Mayday 03: "Serious Disruption To The Business Community"
LEGAL UPDATE: Were you arrested or injured on Mayday? Did you see anyone being hit or arrested? If so please read here and here for more details.
Around the world people were out on the streets celebrating Mayday. In London the stage was set for a series of protests making the links between Arms and Oil as well as other issues. For full coverage of Mayday in London complete with pictures, audio and video see the Timeline of Events. Overall thousands joined several protests throughout the day with smaller demonstrations during the morning. In the afternoon protestors gathered at the offices of Lockheed Martin (arms manufacturers), which had already been closed for the day by the protests. One march managed to break away and danced its way through the streets of london along with critical mass bicycle protestors, complete with mobile sound system and samba band, resisting several attempts by police to surround the crowd.
Others were not so lucky and were violently pushed back by police and surrounded (one person was knocked unconscious). This group was held for several hours and slowly moved to Trafalger Square with a police escort of around 40 police riot vans!
The breakaway group ran around the streets visiting covent garden, parliament square, leicester square and many other locations in a loud carnival like procession, police all the while trying to keep up. At the scheduled 4pm Shell Oil protest meet up point on the Strand police again tried to surround the crowd, but once again the people broke free and continued occupying different streets.
Later different crowds met at the Strand end of Trafalgar Square where people danced for several hours to a sound system while becoming increasingly surrounded by police. Police invoked Section 14 of the Public Order Act, giving people until 7.05pm to disperse or face arrest for causing 'serious disruption to the business community'. As the dancing people refused to disperse / were fully surrounded, riot police were deployed on top of the hundreds of officers on the ground. Trafalger Square itself (where people had been told they could legally gather) was cleared forcibly by police, with riot police chasing a split crowd away down different streets attacking several and making arrests. The surrounded group were held for several hours until late and slowly released one at a time, many being seareched and photographed.
Many observers commented on the completely over the top police reaction. Much of the media seem seemed to be disappointed that their much predicted 'bloodbath riot' did not materialise and while some said that this was due to the policing, it was clear that if a riot had been the plan then there had been plenty of opportunity for this during the afternoon when the streets really did belong to the Mayday crowd. Millions of pounds worth of lost revenue was reported, and many of the firms seen as part of the oil / arms death machine had warned employees to take the day off work, as had other companies who are part of the global capitalist exploitation of the planet and workers.
London's Metropolitan police had earlier issued "advice" to companies and City police were running their own timeline until 7:20pm when "no demonstrators within the City boundary" were left.
In the days building up to Mayday there had also been a series of supporting actions and protests by Campaign Against The Arms Trade. This Mayday was also the 3rd birthday of Indymedia UK.
The annual Trade Union march to Trafalgar Square continued to gather support this year, with Globalise Resistance, Stop the War Coalition, War on Want, World Development Movement, and the TUC coming together to oppose war, racism and privatisation. Both protests were joined by the Socialist Stockbrokers, and in the City of London people vacuumed up after capitalism!
Further protests were planned for Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester, Liverpool, Leicester, Bradford and beyond.
Press hysteria surrounding the protests has been at a lower level than in previous years, although there have still been a flurry of articles and some terrible journalism / propaganda (1 | 2 | 3)
Bristol:Dozens of protesters outside the army careers office at around 15:40.
Also in Bristol, the Labour Party headquarter was occupied early this morning. 5 protesters were arrested.
Glasgow:Mayday celebrators occupy a petrol station in the Southside of Glasgow.
Sheffield:Sheffield STWC staged a visual display of photos of people protesting all over the world outside the Town Hall at 5pm. Pictures. On Saturday 3rd Sheffield Against War also held a Mayday demonstration against War, Racism and Privatisation (pics)
Wrexham:Mayday protestors in Wrexham urged passing motorists to boycott McDonalds with a banner hang.
LiverpoolBelated account of the Liverpool MayDay stroll here.
