Ali Sharp | 06.07.2005 19:04 | G8 2005
Clown, kid and cop
Kids Against Bad Things
The first day of the G8 summit in Gleneagles was disrupted at numerous points and police were, and continue to be, kept busy by autonomous actions in Edinburgh, around the 'gates of steel' surrounding the actual hotel, and on the motorways connecting the two. Meanwhile the last Live8 concert has begun at Murrayfield, further adding to the congested roads and general disorder.
Two Chinook helicopters were needed to rush in huge numbers of police reinforcements in full riot gear after roughly 300 activists broke away from the officially sanctioned demonstration in nearby Auchterarder and made for the perimeter fence surrounding the Gleneagles Hotel. Baton charges and police violence ensued. Latest reports say that the protesters have now been forced back to the edge of Auchterarder.
There are no reliable estimates of arrests, with reports varying from 15 to 83.
The main highways in central Scotland were initially blockaded by small groups of protesters, and later by police. Trains suffered the same fate; an action instigated by direct action by activists, followed by police closure.
Delegates were held up in the early morning in Edinburgh, and by the disruptions on motorways.
Meanwhile, the police - obstensibly claiming violence on Monday in Stirling - unilaterally decided at 10.30am to cancel the demonstration in Auchterarder organised weeks in advance by police, local authorities and the G8 Alternatives, a broad-based group of trade unions, church and environmental groups. The run-on effect of this decision to some extent defined the afternoon's activities, with a spontaneous march immediately setting off up Princes Street. Numbers at this march steadily grew, and other actions sprouting off this first one. Full report
Once the police decided to reinstate the legal protest, at around 4.30pm, events across the various fronts were already spirally out of their control. Despite a massive advantage in numbers and ability to move freely, it seems that the police had little idea what was going to happen next. It remains to be seen what will happen tonight in Edinburgh, with the massive numbers of people who have been travelling around the countryside making their way back to the capital and 60,000 people expected for the Live8 event.
As all this goes on, one Live8 organiser helpfully suggests that "these mad people should just leave this country immediately" and Bob Geldof admits that he is imagining the Live8 audience "dead".