Edward Campbell | 04.07.2005 19:37 | G8 2005
The Police forced a large part of the Carnival Protest into an Endinburgh Park. They kept about 400 protestors, plus many shoopers tourists and townspeople caught up in the carnival imprisoned - locked in the park for over 45 minutes.
The police started clearing Princess Street at about 12:30. They were moving people along - protesters, tourists and shopers – from the West End towards the East, sweeping all before them.
The Rebel Clown Insurgent Army had just left the carnival in that direction.
It appeared that the Police had blocked in the larger part of the carnival at the West End, and they were forcing everyoneelse up princess. Street. This meant that new arrivals could not join the main bloc.
At about 13:15 pm there was a call to sit down in the road, about 30 yards before the junction with Frederick Street. Most protestors sat down in a line across the street. The police stopped. Reinforcements were brought in so there were about 100 police, some in riot gear in a stand off with the sitting protestors.
Tourrists and shoppers crowded around and watched as the Clowns turned up and began performing. They made several of the stern faced police breakout into smiles or laughter. Each time they achieved their goal there was a cheer , and then they moved onto the next one.
At about 14:00pm an idea to move on was discussed by some protestors. The police seemed content to stay put, and not challenge the sit-down. The clowns were on the point of making a decision to move on (or not), to try and get back through town and around the castle to join what was thought to be a still trapped main group at the West End of Princess Street – the staring point of the carnival.
The a roar was audible - the sound of a large group of people. This noise got louder and the sound of drumss, whistles became clear and louder. The a roar, as over 300 plus protesors appeared from the junction of Hanover Street, and moved on to Pricness Street turing left, eastwards. There was a huge roar when the two bloc met, the much larger coming around the backstreets from the start of the carnival at the West End.
Whistles and crys shouts echoed between the high buildind of the city's main thoroughfare - an imposing, wide street that offers a view of Endinburgh castle, on the hill.
So the sit down protesters joined them, without having to go around town, along with a few tourists and shoppers who now seemed part of the action, and everyone moved at speed East. It was certain where they were marching to, but a few said it was towards the US Embassy.
The march was met near the end of Princess Street by a line of police with their batons raised backed up by more riot police who had rapidlty moved into position. Had they arrived a few minutes later the bloc would have been moving off without musch resistance to the destination.
There was a tentative challenge given to the police line by the bloc, but the Police lashed out viciously. No one wanted to get seriuosly hurt so they backed off.
Some protestors produced a defencive shield at this point to stop the police moving; it was fitted together in several parts then held in the path of the approaching baton weilding coppers.
They held them of for several minutes and there was a brief standoff. But the coppers moved foward lashing out viciously with their battons.
The police moved forward and lashed at the what were just soft wooden shields, linked together with handles glued on held by the protestors. They quickl broke the span in at least parts. The protestors retreated. The police grabbed the shield, then charged very aggressively at the retreating protestors who got out the way.
Somebody rolled a upturned hard-plastic litter bin that had been ripped out of the ground at the police. To slow down the now quickly moving police. They filmed the peron who did it.
At 14:20 outside M&S 2 rows of riot police, and police six vans were lined across princess street.
There wrere over 200 hundred now trapped between two lines of police, and at least another 200 went into the adjacent park, West Princess Street Gardens.
Another 50 riot police appeaerd, shilds telescopic batons in hand and scuffles broke out with a the large groop on Princess Street.
At this point a steaker runa from the crowd an ran up Princess Street. It was Male, about 5' 11'' curly hair and a fairly capacious bottom. This releived the tension a little, as laughter passed along princess street with the streaker.
At 2:25 about 100 riot push some protester, inlciding Tourisits and shoppers up South David Street, who were resisting. The police held the line across this juction.
At 14:30 the police, very aggressively, pushed about 30 protestors East, and away from the main bloc down the street.
14:30 Most protestors then moved into the park which had a few small entrances along the road. This seemed to be the police tactics. Move the remainder into the park.
More riot police appeared, many with fairly large blue gas bottles on their belts, and a few with red ones.
14:32 protestors picked up large woden park benches, probably to make a baracsde, or maybe even chuck them over the fence at the coppers.
14:35 About 300 TO 400 now in the park. All exits were lined with police or locked. The police also guarded an fencing that could be scaled on thte perimeter of the park.
14: 36 riot police moved into the park, but were met with stong resistance. It appeared they were after someone. They ended up being surrounded by protestors who stared petling flowers plucked from the beds, and loose clumps of mud at them. There became covered in mud and flowers. The protestors fought them as some of them used battons. The police eventually made their escape.
I saw one young man who was injured. Beaten on the back and across the chest. He tried to show me the policeman who did is but could not locate him.
As well, the streaker had returned, now looking a little dejected. He had not made his escape up princess strret and must have been turned back by the coppers like everyone else. He was wanderring about bollock naked but nobody pain much attention, as all hell was breaking loose, then calming down. This raising and lowering of the tension followed several times, provoked by coppers in the park.
14:41 a large group of riost police – maybe 50 – come into the park through another entrance. The are very aggressive. Everyone is now trapped in the park – all exits are locked or blocked by riot police. It is not obvious why the police have come into the park – perhaps, like before – they are looking for particular individuals.
Theys lots of noise and interaction between police and trapped protestors, scuffles and lots of shouting.
The police are very aggressive. A woman gets hit in the forehead – she is bleeding - her friends take care of her.
Two youngsters about 14, and two young women, one carrying a Palestinian Flag and some clowns confron very aggressive riot police at one entrance. They are cool, and only a foot away from aggressive coppers waving batons.
Now about 150 coppers in park. Moving around randomly. They are cocky and dont seem afraid of the, by now, very angry and militant bloc loosely grouped trough which they move aggressively. It appears this is just a show of strength, since they are not persuing anyone in particular and, in any case, everyone is imprisoned in Park.
Who realised they were imprisoned complained directly to the cops that this was illegal. That they had no right to do it. AN that it didn't make semse anyway.
Well, this was a containment tactic that had trapped many townspoeple, tourists – young and old.
15:00pm. The injured, old and shoppers are not allowed to leave the park. Some locals are furious about being locked. But the police seem intent on containment.
At 3:15 a small gate openning onto waverly street is opened, ostensibly to let out the injured. I saw four injured. Three head / face injuries, and the back injury mentioned earlier.
15:30 pm People were too allowed to leave by this small gate which had been unlocked by a council workman on the instruccions of the police. He told me the police had told them to lock this gate earlier, and another one on the other side of the park.
15:45, protestors, who realised they could, trickled out of the park. There was no announcement,
15:50 A bloc still remained in the park.