On the 14th November outside the recording studios in Hampstead where "Do They Know It's Christmas" - Band AID 20 (named after the 20-year anniversary of the original) was being re-recorded, demonstrations took place by protesters arguing that Band Aid is little more than a screen "whitewashing the real issues behind world poverty". Shouts of 'real aid, not band aid', 'don't whitewash Africa' and boo's were audiable over the screams of fans and onlookers. One protester was arrested for handing out leaflets explaining the reasons for the protest - [read full report].
Protesters from the Dissent! Network, organising against the G8 Summit, argue that the song is obnoxious, patronising and out of date with the real situation in Africa
"This isn't about creating a record to support people in Africa- this is a kodak moment for Bono, Midge Ure and for Blair to manipulate public opinion and push through a destructive economic agenda to serve Western economic interests."
As Britain gears up for the G8 summit next July, Blair's government together with Bono and Geldof are doing everything they can to convince the public into believing that real action is being taken on issues such as Climate change and poverty in Africa.
The original Band AID single produced in 1984 raised £9.5 million. The 2003 G8 summit in Evian cost £400 million. The security budget for the 2005 summit in Scotland is set at £150 million. The war in Iraq has so far cost the UK taxpayer £80 billion pounds and rising. The continuing loss of life due to poverty and war is unquantifyable.
International development campaigners - the World Development Movement (WDM) - also condemned the lyrics as promoting a "negative and inaccurate picture of Africa and its problems." The organisation, which has been campaigning on issues effecting Africa for over 30 years and was one of the founders of both the fair trade movement and Jubilee 2000, drew attention to several lines in the song which it described as "patronising, false and out of date".
Director of WDM, Mark Curtis said on Tuesday 14th: "The song perpetuates the myth that Africa’s problems can somehow be blamed on lack of rainfall and failed harvests. It conjures up an image of a continent inhabited entirely by starving children with flies on their faces sitting in the sunbaked bed of a dried up stream."
"African poverty is not an unfortunate accident of geography and climate. It is largely the result of damaging policies such as free trade forced on Africa by rich countries."
Several initiatives are now underway to re-write the lyrics - upload your own, or send lyrics or recorded audio files to firstname.lastname@example.org
Campaign groups "Voices in the Wilderness" and "Iraq Occupation Focus" call for an emergency vigil at 10 Downing Street in Central London on Sunday, 15 th of August, Noon -2 pm to protest against the latest military attacks in Iraq. Densely-populated Iraqi cities are under fire from US-UK forces. On Thursday, more than 75 Iraqis were killed in the US bombardment of Kut. British troops have killed at least twenty in their assault on Amara.
The attack on Najaf, led by US warplanes, has been condemned by public opinion across Iraq. Sixteen members of Najaf's 30 member provincial council have resigned in protest at the assault.
In the last 48 hours, hundreds of civilians have been killed by occupying forces in the cities of Najaf, Kut, Sadr City, Sammara, Nasiriya, Amara, Basra, Ramadi and elsewhere.
A week long Exhibition of Resistance to BP and Big Oil, and the corporate hijacking of the arts is now under way on in London. A space has been squatted specially for the event [Photos]. The address is 50 Chalk Farm Road, Camden.
Update Tuesday 22nd: Another protest was called on Monday night during the BP sponsored awards ceremony at the Portrait Gallery. As protestors were gathering at around 7pm, four London Rising Tide activists chained themselves across the front door effectively shutting down the National Portrait Gallery. It was also announced that the alternative exhibition has been extended for a week, and it is now likely to be open until Saturday 26th June in the squatted gallery.
On Wednesday 16th climate change activists and artists held a 'Greenwash or US' Street Party outside BP HQ, many carrying artworks revealing a true portrait of an oil company. The street party then marched to the private view of the BP sponsored National Portrait Gallery Awards. When protesters tried to move towards the entrance of the National Gallery, police rapidly moved in and pushed people back. In the resulting scuffles one person got arrested for "not moving" [video of the arrest] The party then continued for several hours without any more incidents, and later in the evening it was followed by the opening of the art exhibition at the squatted venue [Report | Photos of street party].
Over the weekend, there will be daily workshops and events in the exhibition space as well as on the streets. These will include speakers from West Papua and Colombia, a Jam Night, film night, and lots of other fun stuff such as painting, subvertising, guerilla cinema, radio, food and discussion. See Programme of Events.
London Rising Tide | Burning Planet
Following months of speculation over the location of the 2005 G8 Summit in the UK, and reports that all police leave in Edinburgh and Scotland will be cancelled next summer, the Gleneagles hotel [official website] in Perthshire, Scotland has finaly been confirmed as the venue (G8 dates: 6th-8th July 2005).
