Massive demonstrations have taken place in and around Trafalgar Square in London. A 17 feet-high statue of George Bush was toppled to huge cheers from the crowd at 17:22 GMT [ Video]. Estimates of today's attendance range from AP syndicating around the world the number of 50,000 (later amended), over the Metropolitan Police's official estimate of 70,000 (later updated to 110,000) to the Stop the War Coalition ever increasing estimate of up to 300,000 (a number to which Indymedia reporters on the scene agree). Whatever the numbers, today's event looks to be the biggest weekday demonstration of recent years.
Update: Indymedia UK received over a million hits on Thursday (1,119,801 to be exact) - not bad for a website run by DIY collectives all over the UK. We would like to emphasize that Indymedia exists by non-hierarchical organization and has no other resources than the commitment of people donating their time and talent.
To kick the day off activists unfurled a banner reading "Bush Free Zone" from Admiralty Arch, see report and press release and pictures. To read up on the events as they unfolded check the Full Timeline of the events in London.Photos: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | gallery
Reports: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 |
Audio: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7
Video: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
Across The UK
Aberdeen: Demonstration against Bush.
Barnsley: another Bush statue toppling.
Sedgefield: Several bonfires were lit up as a preparation for today's demos in Sedgefield.
Sheffield: anti-Bush demo outside the Town Hall, followed by a sitdown protest at Furnival Gate roundabout.
Swindon: Bush statue toppling in Swindon.
List of messages of support
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17
See also corporate media reports
[21:55]: All Sambistas are now out of cordon and all safe and well. They were all photographed on way out. During the previous crush in Marble Arch a sambista described being grabbed by her [long] hair by a copper then kneed in back of the legs. Another band member was shoved onto floor by police.
[21:46]: Reports of one samba band player breaking police cordon.
[21:40]: Police are now letting individuals out slowly and individually, photographing each person as they leave.
[21:32]: Police have moved back towards Marble Arch a bit; the situation there is described as "static", although the police cordon is still in place
[21:26]: A group of about twenty reporters have been told to move by police, who refuse to say the legal reason for it.
[21:19]: Report of police pushing people violently away who were on the roads surrounding Trafalgar Square. Seems calm now but police lines are forming.
[21:14]: The police are clearing people from the sides of Trafalgar Square and moving people into one controllable group. This involves pushing them into the road towards The Strand. Some people getting a little rowdy, pushing back, but nothing major.
[21:08]: Marble Arch: Sambistas still surrounded. One Sambista described the police pushing, shoving and generally being rough, she felt crushed. All are safe at the moment, the only casualties: one drum strap. She estimates 70-80 within cordon, they are being released slowly in ones and twos.
[21:05]: The Samba Band is in Marble Arch, they are still surrounded. The police are clearing previously mentioned supporters.
[21:05]: In Trafalgar Square, about 500 people are dancing and drumming around a bonfire and burning some American flags that they happened to have with them. There are now about 1000 people left there.
[20:53]: The cordon is still moving towards Hyde Park Corner.
[20:44]: The samba cordon is still moving down Oxford Street; the size of cordon is 1 lane of traffic wide and 3 police vans long. And the samba is still playing!! Supporters outside the cordon are clapping, cheering and dancing, even passers by and shoppers are joining in. A couple of times, police have grabbed people from outside cordon and put them *into* cordon.
[20:30]: There is a street party now on Hyde Park Corner but police have moved people onto the pavement and have cordoned them under "Section 52". Legal observers say there is no such law as "Section 52"
[20:26]: The samba band is still surrounded by police cordon at the junction of Oxford and Duke Streets; they are now moving slowly down Oxford Street towards Hyde Park Corner. Police, pushing from the back of the group, have linked their arms to cordon it. The band are continuing playing and playing.
[19:59]: The samba band that was previously split has reunited, and it is now completely kettled [ed - completely surrounded by police].
[19:55]: About one hundred people, including some samba, kettled in Oxford Circus.
[19:54]: Police have totally broken up the demonstrators in Piccadilly Circus and some people are heading off to Hyde Park Corner in small groups.
[19:49]: Trafalgar Square: things seem relatively relaxed there and there are still lots of people there.
[19:44]: A group have broken away at Regent Street, a samba band within it. The police are being very rough with people marching towards Piccadilly Circus.
[19:38]: Trafalgar Square: The crowd are moving along Regent Street coming out of Trafalgar Square. Two confirmed arrests there.
[19:32]: Piccadilly Circus: Demonstrators are now in Piccadilly Circus, police are cordoning at the bottom of Regent Street near Pall Mall.
[19:26]: There are scuffles between Piccadilly Circus and St James' Church. As people try to enter and leave Piccadilly Circus, there is scuffling between protesters and police. Folks are being thrown to the ground, police are grabbing people and de-arresting is taking place.
