London Indymedia

Anti-Protestor Propaganda In Newspapers

journalism? | 25.06.2005 08:38 | G8 2005 | Globalisation | Indymedia | Repression | London

After a long period with fairly starightforward newspaper reporting about protest worries and news of different demonstrations - the last few days has seen a resurgence in anti-protestor propaganda.

Most laughable, and indeed most malicious, is an article by The Scotsman claiming that "splinter groups" (implying exteme groups as opposed to just groups) are planning "disruption" of the Make Poverty History march on 2nd June. But who are these groups that plan to "infiltrate" (er attend i think is the right word) the MPH march? Well the terrifying list of groups is the rebel Clown army, the Disco dancing bloc, and the Fairy Army! All groups who like to dress up in colourful costumes, do street theatre, dance and prance about... Many groups who are part of the Dissent network have always said they will attend the MPH march, mostly to hand out leaflets about the protests in the following week (hence "radicalising")...

Other articles have focused on Glasgow with two examples of gutter journalism. An empty warehouse that is on the route of a planned road and which will be demolished has been used as an accomodation centre - but in the words of the press it becomes "condemnded". Then as press photographers chase people down to road or call at their houses to take pictures of people on their doorsteps, the newspapers revel in the fact that people do not like being photographed - especially when they know the photos are due to end up in an article branding them as extremists. This is becoming a growing trend with newspapers publishing names and photos of individuals.

Sadly this is part of the landscape in the run up to any large protest - demonise the protestors, spread alarm and fear, justify a clampdown by police. Selling newspaperrs is one thing, spreading lies and fear another.

Fears as anarchist groups threaten to disrupt march
Fri 24th June 2005

A GROWING number of anarchist groups have threatened to infiltrate Edinburgh's peaceful Make Poverty History march next week.

Three splinter anti-capitalist groups have joined a resistance network aimed at disrupting the huge rally and "radicalising" its agenda.

The news comes as an increasing number of anti-G8 campaigners arrive in the city, including hundreds of Dissent members - a notorious anarchist group responsible for much of the violence during London's May Day riots.

Dissent is planning to blockade roads around Edinburgh on Wednesday, July 6, to prevent delegates travelling to Gleneagles from their hotels in the Capital.

The Forth Road Bridge has been earmarked as a likely target, with protesters hopeful of preventing any traffic from crossing.

Bridge manager Alastair Andrew today warned lives could be put in danger if campaigners prevent Fife ambulances from reaching hospitals on this side of the Forth. Dissent, which this week opened two 24-hour advice centres for protesters in the Capital, has yet to decide if it will have an official presence at the Make Poverty History march.

But splinter groups the Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army (Circa), Disco Bloc and the Fairy Army today announced they are "assembling" for the protest.

Anarchist group Make the G8 History has already said it plans to spread its members throughout the July 2 march. In an e-mail sent to thousands of anti-G8 campaigners, one anti-capitalist wrote: "We need to radicalise the protest and make the voice of criticism visual. Take change into your own hands instead of appealing to the [G8] leaders."

The Circa group is a secretive international body of protesters who dress up as clowns and disrupt high-profile events, such as the Republican National Convention in the United States. Members believe the G8 is responsible for "the violence of greed and war, and the destruction of our lives and planet". There is little information on the other two groups.

Council leader Donald Anderson said there will be "overwhelming revulsion" if anyone causes trouble during the march.

"Anybody who tries to cause problems will be betraying people who live in hardship in Africa," he said. "The march is intended to be a peaceful protest."

A Lothian and Borders Police spokesman said: "We have been meeting with Make Poverty History organisers to try to ensure that the march is a safe event.

"However, should there be any hint of disruption from any unruly elements, we will have the resources to deal with that."

A member of Dissent told the Evening News the group supports the message of Make Poverty History, but wants to encourage people to protest throughout the entire week of the summit.


Anarchist threats to Glasgow businesses
24th June 2005

ANARCHIST protesters today threatened to take direct action against Glasgow businesses. Members of the anti-capitalist Dissent network have vowed to bring disruption to the city centre on Sunday, July 3 - during the opening weekend of the Special Olympics.

Multinational chains, banks, and financial institutions in Edinburgh are already thought to be the targets of anarchist groups intent on causing disruption during the G8 summit at Gleneagles in less than a fortnight's time.

But today it became clear Glasgow was also in the firing line, prompting condemnation from business leaders and the city council.

The Evening Times revealed yesterday that protesters from Dissent had set up a base in a former hat factory in Glasgow's east end.
And as more protesters arrived at the warehouse today, some of the extremist group's activists warned they would take action against Glasgow businesses.