The last time the G8 met in the UK was in Birmingham in May 1998. Then up to 70,000 people encircled the centre of Birmingham, forming a human chain and demanding an end to third world debt [pics]. On the same day up to 7,000 people took control of the centre of Birmingham for the second Global Reclaim the Streets Party [pics 1 | 2 | 3][video] - with actions and protests happening against the G8 in around 40 cities across the world, with over 400 social movements taking co-ordinated action under the banner of Peoples' Global Action (PGA).
Six years and many huge mobilisations later, people in the UK have been organising around the G8 for several months. A growing new network of local groups has been created called the Dissent! Network, with nodes across the country. Dissent! is planning a series of awareness raising events through the year and has been calling for both local and international participation. Many people and groups are now focussing on planning protests and direct action campaigns against the G8.
Recently many NGO organisations are also co-ordinating on a level unseen since the Jubliee 2000 drop the debt campaigns, and are set to try and take advantage of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown's aim to pitch the UK presidency of the G8 as a positive step towards reducing third world debt and around issues of development and trade [see guardian article] - 2005 is also the 20th anniversary of the Live Aid concert. Several groups are expected to use the European Social Forum in London in October later this year as a platform from which to launch campaigns. Recently several Trade Union leaders, politicians and Globalise Resistance have also issued their first call for protests.
Recent UK Savannah G8 Solidarity Actions
The People's Golfing Association (PGA) [statement][pics]
"Anarchist Group's Gleneagles Website Exclusive!"*
Corporate Media Coverage of Gleneagles G8
For more on G8 - see the Indymedia G8 Reports Section
On Tuesday 11 May, a greenwash business conference took place in north London under the name of 'What's the Point of Corporate Responsibility', organised by Ethical Corporation magazine. Seminars at this conference, which was attended by the likes of Shell, BP, Gap, McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Levi Strauss and Marks & Spencer, included discussion-topics such as "Why should Chief Executives take Corporate Responsibility seriously?", "Is Corporate Responsibility simply another management fad?" and "How smart companies are using CR for commercial objectives."
In the late afternoon around sixty demonstrators congregated outside the Marriott Hotel in Swiss Cottage, where the conference was taking place, and engaged in a festive protest whilst refusing to accept the absurd proposition that corporations actually want to be held accountable. The picket was called under the name of "Corporate Responsibility? You're Having A Laugh!". The protestors included a samba band, activists of the Colombia Solidarity Campaign and London Rising Tide, and comedian Mark Thomas, who managed to avoid the £295 registration fee and blagg his way into one of the conference's seminars where he pressed the panel with questions from the floor. Report and PhotosRead more >>
Between 26-28 April representatives from 300 companies - including Shell, ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco and US arms manufacturer Raytheon – will be attending a business conference in London entitled Iraq Procurement 2004: Meet the Buyers. They will be meeting members of the US occupation authority, the US-installed Iraqi “government”, and wealthy Iraqi business-people to discuss "the wide range of opportunities available" to make a profit out of the increasingly blood-soaked occupation of Iraq. The conference takes place in the context of a series of new laws passed by the US last September, that "effectively put [Iraq] up for sale" to foreign investors (Guardian, 22 Sept. 2003)
A growing body of evidence that the way in which the Bush administration has been "treating [reconstruction] contracts as prizes to be handed to their friends" has been "delaying Iraq's recovery, with potentially catastrophic consequences" (economist Paul Krugman, New York Times, 30thSept. 2003) On the other hand, US attempts to ‘restructure’ (rather than cancel) Iraq’s odious debts, attempts likely to "rob Iraq of [its] economic freedom by requiring that it adhere to an IMF structural adjustment program" (Jubilee Iraq). All of this as a backdrop for the killing of over 600 people in the US siege of Fallujah, "the vast majority of [whom] were women, children and the elderly" according to the director of the town’s general hospital (Guardian, 12 April)
A protest to coincide with the gala dinner for the business conference 'Iraq Procurement 2004' was called for Tuesday 27th April. See Photos: 1 | 2 | Protest website.
Read more on the Iraq Procurement conference [here.
Voices in the Wilderness UK has been campaigning on Iraq for the last six years. To visit the Iraqi procurement website and see the blatant carve up of Iraq see The Iraqi Procurement Conference where you can check out their agenda for the event.Read more >>
Massive demonstrations have taken place in and around Trafalgar Square in London. A 17 feet-high statue of George Bush was toppled to huge cheers from the crowd at 17:22 GMT [ Video]. Estimates of today's attendance range from AP syndicating around the world the number of 50,000 (later amended), over the Metropolitan Police's official estimate of 70,000 (later updated to 110,000) to the Stop the War Coalition ever increasing estimate of up to 300,000 (a number to which Indymedia reporters on the scene agree). Whatever the numbers, today's event looks to be the biggest weekday demonstration of recent years.
