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Going to Gleneagles

July 7, 2005

Piper

The Scot in me has always wanted to have the experience of marching into
battle while a lone piper played a strident piobroch. Today I got my wish
as I joined a group of protestors who took over Princes Street,
Edinburgh, while a piper marched us on. Stirring stuff indeed.

We were supposed to go to Gleneagles to join the protest against the G8
leaders gathered there to conspire against the world. The police stopped
us. When we arrived at the departure point at Waterloo Place, two buses were already full. Police tried to intimidate those inside by searching and filming
them, but no one moved. Then police tried to stop the buses leaving.


A police van stops the bus from leaving

This is totally against the right of citizens to demonstrate, and certainly against my rights as a citizen of the world to express my displeasure at the leaders of the richest countries as they continue to destroy our beautiful planet and wage war on its people. When the police tried to stop the buses, those waiting blockaded the
street, singing Avanti Popolo until the police let the buses go.

We found out later they had been stopped and isolated before reaching Gleneagles, the protestors trapped on the bus.

Then about 250 of us waited for our buses. There was some confusion about whether they were going to arrive. The organisers got us to wait quietly and patiently for an hour on the pavement for buses the lying Filth promised us were coming. The police told us all manner of lies to discourage us from protesting.
When no buses came, we decided to march down Princes Street.

The police wouldn’t let us, so we simply pushed them, pushed our way passed the vans
they were using to barricade the street and proceeded on our way. As we reached North Bridge, we saw another group of protestors marching from elsewhere in the city. They managed to join us, swelling numbers to around 500. Later, we were joined by others. In our group was Heidi Guiliani, mother of Carlo, the anarchist killed by police in Genoa in 2001.

There was real fear in the eyes of the cops for a moment as they saw that they really didn’t have much hope of controlling us, as for once we outnumbered them, the lying, brutal scum.Then it started raining, and the protestors spontaneously started singing Why does it always rain on me? The police relaxed and even smiled as they realised that the crowd was angry and determined but still had a sense of humour.

Police tactics were to try and divide us by lying to us. They told us that there were enough busses for half of us, and that the rest would have to disperse. But as soon as the crowd started to separate and the police tried to establish a line between the protestors, people realised what was going on and decided to all stay together. No bastard buses, of course.

So, aimlessly, we marched down Princes Street, lead by the socialist organisers. What we should have done is sit down on the spot and not move until they had transport for all of us.

When we got to the end of Princes Street, police – with the help of the socialists – tried to corral us down Lothian road for a demonstration in the Meadows. I mean, what’s the point of having a demonstration in a park?

Fortunately, the protestors were having none of that, and marched slowly back along Princes Street to the National Gallery at The Mound. At this point we managed to seriously inconvenience that self-aggrandising, self-appointed saviour of Africa, Bob Geldof, who was trapped when his van was surrounded by the police blockade set up for us. He was on his way to the G8 meeting when he should have been with us.

Then the organisers stupidly agreed to leave the group to negotiate transport with the police. Now, what gives them the right to go and negotiate out of sight? The
decisions are for all of us to make. So, the police tricked them and arrested them under anti-terror legislation, leaving the crowd and probably better off.

Chasing protestors up Cockburn street

Eventually Robocop reinforcements arrived, as well as police horses, and the crowd was chased up The Mound, and down Market street. When they tried to move back towards new town, police baton charged and chased everyone up Cockburn Street onto the Royal Mile, and from there down South Bridge towards the Meadows and the end of any meaningful protest. All of this took all day – it was about 4:30 by the time the protestors were forced out of the city centre, and so on this day that a gang
murderers met in a grand hotel in rural Scotland, it was at least not business as usual in Edinburgh.

The police are lying, bastard scum. They lied to us and tricked us throughout the day. They claimed that they are trying to ‘facilitate peaceful protest’, but instead of negotiating with the organisers, they arrested them. They told us a number of lies to discourage us from attempting to go to Gleneagles.

It was an interesting experience. Today I took part in a demo that I supported 100%. I wanted to go to Gleneagles to express my disgust, and that right was denied me, so I was determined to stay on the streets of the city. Now that I have fought for it, I feel like it is my city too, to an extent.

Both previous protests I haven’t felt entirely comfortable with. Make Poverty History wasn’t political enough, it was cool, but really just a happy clappy carnival that made everyone feel like they had done their bit without threatening power.

Then the anarchist debacle on Monday I didn’t feel comfortable with either. While I blame the police entirely for using Robocop tactics on what was essentially a low key and good natured demonstration, thus precipitating the violence, once it had all
started, I didn’t really see the point of further skirmishes with the police. I really don’t like violence and see no point in fighting the police unless there is a real political goal that needs to be reached. I mean, haven’t you guys ever heard of the Temporary Autonomous Zone? It’s simply not worth the effort of defending every space. Pick your battles, and make sure you have enough support so that you are not isolated.

But today’s march I felt good about being on, and right now I feel extremely angry at the disgusting way that the police treated us. We were peaceful protestors and we were treated like potential terrorists.

Later, watching the news, I saw the ‘violence’ wreaked by the 4000 protestors who did manage to Gleneagles, and I am totally behind it. What’s the point of protest if you don’t challenge power? None of the ‘violent hooligans’ had any interest in hurting anyone. They wanted to get close enough to Gleneagles to actually show the world leaders how angry everyone is with them. The violence, as usual, came from the paramilitary crack down from the police. They landed storm troopers by helicopter to
tackle unarmed protestors, for god’s sake. They have full riot gear, helmets, shields and batons, and there were 11 000 of them in the biggest police operation in British history. What did the protestors have? What ever they could find in the field. More power to them, and I salute them for having the courage to try and resist a line of storming thugs in black.

And then that wanker George Bush having a bicycle accident….

The worst moment of the day? Getting home and putting on the news and realising that the G8 is no longer a priority, as it has been upstaged by the announcement that London will stage the Olympics at some date far in the future. OK, fair enough, make the annoucement, but to show boring scenes of delegates in a hotel over and over again smacked of media conspiracy to distract the feckless public from the G8 and fill thir empty heads with pretty pictures of people running and jumping and swimming and smiling.

My favourite moment? Being in the crowd, looking the Filth square in the eye and singing:

These boots are made for walking
And that’s just what they’ll do.
One of these days these boots are gonna
walk all over you.

You better believe it. Avanti!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    July 8, 2005 12:47 pm

    Good for you man!

  2. Albert permalink
    July 8, 2005 1:03 pm

    Wish I was there where it’s all happening. When I was in London for Dubya’s visit with Queenie, there were protests to try and make Dubya aware of what a wanker we think he is. Of course all and any dissent was kept so far from his convoy with police barricades that you needed binoculars just to see his 47 Armani-clad bodyguards. Then, minutes later, a reproter at a press conference asked Bush what he thought about the general dissent on the streets, and he answered that he couldn’t imagine what the reporter was referring to. It makes you wonder why they don’t just have the summit in secrecy at Uvumbu Lodge in the Okavango, if they’re so keen on Africa and isolation.

    Then if only the terrorists got their lazy, degenerate arses off their TNT and started targetting the real culprits instead of innocent civilians. Supposedly nearly 2-million people filled the streets of London when we marched against the Iraq invasion. The bombers were clearly targeting those same people, no? Imagine having your family killed, and then going and killing other innocent families who had nothing (directly) to do with the demise of yours. That doesn’t even make emotional sense. But that’s not the case, is it. Terrorism, I suspect, isn’t feuled by anger and revenge, but by ideology.

    Anyway, cool blog man!

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