I posted a bunch of jokey stuff this morning as an April Fool, but it is G20 Protest Day and the live action of the G20 rally is no joke. Based upon updates via Twitter of events through the day:
Police barricaded protesters in at Liverpool Street at 11:00 after things got lively and there's an extreme police presence in the City today, not surprisingly.
By 12:00, protesters converged on the Bank of England shouting: "Storm the bank", "Shame on you" and
"What do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now!"
Many held banners, with some of the funnier ones saying things like: "Make Love, Not Leverage" and a fluffy toy of a (dead) canary to represent Canary Wharf.
At 14:00, the Royal Bank of Scotland's branch in Bartholomew Lane, next to the Bank of England, had its windows broken,
with protesters entering and urinating on the floor. Apparently a lot
of people are urinating on bank doors across the City (yuch! are they taking the a piss or what?).
Riot police now take action and some trouble ignites.
Meanwhile, a crowd has also gathered outside the US Embassy, but police are keeping things under strict control at both Threadneedle and US Embassy. Most trouble is centred right now around the Bank of England however.
Picture from Ethical Man
Royal Bank of Scotland staff told to go home from Head Office (Bishopsgate). Deutsche Bank staff locked in offices.
Whilst my capital market friends at one bank just sent this chant:
What do we want?
Derivative market reform and improved capital adequacy for the banking sector!
When do we want it?
In due course, following appropriate stakeholder consultation...
Also noted is the currency of the activists, as they do need money after all:
Breaking the windows of RBS and attacking the branch.
Picture source: the Guardian
Looks bad doesn't it?
But some of this looks more "stage managed" than perhaps we first think:
Just look at all those photographers ... and some folks have even managed to create a video:
There's also a bunch of police inside the branch who blow out the flames of fire as the protesters try to wreak havoc.
23 are arrested and the police create a ring fence so they cannot leave.
Some bankers joined the protest (?) and a sign in one bank window said "Whilst you are protesting, we are repossessing your home", whilst some City workers apparently leaned out of windows waving £10 and £20 notes at the protesters ... nice.
More pictures from Sky News.
Been keeping up with G20 and protests all day on Twitter and then saw this:
Yep, especially as many of the pics and links I've used today came through Twitter, including many people caught up at Bank Tube where they are cordoned off by police:
Pic from Joe the Drummer
Timely to talk about why Twitter matters, wasn't it?
Just watched the news headlines and several thousand folks still appear to be cordoned off around the Bank of England by police. They are chanting "let us out" but being ignored.
Back to Twitter and one journalist reports "police brutality! Attacking anyone,even those running away and journalists. I got a shield in the face. Patience run out."
As a result, rioting has started it's claimed:
Bear in mind most of these people have now been blocked from leaving the area for six hours and tempers are starting to break, even with those who were demonstrating peacefully.
Similarly, reports are that the initial trouble flared when police blocked exits from the area.
24 arrests made so far.
Many protesters peaceful.
Police move against the climate change group.
Picture: Jon Purkis
The police action was followed by the crowd shouting: "This is not a riot, shame on you" at the police and holding their hands up in peace.
Seems a bit extreme, but this is what's coming out from ground force twitterers.
Jon Packman of the Climate Change group report that "the riot police charged us for no reason and now we're sitting in front of them after getting battered. Unbelievable."
Kuxi reckons the police are disappointed that the crowd didn't react, whilst Pete Blakemore says that it "seems like a lot
of journalists arent concerned with getting material anymore, but more
about their own safety, myself included."
Thank goodness it seems like sanity is starting to come to the situation, as some folks are now being allowed to leave.
I thought it would have finished by now as the police would want to get home and see England beat the Ukraine in the World Cup Qualifiers but no ... it goes on.
Southbites says they're "in front of dozens of riot police. Bloody intimidating. London bridge."
Matt tweets "Is anyone else hemmed in by riot police on bishopsgate? Cosy isn't it?"
No wonder Clive Flint asks: "And now it seems the Police aren't letting the protesters leave. Do they want a riot? Seems a good way to get one.
Thanks to George Monbiot at the Guardian who has just posted this:
At the G20 protests in London only one group appears to be looking for violent confrontation – and it's not the protesters
Well, today is no April Fool.
Jon Packman: "Still blockaded by riot police. Never experienced anything like it. Even at millwall. Serious misuse of powers. Animals."
Keith Mannock: "Just gone past the Bank of England. Incredible number of police. So many in riot gear. Protesters throwing bottles. Oh dear."
Red Pepper Mag: "'We didn't start the fire ... No we didn't light it. But we tried to fight it.' Climate Camp still blocked but we won't give up."
Daniel Vockins: "Just got shoved by the riot cops for standing still with my arms in the air - police were calling ppl "f***ing c***s."
OK, so I'm turning in for the night and did a quick final check on what's happened. And yes, this is the final check and no continuation past this post.
There are about 300 people left at Liverpool Street trying to get home.
The number arrested is now up at 63, and the official BBC summary of the day says that RBS, HSBC and other banks were broken into with windows smashed.
I find that the day is exactly what we predicted ... or maybe not.
The police managed the crowd by keeping them penned in like sheep for the day with no ability to move or leave, regardless of whether they were violent or peaceful.
From my connection with the twittering crowd today, I can only say that I felt their frustration and anger on the end of the wire.
As a result, some would say, Boris Johnson, Gordon Brown and Sir Paul Stephenson ... shame on you. On the other hand, others may say that they're only anarchists and anticapitalists and we can now have a safe and secure G20 summit, so who cares?
You can take your own view.