the g20 protests: the devil against the detail

(at The Bank of England, April 1st 2009)

by Nathan Coombs

First was the March 28th ‘Jobs, justice, climate’ rally: a quickly forgotten TUC organised trot through central London. Second was the April 1st protest at the Bank of England, where the four horsemen of the apocalypse descended on the Bank, against a fever pitch expectation set by the police and the media about the eruption of a ‘summer of rage.’ Something like 5,000 to 10,000 joined the protest at Bank, and conferring to a well recognised pattern the protest was not so much a unified event, as a conglomeration of events – in a similar vein to the ‘anti-globalisation’ movement of the 1990s and beyond.

In the sense of history repeating itself, Chris Knight, the ‘martyr’ of the G20 Meltdown movement, declared an impending “Velvet Revolution”[i] in the week running up the protest, and the media were quick to invoke parallels with the May Day riots and to label the assorted anarchists groups and hodgepodge of protestors as ‘anti-globalisation activists;’[ii] even in the absence of any anti-globalisation banners, chants or slogans. Needless to say, neither the revolution, nor the anti-globalisation protest materialised. Or in other words, the form of the protests might have stayed the same, but the content had not. Yet surveying the post-mortem commentary about the protest on the left, the blinkers still seem to be on those that only saw what they expected to see, nevermind what was simmering in a inarticulate bubble beneath the surface. Continue reading “the g20 protests: the devil against the detail”

man dies as police clamp down on london g20 protest: photo-report

by David Broder

Today the capital saw a mass march on the City of London, with contingents from four stations around the Square Mile – representing the four horsemen of the apocalypse threatening the system (war; climate change; job losses and the capitalist crisis; lack of housing) – converging at the Bank of England. The numbers at this demonstration, held to coincide with this week’s G20 summit hosted by Gordon Brown, were far greater than those at the SWP-organised “March on the City” and Chris Knight’s “Dancing on the grave of capitalism” event held last October at the peak of the financial meltdown.

Even the Tory Evening Standard reported that there were 4,000 people at the Bank of England, and certainly the protest’s numbers were large for a weekday. However, the demo, as well as the Climate Camp, were tightly contained by the police via a system of ‘kettles’ with 5,000 police, horses and police vehicles on hand to encircle groups of protestors. All in all there were 63 arrests: and late in the evening we heard that a man had died as the police besieged the demonstrators from all sides.

Much unlike Saturday’s turgid march organised by the otherwise lethargic Trades Union Congress and some liberal NGOs, the protests in the City of London were of an anti-capitalist character, mostly animated by anarchists. However, in the recent furore about today’s “G20 Meltdown” the media has greatly puffed up the importance of Chris Knight, the radical anthropologist suspended from his University of East London post for saying that people were so angry that bankers might be hanged from lamp-posts

Photos and a few comments on the events appear below. Besides the events described and depicted in this article, the day also saw a Stop the War rally from the US embassy to the Excel Centre. Continue reading “man dies as police clamp down on london g20 protest: photo-report”