London Indymedia

London Stop the War/CND/BMI March 15 March 2008

Peter Marshall | 16.03.2008 17:14 | Anti-militarism | Iraq | Palestine | Policing | London | World

Brief comments and images from Saturday's Stop the War/CND/BMI march in London. Images are copyright Peter Marshall; all rights reserved.

FITwatch inTrafalgar Square
FITwatch inTrafalgar Square

See you Monday week at Aldermaston
See you Monday week at Aldermaston

The march sets off down Whitehall
The march sets off down Whitehall

Letting Downing Street know
Letting Downing Street know

Steward remonstrates with FITwatch at Westminster
Steward remonstrates with FITwatch at Westminster

Samba on Westminster Bridge
Samba on Westminster Bridge

On Westminster Bridge
On Westminster Bridge

Somalis demonstrate
Somalis demonstrate

If there is anything to be learnt from the march 5 years ago, it is that marching isn't enough, but even so it was good to see another march that demonstrated something of the depth of support for the movement. The march virtually surrounded the Houses of Parliament; when the tail was at Westminster station, the head of the march which had passed there 40 minutes earlier was just arriving at Parliament Square a few yards away having completed a roughly 2.25km circuit over Westminster and Lambeth bridges. The estimate by the organisers of 50,000 was probably in the right order of magnitude.

As well as calling for a stop to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the march also called for freedom for Palestine and for no war against Iran. Many groups also took the opportunity to bring other causes to attention, such as the genocide and occupation in Somalia. There were also groups from Greece, the Congo and elsewhere.

Although there wasn't the massive police presence seen at some other events there was a full FIT turnout, and they mostly seemed to spend their time standing close to the small groups of FITWatch and Class War supporters. I wasn't around when they arrested 4 of them, apparently for "intimidating the police." It's hard not suspect this as a retaliation for the loss of face two weeks ago in the same square, when as I reported (, "the FIT photographer ran scared, chased by a protester with a shopping trolley offering free cakes, taking refuge by running up the stairs of the National Gallery."

FITwatch also had a little argument with the event stewards on Westminster Bridge where they were pushed aside by the front of the march. Otherwise I wasn't aware of any other incidents. A much fuller report on the event - at least with many more pictures - will appear on My London Diary, at

Peter Marshall
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I agree...

16.03.2008 21:25

...would really think its a little inappropriate to put these people's faces up un-blurred. You only have to go down the page today to see that people were arrested for interfering with the FIT - I know it probably wasn't malicious to publish the pictures, but it might be an idea to take them down asap, and return them blurred, if you so wish.

As for what happened with the stewards, in short...

The head of the demonstration was reserved for all the high-profile people, usual suspects etc. behind the main StWC banner. A guy who I recognised from high up in the SWP was chant leading and generally 'organising', with an ear piece in, in front of the main banner. In front of these, were a linked half circle of about 30 StWC stewards - clutching eachother's arms and trying to ensure nobody got into their front area/pushed the march at a speed faster or in a direction they didn't want.

In white hall, FITwatch, people from the loose autonomous bloc and groups of other protesters, bored of the snail pace and usual routine, walked in front of the linked stewards informally walking in the road in front. In front, was a line of police, who kept slowing the march down at regular intervals. When this happened near Parliament Sq., the stewards went crazy, blaming FITwatch etc. for blocking the march and stopping it...when in fact it was a large line of police refusing to let the march move. After arguing, people stepped out of the way and onto the pavement to prove they weren't the reason for the stoppage...and low and behold...the march was still stood still.

The second incident was near Embankment station just before going over the bridge. Again, people had gone ahead of the linked-armed stewards, and were walking in front nearer to the police lines. When the police line stopped and the stewards caught up, they demanded everyone in front of them out of the way. One guy was particularly aggressive, saying that FITwatch etc. were ruining the march for everybody, and that people had put years of effort into these marches etc.etc. The steward didn't seem to understand that the march is for everybody, not just the self-appointed leaders...and people spelt out to him that not everyone was prepared to trust the 'leadership' of a movement that repeats the same old stuff, without any tangible results...A team of FIT distracted people on the bridge, as many stayed to prevent the FIT team from taking surveillance of demonstrators with the large banner.



