Press Nonsense

What the mainstream corporate and state press say about us.

27th April

Some more articles on Staurday 27th April after the flurry following the police press conference on Friday 26th April. Full round up can be found at:

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The Times - 26th April

Anarchists plan May Day revenge on police
By Daniel McGrory

ANARCHIST groups seeking revenge on the police are planning scattered attacks on a variety of secret targets in London during next week’s May Day demonstrations.

Organisers say they want to make sure that protesters do not get corralled by police as they were last year, when thousands of people found themselves trapped in Oxford Circus for eight hours.

This time protest groups are taking care not to advertise their tactics on their websites, some of which the police have shut down after raids in recent days. A raid in Stoke Newington, North London, included the seizure of computers and documents.

One organiser who took part in planning last year’s “May Day Monopoly” protest, which focused on London landmarks named on the board game, said: “We made it too easy for the police. They knew where we were heading and they were waiting for us.

“It is better if we sacrifice the chance of getting big numbers by showing our hand and instead this time we have the element of suprise.”

Some anarchist groups, including anti-war demonstrators, want to take over a May Day march through the capital organised by the trade union movement, culminating in a rally in Trafalgar Square, permitted by Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London. TUC officials said that their own stewards and the police would carefully monitor the demonstration, which they hoped would attract as many as 40,000 supporters.

The “Wombles” group said the focus of their demonstration would be Horseferry Road Magistrates’ Court, where the trial begins of seven of its supporters. They are charged with public order offences last October in Oxford Street; they claim that they were on their way to a Hallowe’en party.

The trial is expected to continue on May 1 and Wombles, in their white padded overalls and face masks, said they intended to make their presence felt at the London court.

The Metropolitan Police expects to deploy around 5,000 officers next Wednesday, with more in reserve. Senior officers said the anarchists’ intentions were not as obvious as last year, but they were ready with “a robust plan” to take on any mobs that tried to damage property.

One source said: “We are aware that, after what happened last year, some want their revenge and are calling it a ‘re-match’, but we are prepared.”

Sir John Stevens, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, said his men were briefed on attempts by anarchist groups to outwit crowd control tactics used in the past. Police had uncovered evidence that ringleaders intended to give the police the run-around, he said, and this year’s tactics were designed to thwart the troublemakers.

Two years ago violent protesters ran amok in Whitehall, defiled the Cenotaph and defaced the statue of Winston Churchill before they were corralled by police in Trafalgar Square. Their actions meant that trade unionists could not continue their march. Preventing widespread damage last year, Scotland Yard described its crowd control tactics as a victory, angering some radical groups, who this year are seeking a confrontation with police in Oxford Street.

One idea is to stage what some are calling “the world’s biggest football match” in the shopping street, which would bring it to a standstill for a second year. One of the few advertised events, the plan is to play gameball, an early, free-for-all precursor of football.

Last year’s trouble cost Oxford Street shops more than £20 million in damage and lost business. Store owners are consulting police on whether they should close, board their shopfronts and send staff home.

Other anarchist organisers want to focus their attacks on Mayfair, where several conglomerates have their headquarters.

Police chiefs doubt reports claiming that the impetus has gone from the anarchist movement after recent security operations and the events of September 11. They believe that hardened protesters will be careful not to congregate in a single area in order to prevent themselves from being hemmed in.

The Guardian - 19th April

Journalists just get lazier & lazier. Along with similar articles today, in The Times, Mirror, Express & Independent (all of which use identical words & phrases, suggesting that they have been taken word-for-word from a Scotland Yard press release), The Guardian manage to completely ignore the Festival of Alternatives, the rest of the 'Mayday in Mayfair' events, the issues, & the fact that it's completely legal and in fact a human right to have a demonstration without asking permission from the police. Also, none of them manage to actually come up with a website that uses the term "rematch". This site certainly dosen't.

