leaving McDonalds. Permission for a large demonstration
In Desterro protesters defaced a city centre clock (built by an
'entertainment' corporation) symbolising the 500 years of "discoverment"
(invasion) of Brazil.
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.
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.)
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.
In Tel Aviv, a street carnival was held, and torches lit for the victims of corporate human and animal rights abuse.
Demonstrators established night-long autonomous zones in the centre of
Bologna. Similar actions took place in Milan, Rome, Siena, Florence, Ancona
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.
Amsterdam protesters were not allowed any sound (not even a car radio) or
an 8x6m banner. 50 people and lots of press showed up.
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.
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:
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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