C. H., who lives on the south side of the city, told how Dissent planned to wreak havoc in the city as part of a week of protests across Scotland at the start of July.

Mr H.'s group Reshape Glasgow, which has an office on Pollokshaws Road, is part of the Dissent network which has been implicated in bloody riots including violent disorder that broke out during May Day protests in London in 2001.

He said Glasgow was an ideal base for the week of protests because it was in easy reach of rallies at Faslane and Dungavel, as well as Edinburgh and Gleneagles.

The week of disruption will start in Glasgow on July 3, when Mr H. promised activists would demonstrate in Glasgow.
Asked whether Dissent protesters intended to demonstrate outside businesses in the city, he replied "Yes".

Mr H. added: "We'll be going round all different areas. There are people coming to Glasgow from quite a distance for this."
He would not reveal any further details of the action in Glasgow but trouble has erupted during past G8 protests at multinational chains such as McDonald's.

On Monday, July 4, Dissent's focus will move to the Faslane nuclear base on the Clyde where protesters will bid to shut down the base for the day by sitting or lying in the road.

Then on July 5, after returning to the base in Glasgow, Dissent activists will head for a planned rally opposing the detention of asylum seekers at the Dungavel immigration removal and detention centre, near Strathaven, Lanarkshire.

On July 6, Mr H. said the group would head east to Edinburgh and Gleneagles to disrupt the summit of world leaders.
However, despite an anarchic manifesto which urges confrontation and civil disobedience, Mr H. said members of Reshape Glasgow were not interested in violent protest.

A member of Dissent answering the phone at the Bridgeton warehouse earlier this week said "hundreds" of protesters were expected to stay at the factory.

Mr H., who lives on Pollokshaws Road, added: "It's a really big problem that we don't know how many to expect.

"Space isn't just available to those who are in our network. It's open to anyone who needs a place to stay for the various demonstrations.

"This is a place where people will be coming to stay and be safe. It's not a place where people are going to be taking a confrontational attitude."

However, Mr H., like several women pictured outside the warehouse earlier this week, took offence when we tried to photograph him.

Despite being in a public place, he swore and lunged at our photographer while clasping a copy of yesterday's Evening Times.
Lesley, a 41-year-old mum who is also member of Reshape Glasgow, also defended the group, saying it was part of a wider peace movement and did not condone violence.

But she said she could not guarantee that members of Dissent would not use aggression against businesses in Glasgow and beyond.

SHE said multi-national corporations were destroying the fabric of society and were responsible for "murder, kidnap, and violence" around the world.

Ms R. said: "Violence such as smashing up McDonald's or Starbucks is not something I partake in or condone. But I can understand why some people are driven by frustration to do this."
There are fears disruption caused by Dissent in Glasgow could mar the opening weekend of the UK Special Olympics, which begin on July 2.

Today a Glasgow City Council spokesman said any attempt to bring violence to the city would not be tolerated.

He said: "We have been working closely with Strathclyde Police ahead of the G8 and the Special Olympics and we have not been made aware of any threat to Glasgow. However contingency plans are in place to help to minimise any disruption to city life.

"We would be extremely disappointed if any element tarnished the city's image when we are hosting the Special Olympics."
Dr Lesley Sawers, chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, said: "It is disheartening to hear this group are planning to target businesses in the city. The real focus for Glasgow at this time, however, is the Special Olympics."

Protest group G8 Alternatives, which counts MP George Galloway among its supporters, is holding a rally in Edinburgh on July 3 - the same day as Dissent's planned Glasgow protest - followed by a protest at Gleneagles on July 6.

Spokesman Joshua Brown said Dissent has "different tactics" to G8 Alternatives and he encouraged protesters to come to the Edinburgh rally on July 3.

But he would not condemn Dissent, as he said both organisations share a "direct ideological confrontation with the G8".

Confirmation of Dissent's plans in Glasgow comes after weeks of speculation about whether anarchists would target Scotland's biggest city as well as Edinburgh and Gleneagles, where confrontations with police are already feared.

The march planned by the Make Poverty History campaign in Edinburgh on July 2 is also thought to be a potential flashpoint if targeted by members of groups such as Dissent.

First ScotRail said today it was preparing for large numbers of people travelling from all over Scotland to the Live8 concert at Murrayfield on July 6.

The company has said it would allocate extra carriages and services to cope with the influx of commuters.

However staff say services will still be pushed to capacity and are advising passengers to allow extra time for their journeys and expect queues.

First Scotrail's managing director Mary Dickson said: "We are working closely with police, local councils and event organisers to identify demand and to allocate our resources where they are most needed."