Hide the following 17 comments

suggestion to photographer & any more info on FITwatch?

16.03.2008 17:41

Thanks for the pics - next time tho, it may be polite not to publish pictures of people in the process of masking up - they probably don't want to be identified - try pixelating the faces etc next time.

Also - any more info on FITwatch 'getting pushed aside' at the start of the march - would be interested to know what happened

(A) Sab x


16.03.2008 18:09

It's nothing to do with me really, but is it acceptable to publish identifying photos of fitwatchers? I assume you had their consent for this?


Blur the photos next time!

16.03.2008 19:16

Yes i totally agree... PLEASE PLEASE anyone putting pictures of Class war, Fitwatch, Fellow Anarchists etc on any domain please do blur out there faces if there not masked. You do realise the police search such sites to add photos of 'trouble makers' to there scrap books for next time round.

Thanks :)


Class War harassing the speakers?

16.03.2008 21:19

Wasn't it class war members who were harassing the speakers at Trafalgar Square and throwing bottles and cans at the stage?

I might be wrong but I think it was class war although Galloway referred to them in his speech as the pink fringe to the military khaki? maybe Outrage but I didn't see any Outrage member at the demo?

Any info or clarification would be useful.

(PS it wouldn't be the first time class war were standing on the wrong side - remember the Quds Day demo last October )


observer, your talking rubbish

16.03.2008 22:01

you said that people from class war were throwing bottles and cans, no one threw any of these, the only thing that was thrown was a small hard boiled sweet. lots of people were heckling him though, and those who were were accused of being Zionists, there was two women and a man who were doing this. so put simply, stop spreading rubbish because you couldnt really observe people throwing cans if it didnt even happen.

as for the march, i dont understand how the stwc have gone on for 5 years doing the same awful rubbish with no results, i just dont understand how people can go on these demoralising a2b marches. as for the guy in the picture showing fitwatchers talking to a man in red with a beard, he is a complete and utter twat, he openly admitted that it didnt matter if stwc doesnt stop the war because its aim is to get publicity, nothing more nothing less, fucking cockend!


Bout sums it up... though chucking of cans???

16.03.2008 22:12

Though... Observer... I think old Mr Galloway was referring about homosexuals in the iranian military, not class war, when he said about pink fringe to the military khaki. As for the chucking of cans i was down the frontish and saw one guy in front of me chuck a small plastic water bottle, but that wasnt when galloway was on.
Yeah there was heckling, but dont you think thats cos most of the speakers were dishing out the same old speech, just like they do every year. (i guess thats why one or two people tried to chuck a thing or two at the stage)

There was some pissed middle aged woman trying to get at the stage and shouting after chucking her samba drum over the pen fenching though.


Wheres police brutally when you need it......

16.03.2008 22:25

Instead of going after us autonomous types, cant the pigs do us all a favour and give those swp pricks a smack? It'll send em running back to their rich mums and dads and make it a lot nicer for the rest of us.

On a seperate note; the King Blues, reggae/folk/punk band who had a p.a and were doing a live gig on the march also got a load of abuse off the swp wankers because their music was 'too loud and people couldnt hear the speakers'. who the fuck wants to listen to george the cat galloway and lord benn anyway???

Fuck the SWP and fuck the STWC, even if they are the same thing.....


blurring of faces

16.03.2008 22:39

When are you dudes gonna wake up and smell the coffee.
I understand it's only polite to blur your faces etc, but to imagine that the police/fit team don't already have photos of ALL of you aready is being grossly nieve.
what with all the cctv around EVERYWHERE and undercover cops as well as the visable ones, plus the opportunity to photograph yous everytime you meet up I cannot see how they would ever miss having definitive images of you already.
Are you telling me you all spent the whole day from your arrival to your arriving back home masked up? !!!!
Plus you think the cops can't identify you from clothing, the way you walk, your height and stature etc....? well they can and do.
If you don't want to be known stay at home.
Get real and grow up!


