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l0unge | 02.05.2001 01:01 | Birmingham

The protest in Birmingham was limited to a improvised march, a rolling press conference and a downright hefty police presence..

MayDay 2001 - Birmingham
The protest in Birmingham was limited to a brief enforced march, a rolling press conference and a downright hefty police presence.

Around 20 demonstrators met around midday in central Birmingham by the city's virgin mega store, not the city's best landmark, and were guided by an absolutely fantastic amount of police to a pedestrian area within the Queensway/Colmore Circle area. More came and went over the course of two hours and a strict cordon was kept by the police which they allowed people to enter but not leave. Although from a wide range of political backgrounds, the demonstrators kept the focus on capitalism and its obvious inadequacies.

The demonstration itself was small and non-disruptive, it was very well attended by local television and radio media who interviewed several of the protesters and did a spot-on job of making the place look crowded during their establishing shots :) Because of the size of the event it was easy, especially for the radio journalists, to interview members of the public nearby and get their opinions on the demonstration and its purpose.

Police intelligence gatherers were also there in number, climbing on top of flower beds either to film the demonstrators in the middle of the procession from the meeting point or to get a more artistic angle.

There were a few arrests (don't know any follow up detail yet), one or two for shouting, one for walking in the road after being told not to and one for no discernable reason. A student, joining the protest to raise awareness of the 'fuck fees' campaign, was also arrested for having the words 'fuck fees' written on his jeans (?).

As protesters and the many onlookers dispersed afterwards, the police handed out photocopied notices (the text of which is below) to demonstrators and anybody else who looked like they might be one. Why this wasn't distributed earlier, or read out with a loudhailer (when it would have been more relevant) is unclear. For the next few hours the police patrolled key areas in the city prepared for further action, at one point (totally unrelated to the protest) being lucky enough to run into someone they could arrest. A successful day all round then :)



Take notice that I, the Chief Officer of Police for the West Midlands, reasonably believe that the 'Birmingham Mayday anti-capitalist demonstration' planned to be held in Birmingham City Centre on Tuesday 1st May 2001 will result in serious public disorder, serious damage to property or serious disruption to the life of the community.

I hereby give the following directions under Section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986..

(A) Location - The demonstration (a 'public assembly') must be held in the pedestrian underpass at Colmore Circus Queensway. (Access can be gained via the steps from Upper Bull Street). This area is highlighted on the map overleaf (not shown here).

(B) Duration - The demonstration must end no later than 3:30 p.m. (15:30 British Summertime on Tuesday 1st May 2001).

You are hereby warned that under Section 14(4) of this Act, any person who organises a public assembly and knowingly fails to comply with (either of) these conditions is guilty of an offense.

Under Section 14(6) of this Act, any person who incites another to commit an offense under subsection 14(5) is guilty of an offense.

Any person committing the above offenses may be liable to arrest and prosecution.
(It's stamped and signed with a big friendly squiggle by the 'Assistant Chief Constable (Operations), and dated '30 Apr 2001' )

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