Hard core of protesters looking for May Day 'rematch', Met suggests Nick Hopkins, crime correspondent Friday April 19, 2002,7369,686909,00.html

Police fear a hard core of anti-capitalist demonstrators is gearing up for a "rematch" on May 1 in London, to avenge the stifling of last year's attempted protest by zero tolerance tactics that used indiscriminate corralling of protesters into a tight cordon.

The Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir John Stevens, said yesterday that up to 5,000 officers were being briefed on the potential problem, and would be available on the day if needed.

Concern at the Met has grown because of activity on radical websites encouraging supporters to come in force. Last year, demonstrators were urged to gather at Oxford Circus for a game of May Day Monopoly. This year, a mass game of May Day football in Oxford Street is being suggested. "They are referring to it as the rematch," said Sir John. "They felt they lost last year and want to win this year."

The Met believes, however, that demonstrators will not congregate in a single area and thereby risk being hemmed in. "They want to weaken our resources by popping up in different parts of London," the commissioner said. "We will do everything we need to do to make sure there is no breakdown in public order or damage to buildings."

Though the Met has been accused in the past of over-reacting to the threat, and of treating demonstrators too roughly, officers believe the reluctance of protesters to speak to them beforehand shows there is a need to be cautious.

"If they had some kind of structure, that would help us," said Sir John. "We don't really know what they are up to at this stage. We are trying to get in touch with the organisers... if they want to have a lawful demonstration, we will allow that."

He confirmed that Scotland Yard's special branch had been monitoring the internet to identify potential troublemakers.

Last year, the Met ring-fenced Oxford Circus with officers in riot gear, resulting in thousands of peaceful protesters, and some tourists, being trapped for up to six hours. With police officers and demonstators both crushed together, a tense situation became even more agitated; police claimed that the tactic had been a success, because criminal damage to property was minimised.

The civil rights group Liberty questioned whether the response was proportionate, while hundreds of demonstrators claimed they had been unlawfully detained.

This year's police operation will be orchestrated by assistant commissioner Mike Todd, who was in charge last year. He has insisted that last year's tactics were necessary to avoid the havoc of 2000, when demonstrators ran amok in Parliament Square and defaced the statue of Winston Churchill.

The Independent - 2nd April 2002

Badly researched cut 'n' paste job from the Independent. How can anarchists hijack a day that was originally called in memory of 4 executed anarchists?

(for the real story on Globalise Resistance & "anti-capitalists" happily marching into a police-cordoned Trafalgar Square on Mayday, see our article on the latest news page>>>)

May day alert

London braces itself for the attentions of an unprecedented coalition of revolt.

By Steve Boggan -
02 April 2002

Police and anti-capitalist campaigners are preparing for the biggest and potentially most violent May Day demonstrations in a decade on the back of a groundswell of public anger over privatisation, mass redundancies and the war on terrorism.

For the first time, Globalise Resistance, a socialist umbrella group opposing capitalism, will march side by side with official trade unionists, while groups of anarchists converge on Mayfair, the London home of many wealthy people.

Organisers are determined the protests should be peaceful – and not provide a repeat of May Day two years ago, when a statue of Winston Churchill in Parliament Square was given a turf mohican.

But a mix of factors may result in good intentions turning sour. Thousands of supporters of the Stop the War Coalition, which attracted a crowd of up to 100,000 for recent rallies against war in Afghanistan and Iraq, plan to join this year's celebrations, swelling last year's crowd – between 4,000 and 8,000 – to one many times larger.

In the midst of two main bodies of peaceful activity will be hundreds of people who were among 2,000 protesters corralled by police last year at Oxford Circus for up to eight hours with no food, water or toilet facilities in a crowd control tactic that many believe was unlawful imprisonment.

One organiser of the event said: "They [those hemmed in last year] are only a few of the thousands we hope will turn up, but if they are bent on revenge against the police, they could cause havoc. Our real fear is that they will give the police an excuse to react. In recent years, riot police have been more than happy to swing their batons but we get the blame for the trouble when people start stampeding out of their way."

