London Indymedia

Marching from anarchy to boredom - photos

@ | 01.05.2006 22:57 | Mayday 2006 | London

A round up of photos from 2006's Mayday documenting Critical Mass, Clerkenwell Green and the Police party.

Who lives in a house like this? - Cops crawling at the Square 11am
Who lives in a house like this? - Cops crawling at the Square 11am

Shock horror! Copper can read special!
Shock horror! Copper can read special!

The critical mass leaving south bank
The critical mass leaving south bank

Heading towards Clerkenwell
Heading towards Clerkenwell

Riding into Kings Cross
Riding into Kings Cross

Past St Pancras
Past St Pancras

Euston Tunnel
Euston Tunnel

The Autonomous Bloc
The Autonomous Bloc

The Square social centre banner
The Square social centre banner

Bloc leaving
Bloc leaving

Police party announcement
Police party announcement

Writing out a ticket for being naughty
Writing out a ticket for being naughty

Bash the pacificist
Bash the pacificist

Well... I'm not sure I want to say that much about Mayday 2006. I don't feel like I've had a particularly fulfilling day, in fact I reckon the cops are rubbing their hands at the moment thinking how wonderful it is that we seem to have run slightly into the ground. Whatever. Photos are here for what anyone wants to take from them. More constructive information can no doubt be found via:

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Hide the following 20 comments


02.05.2006 00:52

doesnt anyone blur out peoples faces anymore?



02.05.2006 02:13

If you weren't masked up, the police got you anyway. Or the dodgy cameramen posing as independent media. Or the cameras on rooftop manned by anonymous figures. What is worse? Besides, you did nothing wrong. That is the whole point. And look how you were treated.

Oscar Beard
mail e-mail:

..and then they came to get us

02.05.2006 08:49

So, an 'autonomous' bloc allowed themselves to be penned in, photographed, identified, have their sound system confiscated, and despite being (allegedly) up to 800 strong, nobody did anything about it. No confrontation with the state, no solidarity, no collective action. Just an A to B march, which, like any other A to B march, achieved nothing.

So much for the 'autonomous' bloc. It's all very depressing.


Re: blurring faces...

02.05.2006 10:20

I didn't really see the point in blurring faces, as Oscar pointed out above the cops will have plenty of photos of people who didn't mask up. More importantly though no-one in the photos did anything to warrant any suspicion from the state or for the photos to be of any use to the cops (i.e. in a prosecution or something). Had someone been doing something naughty without a mask I would have most certainly blurred out their face, but as it stands I don't think it really matters.


You got it wrong

02.05.2006 10:53

Some facts:

There was 800 - 1,000 people (mainly anarchists and autonomists)

The soundsystem (like other groups sound systems) were grabbed by the police. We defended ourselves and we de-arrested people. But the cops are more organised and so we lost that little scuffle.

The bloc was surrounded for about 20 minitues and people were allowed to disperse.

Autonomous Bloc


02.05.2006 11:47

I counted (!) 150 people at clerkenwell, at its max the bloc was double that size, i.e. not more than 300 people. Are we trying to fool ourselves here?

another @

Response to Sariyah

02.05.2006 11:55

The Autonomous Bloc not only got it wrong but they also hijacked Critical Mass, who instead could have supported the People of the Commons and their invasion of the SOCPA Exclusion Zone.

Alf Narkist

come on get yer glasses on

02.05.2006 14:33

There was around 250 - 300 people at the start and it was doubled to round 600 or 700 when we were moving. The block was at the back of the march where it formed up (waiting for an 1 and a half before it left). I saw all the TU banners moving infront of us.

Are people trying to undermine the bloc.

and to say that the bloc undermined the SOCPA thing is stupid!!



You must be wearing dark glasses.

02.05.2006 16:56

Then why is it that an individual persuaded the Mass to go straight to Clerkenwell, instead of supporting nearby People in Common? Also, because of this interference the Mass departed too early, leaving loads of late comers behind.

Alf Narkist.


02.05.2006 18:18

just because people dont mask up on a demo, doesnt mean they agree to their photo being stuck on the internet for the whole world to see.

after all its not just the cops who like collecting pictures


talking crap

02.05.2006 19:28

"because of this interference the Mass departed too early, leaving loads of late comers behind."

the advertised time for the critical mass was 11am
it left just after 11.45am

i then waited to catch a bus on waterloo bridge and saw about 7 latecomers... (very late for the time)

so sorry but you're talking utter rubbish! some people are just hell bent on slagging everything off on indymedia...


critical mass. highjacked?

02.05.2006 20:28

I don't think the Critical Mass got highjacked, nor did it leave too early. It left at about 11.45, and it made sense for it to head in the general direction of Clerkenwell, wave at some TUC marchers and then continue onwards to Angel, Euston Road, Oxford Circus, Piccadily Circus etc. etc. If it was highjacked they were very clever at asking everyone where we all wanted to go.

I'm not sure it really matters that much exactly how many people were on the Autonomous bloc, there weren't hundreds of thousands there weren't ten. Its almost impossible in a marching situation like that to work out how many people there are or aren't (unless you get a clicker and fix a point where you're gonna count then). From what I can tell the bloc seemed to grow quite a lot just as it started moving off at Clerkenwell (most of the people who'd be standing around joined in) so I would expect by Trafalgar Square there was a reasonable number of people.