NottinghamNottingham had it's Mayday with a Stop the War demo on Saturday 3rd. Pics and Report.
ChesterfieldThe Chesterfield Trades Council Mayday demonstration was joined by the Sheffield Samba Band for the march through the town on Monday 5th May (pics and video)
Other London Reports
- Pre-emptive Mayday Action at Bechtel's HQ in Hammersmith.Full report
- Mayday protest at Victoria exposes Crown Agents' role in war profiteering.Full report
- Brutal Repression by the Metropolitan Police - eyewitness account
- Assorted photos released by Associated Press and Reuters from Mayday london.
- Zapatista MayDay action outside Mexican embassy in London. Report and photos.
- May Day - a taste of freedom, a personal account
- B&W Photos of demos,cycle ride, and the police riot that followed.
- Mayday Football Tournament 2003 (report)
Up to 20,000 people protested in Buenos Aires (Argentina) at Brukman and on the Plaza de Mayo (pics: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5).
In Bolivia about 100,000 took part in a march in La Paz, and another 50,000 in El Alto. 200,000 took to the streets in Bogota, Colombia.
In Sweeden, demonstrations with red and black banners were held in about 25 locations. About 1500 people marched and danced to heavy music in Stockholm, 600 gathered in Malmö, 200 in Uppsala, 1500 in Gothenburg. Clashes with police, and smashing of windows happened in Stockholm, reportedly started off by police. Read the report in Italian or in English .
Spain: around 10,000 people marched in Zaragoza in two different marches, around a thousand in Teruel, 1,500 in Andorra, where anti-Franco guerrilleros buried in common ground were paid homage, around 300 people in Huesca. Read report in Spanish.
In Madrid,the leader of the communist union suffered an aggression and had to be evacuated from the demonstration.
Read report in Catalan from Barcelona.
Italy (all reports in Italian): In Rome, 50,000-60,000 people marched and another 500 - 1,000 participated in a critical mass. Report and time line, pictures: |1|2|3|4|5|6|7|8|9|10|11|12|13|. In Milan, around 50,000 demonstratros took to the streets according to organisers, in a climate of festivity. Read report and picture. Reports also from Torino,Sicilia and Naples.
France (all reports in French: demonstrations were held in Paris, (reports, pictures) in St. Etiene, (pics and reports in French) and Liège, where a school was occupied and turned into a Temporary Autonomous Zone for four days.
Switzerland: Zürich (in German): 4000 people in Basle and 7000 in Zürich, 1500-2000 people in 'revolutionary bloc' in Zürich (after the official march had dispersed). Luzern (in German): Robocops in Luzern. Solothurn (in German): 300 demonstrators shouting "Nazis out!', 'several 1000 swiss franks damage'
Lausanne (French). Bellinzona (Italian). Lugano (Italian).
Berlin: in total 60 actions, demos and streetparties; biggest 'revolutionary May 1st demo' in Kreuzberg with 5000-10000 strong crowd; 6pm 'spectrum' demo of 2000 in Mitte (former East). According to police sources, around 1,300 people demonstrated, with 139 arrests, and 175 police officers injured. Read reports in Italian or in German: |1|2|3|, video, and pics kreuzberg.
Frankfurt: Antifa demo, (traditionally there are Nazi marches on May 1st; Nazi organizers didn't show up, few skinheads isolated, no clashes) report |1|2|
Nürnberg: 1000 demonstrators; 44 arrested (all released at 10pm). report and pics.
Hamburg: 1000 demonstrators; fluffy; report with pictures
Oldenburg: 400 strong demo; march briefly blocked by riot police who retreated after verbal exchanges; street party into the night:
Austria: Bregenz: 100 demonstrators, mostly kurds and turks;
Other Global Reports:
| Thessaloniki | Prague | Paris | Australia 1,2 | Dublin Pictures,report | Portugal 1,2 |
Mayday 2002 | Mayday 2001 | Mayday 2000