This report was dictated by phone from Edinburgh as the Indymedia centre was
not accessible due to an emerging police presence in the area on Wednesday
The Scottish Socialist Voice front page summed it up when it said "They came in
intimidating dark colours with accents that marked them out as outsiders, armed
and intent on violence. The Metropolitan Police, the West Yorkshire Police,
the Humberside Police." The press has been whipping up the fears of the
Scottish people for over a fortnight now and, as
an article on
our website says, the press first makes people afraid and then interviews
them about their fear.
If they were to be
believed, scenes of anti-capitalist protests would be more like scenes from the
film Kung Fu Hustle than the reality. Also, those naughty, naughty embedded
journalists from the BBC had been telling the world that the protests had been
cancelled. It's interesting if not surprising that the BBC was happy to
broadcast news that there was no evidence for, simply in order to try to do the
G8 a favour and turn protesters back from the demonstrations.
Today has been a day when the anti-capitalist movement has fought a good battle
on many fronts and the disruption that they've caused is not one tiny fraction
of the disruption and devastation that the policies of the G8 countries create.
The day began with anarchists, in true Che Guevara style, taking to the hills in
order to rain chaos down upon the forces of their law and order.
Early morning road blockades and skirmishes with riot police resulted in a real
headache for them and only a handful of activists arrested. One set of such
activists at the Dissent rural convergence centre in Stirling were confronted by
police the moment they attempted to leave their encampment. But they were still
able to block a key road, preventing bowler-hatted apparatchiks getting to the
summit on time. Other black-clad activists were able to disrupt Dunblane train
station preventing other G8 summit goers getting to their appointments.
By this time G8 Alternatives had organised numerous coaches from all over
Scotland and were attempting to converge on the pretty village of Auchterarder.
The police had been practising their tactics of disrupting transport yesterday
Dungavel protest and they did their best to prevent activists even attending
the demonstrations. This made a mockery of police assurances that they would
comply with the Scottish Parliament decision to allow the protests to take
Many coaches were detained outside of Stirling at the Broxden roundabout.
Protesters became more and more frustrated but as their numbers built the police
found it far more difficult to contain their potential anger. They were given an
ultimatum: let us protest at Gleneagles or we protest here, cutting off western
road links for the whole of Scotland.
The police had tried various tactics to explain why they thought it necessary to
detain the coaches, claiming that the anarchists had blocked off the road
leading into Gleneagles. This was completely untrue and a blatant attempt by the
boys in blue to create divisions within our ranks. At last the coaches were
allowed to set off but only with a police escort chugging along at ten miles an
Meanwhile in Edinburgh, thousands of protesters had been prevented from even
getting on their coaches and in frustration a vigorous blockade of Princes
Street took place with 2000 angry anti-capitalists. The police moved in and
arrested the stewards.
At Auchterarder, the
several thousand protesters who had managed to make their way through earlier in
the day, despite the police preventing anyone getting off at the train station,
were soon joined by the really impressive convoy of coaches released from the
police blockade. There must have been around fifty coaches, including
double-deckers, parading through the village. The villagers' response was
heart-warming to say the least. Smiling, waving, with thumbs up, time and again
the villagers showed they had not bought in to the bullshit.
Thousands of protesters then assembled and marched down towards Gleneagles. One
of the protest organisers, Chris Nineham of Globalise Resistance, estimated that
there were 10,000 protesters at the scene and we marched down to the steel
fences that surrounded the conference centre. Some protesters took themselves
into a nearby field as they were watched by rows of well-armed mounted police.
The scene was that of a well fortified encampment with lines of police and
watchtowers with searchlights and Chinook helicopters circling overhead. The
protesters rattled the fences and some, though not many, breached the outer
defences, if only momentarily. Police then set dogs loose into the fields and
the mounted police beat some demonstrators back with brutal force. Police at the
back of the demonstration, unbeknownst to the rest of us, harassed and
intimidated and in some cases detained protesters. Whilst we were not able to
get any further, we were within spitting distance of the world leaders.
What do these demonstrations prove? That the movement's very diversity is our
strength. Whether we're black-clad, red-clad or white-clad, we all have a
positive contribution to make. But it also shows that, in a sane society, the
rings of police surrounding the conference centre would not have been facing
outwards, opposing the demonstrators for peace and social justice, but would
have been facing inwards, smashing up the meeting of those responsible for the
impoverishment and murder of countless thousands of people around the globe.