It's still bad practice

16.03.2008 23:13

Because believe it or not the police's intelligence gathering is nowhere near as comprehensive as they would have you believe, it's merely a myth propogated to ensure good behaviour, and a photograph published on the internet may be all that's needed for the prosecution to convince a court that the man in the brown coat at the start of a demo is in fact the man in the brown coat, hat and mask doing soemthing illegal later on in the day.


Re: pink fringe to the military khaki

17.03.2008 00:23

observer wrote: "I might be wrong but I think it was class war although Galloway referred to them in his speech as the pink fringe to the military khaki? maybe Outrage but I didn't see any Outrage member at the demo?"

No, he wasn't referring to anyone in the Square at that point, he made the same remarks on The Wright Stuff the night before,


Thanks from redwatch.

17.03.2008 11:45

I had managed to keep my face out of redwatch over the last years. I'm sure they'll be happy to have it now. It's not only the fit teams that are watching! Please, blurr the pictures next time.
On the STWC stewards, any time anyone got in front of the "leaders", or just side by side, they were phisically pushed away by the stewards, even isolated marchers, without banners or placards (it wasn't just with the anarchists). If they couldn't do this, the police would stop the march from proceeding, until the stewards had got rid of the other marchers. They would then accuse this other group of blocking the march. If this is not a collusion in tactics between the police and the STWC, I don't know what is.
When getting into Parliament Square at the end of the march one steward tried to wrestle one guys red and black flag, saying that the anarchists were not going to hijack the demo. As if that wasn't what they had been doing all day.
I know that is exactly what they have been doing for the last five years, destroying the antiwar movement in the process, but at least this time it has been contested.

Louise Michel

some advice..

17.03.2008 12:05

i simply do not goto demos anymore, however this might be to late but ill e mail one of the imc lot and point them here to remove some images..

make the middle class history
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That steward

17.03.2008 15:13

That steward giving the FITwatch guys hassle is a real tool for the leaders of STW. He gave myself and some friends hassle because we were turning the SWP placards around and were painting our own banners.

Let's start exposing STW for the sham they are. These marches seem like a bi-annual conscience cleansing exercise for a lot of people. F*** STW, f*** their incompetent leadership, lets properly take control of the next demo and show the some real civil disobedience. Let's start reporting our MP's for war crimes. You can do it under the International Criminal Court Act 2001, sections 51 + 52. Just go to your police station and file a report. Simple. there are already 3 or 4 investigations on the go!!!!!

PS Keep up the good work FITwatch!!


Would like to know...

17.03.2008 19:40

How Anarchists can be blamed for destroying the anti-war movement? Waving a red and black flag, or a plain black flag, automatically detracts hundreds of people from the marches, does it? Get your thinking cap on and consider other possibilities.


bottles and cans

18.03.2008 02:46

I saw two projectiles thrown at the stage during galloways speech. A plastic bottle at the start of the speech which landed on the stage to galloways right nearly hitting the stw organisers and a red coke can later in the speech which was more centred but didn't reach the stage. Also galloway refered to the "idiots at the front" presumably referring to the class war bunch two rows from the front of the crowd who appeared to be doing the throwing.

Any one here from class war could clear this up.

The person who saw the person in front of him throw a plastic bottle - was that guy wearing a green bomber jacket (like the ones in the NF uniform of the 80s) ?

I must admit I didn't myself see who threw the items as I was facing the stage but i did hear one of the STW steward who had been facing the crowd the whole time and so got a good look point to those masking their faces at the end of the speeches as the culprits.


Not the Anarchists' Fault

18.03.2008 07:18

No, it's not Class War or any other anarchist grouping that has wrecked the anti-war movement. Instead, it's the spectacular opportunism of the craven left, which has allowed the door open for anti-semites and holocaust deniers, homophobes (including Galloway's lies about a "pink... war machine") and the new macho activists to hook on to what should have been one of the most effective campaigns of the last 20 years. The supportive Morning Star (which has itself criticised the STWC/SWP on occasion) estimated that there were just 55, 000 on the March 15th demonstration. From the 1.2 million five years ago, that's some squandering.


To Caz

19.03.2008 16:06

Nonsense, I didn't see any such people at the demo - backup your claims - where did you see "anti-semites, holocaust deniers and homophobes" on the stw demo? All the placards I saw were pretty mainstream in fact bordering on boring..



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