the 'food liberation front', in association with the occupy london energy, equity and environment group, called the protest at crossharbour DLR, a couple of stops from canary wharf, starting at 5.30 on friday evening.
at the site, a reception committee, comprising several riot police vans and two teams of forward intelligence together with their stills and video police photographers, was waiting.
at 5.30. a handful of people, mainly well-dressed middle-aged women, including the london assembly green member, jenny jones, turned up.
meanwhile, a bicycle sound system followed by a few dozen activists were trying to make their way down as an impromptu march from the 'they owe us' assembly that had taken place earlier in the afternoon at canary wharf ( http://is.gd/PorU8X ). their progress was hampered by police continually pushing them and out of the road onto the pavement while a row of police vans following the group held the traffic up (contrast this behaviour with un-policed turkish march next day in harringay http://is.gd/YOGD32 ).
once the small crowd had assembled, with new arrivals and some local people swelling numbers to around a hundred or so, there were speeches from jenny jones and various activists, and an announcement of yummy free food supplied by the hare krishna crew, to be followed by a 'direct action'.
at around 6.30, after pretty much everyone had been photographed from every angle by police photographers, the small group set off across the nearby retail park to the large 24-hour asda store, police copter hovering overhead. no particular attempt was made to enter the supermarket, but a phalanx of TSG officers spread out across the threshold and then began the farcical quizzing and decision-making to allow bona-fide consumers in (gotta keep those profits up) while keeping protestor riff-raff out. (i got in, but surprisingly wasn't tempted to buy anything, shortly later thrown out for taking photographs).
outside in the car park, there were some speeches about why we were there. it turns out asda, owned by mega-corporation wal-mart, has refused to sign the bangladesh treaty which offers some small protection for exploited garment workers (1000 recently killed in factory collapse there). asda also refuses to label GMO foods sold in its shop. it was also implicated in the recent horsemeat scandal, and uses workfare slave labour.
activists handed out loads of leaflets to shoppers, and then a small procession made its way across the car park and into the mudchute community farm and park.
settling in a playing field, around 40 people sat in the welcome sunshine to hear a few more speakers, while as many riot cops hung around in the bushes and the helicopter buzzed above.
speakers from war on want, fareshare, farmer's unions, via campesina, and a permaculture expert between them eloquently made the connections between corporate greed, land grabs, GMO, exploitation, repression and climate change.
the energy, equity and environment group can be followed on the http://occupylondon.org.uk website
for sporadic live tweets from london actions @indyrikki