The main point of this post is to ask some questions about the tactics of the 'anti authoritarian' bloc in parliament square.
For those of you that wernt there, the bloc (comprising about 25 people) turned up and immediatley launched into the police lines. With consultation with other protesters, this could have been a (partial) sucess, but instead it was nothing more than a 30 second scuffle. The media scrum around the bloc outnumbered bloc participants, which some seemed pleased with, making lame attempts to block camera shots and saying 'no journos'. as the bloc was retreating, one member was overheard saying 'we just did it for the cameras'.
The blocs action resulted in the cops penning us in, exept for the anti-authoritarian bloc, most members of which disapeared, and were not seen for the rest of the day.
We are all for black blocs, anti-authoritarian and anarchist blocs (being anarchists ourselves), but the point of this one seemed dubious. As a group who are willing to confront police, we have always seen it as our responsibility to shield peaceful protesters from police brutality, but on the day, the bloc escalated the situation, then the majority left, leaving protesters who had not instigated the situtation penned in for several hours trying to force our way out, and defend against police attacks alone.
We are in favour of confronting the police, but believe that people who are going to do so are willing to bear the brunt of thier actions, not allow other people (many of whom did not intend to end up in a confrontational situation to pay the price of your actions.
We hope to see confrontational politics and anti-authoritarian blocs on demos in the future, and 100% agree with the need for confrontation and direct action, but next time we hope the bloc wont ditch fellow protesters (especially, as was mentioned earlier, that one of the stated aims of almost all confronational anarchist groups of recent times has been to defend non-confrontational activists from police brutality).
We hope to see you all soon at a much bigger and succesful action.
the socpa act bans 'unauthorised' demonstrations, so in court, the police would have to prove without any reasonable doubt that you were actually a participant in such a demo and that you knew it was unauthorised.
if you were just walking towards the demo in the vicinity, the police have absolutely no power to move you away from the area, and most of them were briefed of that (one of the briefings was overheard). they also have no power to ask demand your name and address, even if they search you under 'stop and search' laws. so it's best to face them off and tell them that if they are sure you are committing a crime, then they should arrest you, otherwise they should step aside and allow you to continue your lawful business. try and get independent witnesses if the police continue to harrass you or impede your route, and make a complaint to the ipcc against their unlawful behaviour. it really is necessary to challenge them in this way.
they were telling a lot of lies that day, and were using brute force in legally indefensible actions. the worrying thing was that most people didn't challenge them. even journalists ended up giving names and addresses and getting reported under socpa - this is ludicrous and in the unlikely event it went to court on summons, they'd get off in an instant, but why go along with this harrassment and unlawful activity?
Firstly, yes, we did arrive masked up because we didn't want to be recognised and/or have our photos taken by the FIT team. We did try and get into the road which unfortunately wasn't very successful due to the huge numbers of police. I see nothing wrong with this. The demonstration was called to "Sack Parliament" with the purpose of stopping MPs getting to the opening of parliament. Given that the police are obviously going to try and stop people from doing this there was always going to be some level of confrontation.
After the initial push several of us chose to run back into Parliament Square to avoid being penned. There were also a number of people who actually shouted to let people know that a cordon was being formed and that people should move if they didn't want to get penned in. As stated, given that the aim of the demonstration was, in my understanding, was to stop parliament opening, these kind of police tactics were always likely.
The bloc wasn't brilliant by any stretch of the imagination and I was pissed off at the amount of posing for the press that went on. However I don't think it should be criticised for actually trying to do more than stand inside the Square.
I was arrested fairly early on so I don't know what happened with the bloc although I would guess that at least half ended up in the back of police vans. It's a bit churlish to blame an arrest on the actions of the group - after all it was an illegal demonstration - there was always the risk of arrest.
There were also training days that people could have gone to to learn more about public order policing. Critiqing the bloc is fair enough, but I think it'd also be nice if people had a bit more solidarity for a group of people who were actually trying to do something.
In terms of solidarity, I don't think solidarity means that you have to end up in a pen. Even on the fluffiest demonstrations everyone should constantly watch the policing, where lines are forming, where large groups of cops are suddenly moving. If I see this happening, I will shout it to let people know but I will not put myself in that pen having spotted it being about to happen.
On the bloc
We were arrested outside of the FCO.
We're on bail till December 12th.
Thing is, the pigs never gave us any warnings. They just swooped as we were leaving.
With such little numbers it is not suprising the attempts to get to parliament failed, the cause was good, the action worthwhile, but apparently only a hundred or so people thought this. Sure it failed and turned into a media spectacle, but at least those that turned up tried.