Matthew Tempest, political correspondent, at the European Social Forum
Sunday October 17, 2004
Anarchists stormed the stage at the European Social Forum in London on Saturday night, barring London Mayor Ken Livingstone from speaking.
Up to 200 demonstrators, some of them masked, took control of the Forum claiming that the event, which purports to be a celebration of global justice and peace, has sold out.
Around a dozen activists climbed scaffolding around the stage to unfurl banners with messages such as "Ken's Party, War Party" and "Another world is for sale" a pastiche of the Forum's own "Our world is not for sale" slogan.
Mr Livingstone had not yet entered the 2,000-capacity hall.
Speakers jostled for the microphone to attack the event organisers and sponsors - including The Guardian.
Protesters claim the Forum, which has attracted around 20,000 delegates, has been used as a pretext for heavy-handed security measures against campaigners and activists.
"The police have been at every squat in vans with riot gear because of this event," one said.
A representative of Indymedia, the activists' news network complained that the group's UK servers have been shut down on the FBI's orders.
He said: "One week ago the FBI issued a request to the Swiss and French governments to take down a server in London.
"How can US law be executed in the EU?" He added: "I ask the corporate media, partner of this event, The Guardian, to find out from the Home Office. They've had a week of reporting time to do it."
This was met with loud applause.
Police and private security guards stood by, while the action seemed to have the support of the majority of the 1,000-strong audience.
After around 40 minutes a procession of the anarchists left the building and proceeded away from the Forum venue at Alexandra Palace behind a banner, followed by police cars.
· The Guardian is a media partner of the European Social Forum.