The London Mayday Organising Committee, mainly made up of trade unions, has embraced Globalise Resistance this year, the body around which most problems have circled in the past.
Usually, an annual trade unions parade attracts few marchers and is largely ignored by the media, which concentrates on the activities organised by Globalise Resistance. This year, however, their efforts will be united in what they hope will be a mixture of peaceful celebration and pointed demonstration over globalisation, privatisation and war.

Guy Taylor, a Globalise Resistance activist, said: "We are all very excited about marching with the trades unions.

"It makes sense really because we are both anti- capitalists and, together, we are a powerful force to be reckoned with. There is a lot of dissatisfaction among the public and workers at the moment over privatisation, terrible public services, thousands of redundancies and the prospect of a war with Iraq. We think this will bring people out to protest in record numbers."
If so, the protest would represent a new high water mark of a British tradition of direct action that, before it was appropriated by anarchists in the late 1990s, had seen off Margaret Thatcher's detested poll tax (through demonstrations in London) and ensured that no more Newbury bypasses or Manchester airport second runways would be introduced in a hurry (through famed eco-protesters such as Swampy and the labyrinthine caves they locked themselves in).

May Day, the calendar's most permissive day and one festival the Christian Church and other authorities have never quite controlled, was always the focus of dissent: the execution of eight anarchist workers demanding an eight-hour working day resulted in it being declared International Workers Day in 1889.

But, at Trafalgar Square on 1 May 2000, hard-core anarchists – known as "spikies" rather than the pro-peaceful "fluffies" – confounded direct action's traditional intellectual rigour.
Mass protests at Seattle and Washington had started alerting mass media to protests against organisations such as the International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organisation – and the damaging effects of the rise in anarchists were revealed in the depleted numbers at Oxford Street last year. Amid plans for a series of actions billed widely as "May Day Monopoly" – autonomous DIY action against symbols of capitalism around London – many law-abiding protesters were deterred by fears of violence and the Scotland Yard's promise of zero tolerance.

Bob Tennant, secretary of the Greater London Area Trades Union Committee, said anarchists had always seized upon the front provided by lawful protest but security at this year's march would be enhanced by liaison with police and a commitment by each group permitted on the march to steward itself.

The importance of the occasion would be enhanced by the fact that organisers had been given permission to march to Trafalgar Square and hold a rally there while Parliament was sitting, he added. Mr Tennant said: "That will be the first time this has been allowed in over 100 years. There is a sessional order dating back to 1829 that normally prevents marches and demonstrations within a mile of the Palace of Westminster when Parliament is sitting. We are very pleased about that. There will be a rally in Trafalgar Square and some colourful events organised by Globalise Resistance."

The organisers are hoping the official march and rally will be swelled by thousands of disaffected members of the National Union of Teachers, the RMT rail union and the Communication Workers Union, all of whom are involved in disputes over pay, redundancies and privatisation.

A spokesman for the CWU said: "We haven't decided yet what to do officially but, with 40,000 postal workers' jobs under threat, I think you could expect thousands of our members to make their own way there."

While police are dealing with those protests, further west, anarchist groups will be holding several "carnivalesque" events in Mayfair.

On their website – only periodically available, they claim, because of police action – they call on their supporters to protest peacefully while warning them to beware of the police tactics that stifled them last year. "If there is any trouble, it won't be started by us," said one yesterday.

"There has generally been a feeling that we should attempt to answer the question, 'What are you for, because we know what you are against?' So, if anything, what we do should be fun and peaceful. There is a lot of rage around at the moment with this Government and wealthy governments worldwide, but there is also a lot of common sense.

"We want our message to get across, rather than have the media concentrate on violent protest. What is interesting, though, is that they said the anti-capitalist movement had gone quiet after 11 September but half a million people turned up in Barcelona [for recent protests]. If anything, we're getting bigger and stronger."

A Scotland Yard spokeswoman declined to discuss police tactics for the event but said the officers were planning responses for every eventuality.