Update: Indymedia UK received over a million hits on Thursday (1,119,801 to be exact) - not bad for a website run by DIY collectives all over the UK. We would like to emphasize that Indymedia exists by non-hierarchical organization and has no other resources than the commitment of people donating their time and talent.
To kick the day off activists unfurled a banner reading "Bush Free Zone" from Admiralty Arch, see report and press release and pictures. To read up on the events as they unfolded check the Full Timeline of the events in London.Photos: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | gallery
Wednesday was billed as a day of civil disobedience and direct action throughout the country. In London, amidst the massive security operation, people took to the streets with events and actions. The protests started early in the morning with the delivery of a Tarte au Citron to the Queen, courtesy of the Biotic Baking Brigade. Then actions kicked off throughout the day with a Critical Mass, an Alternative State Procession, Street Parties, a Women's Peace Picnic and other actions Across The UK - culminating in 2000 protesters dancing in front of Buckingham Palace on a Resist Bush Tea Party. Police proved to be still overreacting when policing during a head of state visit: When Jiang Zemin was around they turned placards of protesters away - with Bush they confiscated a small sound system singing anti-Bush songs.Multimedia
London: reports including the full London timeline with it's sections on the resist Bush teaparty, Critical Mass, alternative state procession, school students, street parties and the O.I.L women's peace picnic.
Aberdeen: About 80-100 people demonstrated against the Bush visit to the UK in St Nicholas Square at lunch time.
Bradford: Bradford saw a notable amount of Anti-Bush protest including a rally and the handing of a petition calling for the arrest of Tony Blair on war crimes charges to the police.
Cardiff: The whole city centre brought to a standstill.
Cambridge: 100 people demonstrated toppling the statues of Bush and Blair in the Market Square. No arrests were reported. Indymedia reports from people in the US were read out to the crowd.
Canterbury: About 100-200 people gathered outside the library at 6pm, after several chants lead by Mac someone produced a guitar and an African drum and started a song "We're going to war. Pay your taxes".
Edinburgh: A very peaceful, determined demo took place in the day followed by an evening protest that broke through police lines near the US Consulate. Pictures
Glasgow: In Glasgow reports estimate over 1,000 demonstrators gathered in George Square then took to the surrounding streets. Shawlands Academy pupils were among the striking school students involved.
Kent: A small but enthusiastic group from Ashford peace group,East Kent Greens and supporters from Folkestone etc gathered near Ashford Intl Rail station to demo against Bush with several colourful banners (some made by 10 year olds!) and whistles.
Nottingham: 'No-Bush' demo in Nottingham in Market Square.
Oxford: Around 1500 people turned out, protestors left Brookes University at 5.00pm to march to the city centre on reaching The Plain they found a large, enthusiastic and noisy group of friends, some dancing to the sounds of Oxford's new Radical Samba Band. People then marched enthusiastically up to Carfax where another group was waiting to topple the papier-mache effigy of George 'I-stole-the-presidency' Bush. A die-in and a staged wedding between Bush and Blair also took place during the afternoon. Oxford IMC Feature
Liverpool: 200 stand up scousers stopped the traffic outside Liverpool Town Hall for an hour.
Molesworth: A short vigil was held at the Joint Analysis Centre Molesworth to protest at George Bush’ UK visit.
Swindon: Shoppers and workers in Swindon town centre this lunchtime were slightly bemused to find George W Bush explaining his plans for global domination via a megaphone.
York: 300 people marched through York in the rain to protest about the visit of killer Bush. A statue of Bush, cash in hand, with Blair aside, was toppled.
After discussions late this afternoon The Metropolitan Police and the Stop the War Coalition have agreed the march route for Thursday that allows the march over Westminster Bridge, past Parliament and along Whitehall to Trafalgar Square, as expected after speculation in the press over the weekend (see also corporate media coverage).
Meanwhile last minute preparations are underway for the multitude of demonstrations and actions planned against Bush. Not just restricted to anti-war issues, the protests also deal with issues from GM to Climate Change to Globalisation (see reasons to protest). Wednesday 19th has been called as a day for civil disobedience and direct action. In London, amidst the massive security operation, wednesday will see people taking to the streets with events and actions running throughout the day including an alternative state procession, a critical mass, a street party, school walkouts, the Resist Bush Tea Party mass direct action and many more smaller actions (see London Listing + ResistBush.org). On Tuesday, the day Bush arrives, the Burning Planet climate protest will march via the ExxonMobil ("Esso") offices in Aldwych, through central London to the US Embassy.Read more >>
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
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