Threats and abuse from Glasgow's G8 protest extremists

[picture] caption: THIS woman turned nasty as we tried to take her picture - threatening our photographer and trying to grab his camera


THEY belong to an anti-capitalist network aptly called Dissent – and confrontation and civil disorder is the name of their particular game.

And the Evening Times got a taste of their aggressive attitude when we asked to take photos inside the group's makeshift camp for G8 protesters at a condemned factory in Glasgow.

After taking a picture of two women entering the east end factory, one woman with a Spanish accent swore at our photographer, threatened him and tried to grab his camera.

Many of the dozens of G8 protesters who have descended on the rundown former factory in Dora Street, Bridgeton, were equally hostile.

They refused to reveal how many people would be staying at the building and what conditions were like inside, saying an agreement had been reached at a meeting that no-one should talk to the media.

The campaigners are a rag-bag crew, scruffily dressed in new-age type clothing.

They pushed wheelbarrows laden with shopping down the road to the factory, in a scene more reminiscent of the Glastonbury music festival.

Most of those entering the building appeared to be in their mid-20s to early 30s, and were well spoken.

Activists say the makeshift home for the anti-capitalist campaigners is being put together in Glasgow because of a lack of suitable sites in Edinburgh.

The capital is holding a massive Make Poverty History rally on July 2, followed by Bob Geldof's "million march" on July 6 – the first day of the world leaders' summit at Gleneagles.

Protest organisers said today campaigners had been struggling to find shelter around Edinburgh – and had to settle for the old factory in a run-down industrial area of Bridgeton.

Dozens of people were at the site today and hundreds more will be arriving in the next week, a camp organiser said.

However, concerns have been raised that the building could be unsuitable for habitation and even dangerous.

It has been rented by a group called Reshape Glasgow, who are part of Dissent – a network of anti-capitalist protesters who pledge to use confrontation and acts of civil disobedience.

Among the vehicles outside the building today were camper vans and workmen's vans unloading gear.

The building has been empty since 2001, and while it has toilet facilities, workmen at other buildings nearby described the set-up as totally unsuitable for living.

The site is only a few hundred yards from Dalmarnock railway station so it's relatively easy to get to.

Bridgeton councillor George Redmond said he was "dismayed" to hear about the makeshift camp.

He said: "I'm not happy about people staying in a condemned building. It is not suitable to live in – let alone for hundreds of people.

"I will be speaking to senior council officials to find out if they aware of this and what action can be taken. I will also speak to the owner of the property. I'm concerned about these people's safety. They should not be there."

Glasgow Tory MP Bill Aitken also voiced concerns.
He said: "If the people are here to peacefully protest then that's fine, but if there is any question of violence then I would expect the police to react in a robust manner.

"What they can't do is detract from the amenity of people's lives in the east end and the safety of residents has to be a priority.

"If this building becomes significantly overcrowded then clearly there are health and safety issues then I would expect Glasgow City Council to address it."

A police spokesman would only say that officers were aware of the site at Dora Street.

Glasgow City Council said it had no control over what was happening at the property because it was privately-owned.
A spokesman at Dissent in Edinburgh, where the network has set up an information office, said the building was the only suitable large premises it could secure in Scotland.

The Dissent website says: "At this moment, Glasgow is the only space where we can arrange people to sleep.

"The building needs a lot of work and is not yet safe for children and has no disabled access."

Vans arrived at Dora Street during the past few days to unload equipment into the warehouse – a former Gelfer hats factory.
Today more protesters with suitcases and bedding turned up at the building.

Tenants at a nearby block of flats in Playfair Street, which are due for demolition, were shocked and surprised to learn of the camp.
One mum of two, who asked not to be named, said: "I'd be worried if they begin to spill out onto the street and got mixed up with local gangs."

SPECTRUM Properties, which owns the building, said it was due to be demolished to make way for the East End Regeneration Route, a link road which is central to a massive project to regenerate the area.

A company spokeswoman said Reshape Glasgow had rented the warehouse on a four-month lease, saying they wanted to create a shelter for homeless men.

Dissent's manifesto pledges to reject discrimination such as racism and religious fundamentalism, while "embracing the full dignity of all human beings".

However, the network also encourages civil disobedience and a "confrontational attitude" – a point which is worrying Scots authorities ahead of the G8 protests.

Meanwhile, a group of campaigners who moved onto a site in the south side of the city have left. The Cre8 group, who oppose the G8 summit and the M74 motorway extension, had put up tents on grassland between Eglinton Street and Pollokshaws Road.



Display the following 8 comments

  1. interesting innit? — paul c
  2. yes but....
  3. Mildly gratifying. — Doug.
  4. wanker — Sim1
  5. day today — CLOWNER
  6. pure class — Krop
  7. No worries — Jac
  8. clarification — Krop


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