The Observer - Sunday March 24, 2002

The self-styled "liberal" "news"paper resort to making up quotes for this tabloidesque piece of fiction.

Anarchists plan jubilee mayhem

Protest groups join forces to disrupt Queen's celebrations and bring May Day chaos to the capital.

Paul Harris and Burhan Wazir
Sunday March 24, 2002
The Observer -,6903,672983,00.html

Anarchist groups are planning a series of disruptive actions across Britain this summer that will endanger the Queen's jubilee celebrations and cause running battles with police on May Day, The Observer can reveal.

The Movement Against the Monarchy (Mam) is co-ordinating a summer-long campaign, which will include an attempt to take control of London's Millennium Bridge on 4 June while the Queen is attending a service in nearby St Paul's Cathedral.

Activists plan to let off powerful fireworks to try to disrupt the ceremony, and to unfurl anti-monarchist banners. 'We can't wait for public apathy to destroy the monarchy; we have to take direct action,' said one organiser at a London meeting last week, attended by The Observer .

Other protests are also planned across Britain as the Queen tours the country to attend events being held to mark 50 years of her reign. In the Suffolk town of Bury St Edmunds, where the Queen is scheduled to arrive on 17 July, Mam activists plan to launch fireworks near her motorcade. 'The point is to make as much noise as possible,' said Shaun Gratton, one organiser of the Wombles, a highly organised anarchist group involved in the planned demonstrations.

In Sheffield, Mam activists are similarly planning to disrupt the Queen's visit. 'The idea is to repeat the sort of thing that happened in London last May Day if we can. That day, the anti-capitalists shut down the city. With the monarchy celebrations, we would ideally like to do that to every city in Britain. Basically, wherever she goes, she would be met by chaos,' said local organiser Bob Silby.

Identical campaigns are being hatched in Arbroath in Scotland, Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Durham, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Warwickshire and Manchester. Police sources have vowed that the protesters will not be allowed to disrupt the jubilee events.

Special Branch officers are monitoring individuals and gathering information from internet sites and chatrooms used to discuss anarchist and anti-globalisation issues. Intelligence will be passed on to regional forces. 'We will stop anyone from causing trouble,' said one police source.

At a safe house for the Wombles in north London, members of the group would not give their full names, but told The Observer of plans to disrupt jubilee events. 'Regardless of what the police might think they can do, a full-on and organised attack against the Queen's movements would throw the whole celebration into panic,' said one activist called Rachel.

'The Queen is as bad as any conglomerate I can think of. As bad as Nike or Starbucks. So we are working to make this a jubilee event for her to remember,' said Stuart.

Many activists behind the anti-jubilee protests will also be involved in this year's May Day protests on 6 May, which will aim to bring the wealthiest and busiest areas of central London to a halt. Last year thousands of protesters brought Oxford Street to a standstill, costing local businesses millions of pounds. Police forcibly contained the demonstrators, earning them condemnation from human rights groups, but the tactic was successful in preventing large-scale rioting.

This year May Day organisers plan to split their protest into many small groups in a bid to avoid being hemmed in by police. Unlike last year, details of meeting places and times will not be widely circulated, but instead will be decided at the last minute and passed by word of mouth to avoid police monitoring.

The Observer has learned that the May Day protesters, expected to number at least 5,000, will be targeting the Mayfair area of the capital. While thousands of protesters will be intent on peaceful demonstrations, a hard core, thought to number several hundred, will target banks, fast-food chains and other multi-national firms with branches in the area.

'May Day is one of the main reasons why we exist as a movement. Nothing would stop us holding it,' said one Womble.

Police have hacked into several May Day internet discussion groups, forcing one to close down, and are launching massive preparations to prevent any widespread violence. As last year, all police leave will be cancelled in the run-up to the protest, with around 5,000 officers on the streets of the capital.

Police are set to use rapid-reaction mobile units to keep track of protesters' movements and respond quickly to any trouble. 'If people want to approach us about a peaceful protest, we can talk to them. But they never do when it comes to May Day,' a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police said.