Critical Mass route.

03.05.2006 06:54

OK, whether or not CM was hijacked what was the point of going to Clerkenwell instead of Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square? As someone has pointed out already, it seems pretty futile the Autonomous Bloc just marching from A to B with a bunch of Unionists, safely outside the exclusion zone and with police permission. Is it any wonder that Mayday numbers have declined so drastically in recent years. The tiny group People in Common are at least fighting for our rights, while facing arrest on a weekly basis. They could have really done with some support on the day and were the only ones to dare enter the SOCPA zone, despite a massive police presence and intimidation.

Alf Narkist.

What really happened

03.05.2006 12:29

Critical Mass did not go to Clerkenwell Green instead of Trafalgar Square. What happened is that at about 11:45 the Mass seemed like it was ready to move and although there seemed to be some sort of consensus about going to Trafalgar Square there were competing route proposals. In the end it went via Clerkenwell and arrived in Trafalgar Square by about 12:30. I was piloting the tandem soundsystem (Pedals) and when I am doing that I never like to take the lead because a 400W bass driver gives you an unfair advantage. We could have ridden through the exclusion zone like we have done before (eg with 1,200 riders + soundsystem + samba band on Halloween Mass) and the police would not have stopped us.

So when we got to Trafalgar Square, where were the Beating the Bounds crew? If the Mass left too early then they were even more premature. Also, according to their wiki, Beating the Bounds had no plans to enter the exclusion zone - they were just going to circumnavigate it (as one would guess from the very name of the action). I support what People in Common are doing (indeed I rode Pedals to Runnymede and back for their event the previous weekend) but I had no intention of spending hours following them round the edge of the zone at walking pace. I am fed up with slow Critical Masses - if I wanted to go at walking pace I would walk. Anyway, here is my report on what I thought was a successful May Day Critical Mass:


Ian Gregory
- Homepage:

I was there.

03.05.2006 15:37

I was in Trafalgar Square at 12.30 and I didn't see or hear Critical Mass. People in Common decided that they were too few in number to Beat the Bounds, only 14, so much for the 600 or so who signed their pledge. So the decision was made to go to Parliament Square inside the Zone, sporting a blank placard. The act of displaying words which might be interpreted as some form of a protest, within the zone and without police permission, currently renders one liable to arrest. Checking my video camera, they set off at 12.47 precisely, complete with police retinue, helicopter, and myself.

You can see this on the video As fine an example of over zealous policing as you are ever likely to see.


bluring faces

03.05.2006 17:48


Tough shit - if you are in a public place then you might have your picture taken.

If you don't want your picture taken, wear a mask.

You don't own copyright on your face i'm afraid.



03.05.2006 17:59

"More importantly though no-one in the photos did anything to warrant any suspicion from the state or for the photos to be of any use to the cops"

You think the police only keep files on troublemakers ? You think the fascists don't cull photos from Indymedia ? And you sure one of those folk won't be sacked when their workmates spot their photo ? You shouldn't be so trusting on everyone elses behalf. Just because you aren't at risk doesn't mean there isn't risk to others. Stop publishing photos without blurring or expect to lose your camera if a real action is planned when you are standing snapping. If you were to take 5 minutes and republish the photos blurred I'm sure the Indymedia folk would replace the originals and then it wouldn't be an issue and we could concentrate on more important matters.

Now is not a time to march. Even people who know the score sit indoors. It's time for action. Small demos are embarrassing, large actions are inspiring. The only good thing about a demo is that is sometimes good cover to launch actions and be seen doing so. If you go along to the next demo, go to recruit for actions. We need momentum more than mass. There's never been a better time to get arrested but it's always good to escape. Less moaning, more responsibility.


A question of timing

03.05.2006 21:44

Doug said "I was in Trafalgar Square at 12.30 and I didn't see or hear Critical Mass."

I don't know exactly when the Mass reached Trafalgar Square, 12:30 was an estimate. Looking at my photos I can see that we cycled north under the Holborn viaduct at 11:58. We kept going until Trafalgar Square, arriving from the North West, hung around in the square for about half an hour with music playing and then left for St James Park. We were already in the park by 13:18 so I guess we just just missed you, which is a shame.

The pledge Doug is referring to is:

I signed the pledge back in February. On April 21st the pledge creator sent out an email to sigantories which said that the pledge action was never intended to occur on May Day. In any case, the target was 6000 signatories and less than 1000 had signed by the deadline (which has now been extended). He also suggested that signatories might like to take part in the Beating the Bounds action on May Day which had been organised at quite short notice by People in Common. Given that the email went out to over 900 signatories it is interesting that only 14 people took part.

My advice to anyone who wants to get involved in the campaign against section 132 of SOCPA is to get down to the regular Sunday picnic/meeting in Parliament Square which happens at 1pm.


Ian Gregory
- Homepage:

censorship of photos

04.05.2006 07:25


So you want to censor when it suits you?

By the same logic, we should blur the face of the ginger policeman reading the book. You know, just in case someone sees him out of uniform, in the street or down the pub and decides to attack him.

I repeat, if you are in a public place and you don't want your picture taken, wear a mask.



photographers watchout

22.05.2006 19:40

If you take my photo without permission I'll smash your camera



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