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Activists review of mayday.

I stayed the previous night in a squat near where there had been a confrence to discuss anti-capitalist ideas the previous weekend, so I woke up quite early so that I could get something to eat before going to the protest. As soon as I got out of the squat I had a photo taken by a police photographer. I tried for a while to stop the photographer taking pictures of other people coming out of the squat in a tense few moments with the police. Eventually me and a few friends got to parlement square about 10:15, we were planning to got to the critical mass cycle ride with everyone else, but we didn't have a bike and we sorta got split up from the rest of the people who were at the squat so we thought we would just get to the venue early. There wasn't much happening at this time, so we just sat down at the edge of the square and waited for a bit.

People really started turning up just after 11:00 and this is when the main action of the day happened. The people on the critical mass cycle ride got back to the square and there was a big cheer from the croud as they did. There was supposed to be some sort of organisation at the protest in that flags were going to be held up to signify different types of action, a red flag meant follow the flag, a green flag meant start gardening and a black flag meant just gather round the flag. However, all I saw all day was a couple of red flags and that was about all, i never actually saw any other colour all day. After a while expecting to see some sort of instruction like that, we decided it was time to start planting a few seeds.

We had 2 large cardbaord flowers that had been made at the squat the previous night, we wern't really sure exactly what to do with them so we thought it would be a good idea to tie them round me to make a sort of festive decoration. I walked round waring it for a while, I had a few reporters come up to me and take photos and want to speek to me, but it was really uncomfortable and it kept falling off. So we thought a better idea was for one of the statues to ware it as s symbol of us turning the whole place into a garden. We managed to climb on top of one of the statue in one of the corners, it wasn't churchill, but the one just down the road from him, i can't remember who it was. It was a perfect fit for him. We stayed there for about an hour, just sitting on the statue, helping to put a few banners up, and generally soaking up the great atmosphere of the occasion. We had an excelent view of everything from there. There were samba bands playing and someone managed to get a maypole up in the middle of the square. This was a bit of a nice supprise, because didn't think the police would allow it. At this point it was an excellent day and everyone was in a happy mood, including the police. We eventually got down from the statue and took a walk one corner of the square, where there was a free mic set up for people to express their views, 2 of the people talking almost came to blows at that point. But still no serious trouble.

It was not until 2 of us started walking towards trafagar square that we saw the first signs of any trouble. At first we saw some riot cops outside downing street, we didnt that much of it because we knew it was a target they would want to protect, it was obvious that the riot cops were inciting the crowd though. A little further down the road, we saw a few people trying to attack the mcdonalds, we finally got to trafalgar square to find each exit was blocked off by a line of riot cops, we didn't really like the idea of this so we started to walk back towards parlement square. At this point the mcdonalds was completely trashed and some people had started on the money exchange next door. This was when the riot cops decided to go for the baton charge. Everyone ran back towards trafagar square and i lost sight of the guy I was with. Once back in trafalgar square I wanted outta there as soon as possible, but all the exits were blocked off by the police. I managed to convince one of them to let me out, but only after i had been searched.

I made my way back to parlement square, which by this time had a pretty large police presence surrounding it. There were still gardening going on and all sorts of fun activities, but outside the square it was far more sinister. The riot police had started closing in on us from all directions. I went to almost every exit from the square and only 1 was open, the rest had a line of riot police gradually moving closer to the square and pushing protesters into an ever smaller area. All the tube stations were shut and there was seemingly no way out. That was until a few of us decided we wern't going to stay there any more and we broke through the police lines at oneend of the square. At first it was just a few of us that broke through, before the police lines were reformed, this gave the croud hope though, and it wasn't long before there was another push and this time the police were completely outnumbered and defeated. We were free on the streets and there was nothing anyone could do about it. The official police version was probably that they directed us to kennington park, but that is just not true, we went there because it was where we wanted to go. This was one of the high points for me, we were recaiming the streets with huge numbers going where they wanted to go. It was totally non-violent and the police were struggling to deal with us. After a little while though, the police backed us into a side street and we had nowhere else to go. After a little negotiation with the police, they decided to allow us to get to our destination, which by this time was only just round the corner. I left soon after the croud got into kennington park. It was a great day out, but for a few over-reacting cops and a few people smashing up mcdonalds, but for that it may have passed off peacefully.

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