[19:25]: A big fight has started in Trafalgar Square: there have been arrests, number not yet known. About 1,000 people have broken through the police cordon, and moved to Piccadilly Circus: police can't establish a line there. Police are currently cordoning the bottom of Regent Street near Pall Mall.
[19:15]: A large group, possibly about 500, are leaving Trafalgar Square via Pall Mall. Others wanted to follow, but police enforced the cordon.
[19:10]: The samba band and clowns have now linked up and have attracted a sizeable crowd. The police are starting to cordon Trafalgar Square and there are lines of cops moving into position at the top northwest corner of Trafalgar Square between the National Gallery and the Canadian High Commission. The cordon has not yet closed, and people are still being allowed to leave. To view a time-lapse video of Trafalgar Square from a webcam 16:00-19:00, click here [3.4 MB].
[18:48]: The mood of the protesters at the entrance to The Mall is still energetic.
[18:47]: The fire crew has been withdrawn from Trafalgar Square. A cardboard tank is being burnt, and an effigy of Bush is being burnt as well, along with a couple of American flags, all at the south end of the Square by Whitehall. Click here to listen.
[18:35]: Just outside Trafalgar Square, speeches are still going on. People are still in Trafalgar Square in large numbers, and the mood is pleasant.
[18:30]: The tail end of the demo has just entered Trafalgar Square via Charing Cross Rd. Firefighters are standing by in case the placard fires get out of hand. The general mood is good, with chanting, whistles and celebration. The end of the demo was greeted with huge roars from the crowd.
[18:01]: For the last 45-60 minutes, police have not been letting people into the Square via Whitehall but diverting so people enter via Charing Cross Road. The samba band spent quite a time outside the entrance to Downing Street. People are still coming into the Square.
[18:00]: The 3 people arrested this morning for trying to hang a banner across Admiralty Arch are still being held at Charing Cross police station over 9 hours after they were arrested. As far as we know they were only arrested for causing a public nuisance. It seems that the police are deliberately holding them for ages to prevent them having any more fun today.
[17:52]: In Trafalgar Square, fires are being lit to keep people warm. Plenty of drumming going on too.There's a police line across the Whitehall/Trafalgar Square junction, then another police line further down Whitehall. There are no protesters in between. Behind the second police line, there are more protesters including a samba band. Trafalgar Square is still full, as are the surrounding streets. There's also a police line at Pall Mall/Trafalgar Square junction. Police are not letting people out (in any numbers) of Trafalgar Square via Pall Mall or Whitehall.
[17:26]: Speakers at Trafalgar Square have just announced that the end of the march is at Aldwych.
[17:25]: Trafalgar Square is completely full. One marcher can see around 250,000 people, so we estimate around 300,000 total marching in London so far. The crowd is "very lively", he says.
[17:22]: A statue of Bush has just been toppled in Trafalgar Square. The crowd is going wild: Click here to listen | High quality video.
[17:00]: The end of the march is now on Waterloo Bridge, going south. The head of the march got here at about 15.30, which gives a rough idea of the numbers of marchers.
[16:37]: Speakers at Trafalgar Square announce that more than two hours after the start of the march, people are still leaving the Malet St assembly point.
[16:20]: Riot police have turned up in full riot gear at Kingsway, so people calmed down and started walking. But the barriers that divided the streets to keep people occupying only one direction of traffic have gone, and people are marching down the whole street.
[16:16]: The crowd are reported to have knocked over the barriers at Kingsway. Thousands of people and a samba band have taken over the street and the police have lost control.
[16:15]: Stop the War Coalition estimate that 150,000 people are marching.
[16:12]: One marcher outside Downing Street reports: "The noise here is deafening, and it's packed. There's a sound system doing anti-Bush music and impromptu anti-Bush propaganda over the PA. There's also street theatre and a good-vibes feel. A few 'I love George' placard holders are being heckled." Click here to listen.
[16:03]: As blocks of protestors arrive at Downing Street they are stopping to chant loudly "Bush go home!". People on the street report a festive atmosphere.
[15:52]: Huge crowds gathering in Trafalgar Square awaiting the arrival of the march. See webcam
[15:36]: Front of the march currently at Westminster Bridge. BBC say police estimate 50,000 people. Sky TV says 60,000 and still people arriving en mass at Malet St.
[15:25]: Huge march going over Waterloo Bridge now, having started from Malet Street around 14:00 [Video]. Our reporter is near Lancaster Place. The march is cheerful, colourful, noisy and chilled. There are riot horses at all side streets to enforce the agreed route.
[14:54]: Reports of sixth form students walking out to join demo. 200 students from Shoreditch have ignored warnings of disciplinary action, including arbitrary expulsion if arrested.
[14:48]: Police have started to close off side-roads around Malet Street as large numbers of protestors join the demonstration.
[13:42]: No medal of honour for Powell thanks to demonstrators...
[08:30]: 3 arrested for attempting to hang 'City of London Closed to George Bush' banner from Admiralty Arch.