25 March 2009

Next week's news: Riots in London

London will be hosting the G20 summit meeting next week, and the consensus is that protests this year will be even more vigorous and violent than in previous years. Commentary from The Guardian:
Thousands of G20 Meltdown campaign posters show a mannequin wearing a suit being hanged, while an anarchist website has the slogan: "Burn a banker!"

...a rumoured plan to block the Blackwall Tunnel and cause a security scare on the London Underground by leaving bags unattended on trains. There is also speculation that protesters will drive a tank to the ExCeL conference centre in London's Docklands, where the G20 are meeting, and attempt to harass politicians with wake-up calls to their hotels in the middle of the night.

There are growing fears for the safety of people making their way to work on 1 and 2 April... "Businesses might want to consider asking their staff not to dress in a suit and tie as a lot of the protesters say they're going to target bankers...

A climate camp - similar to those at Heathrow airport and Kingsnorth power station in Kent - will target the European Climate Exchange at Bishopsgate. The Stop the War campaign will march on the US embassy in Grosvenor Square. Police are also expecting action to block streets, attempts to infiltrate and occupy buildings, and marches heading in several directions simultaneously...

"There will be a lot of people out there for whom this is the first opportunity to express their anger and look for another way of doing things. The anti-globalisation movement last time was doing it in the teeth of a boom. Now capitalism has floundered and people want an alternative to what we've had."
Sadly, the most spectacular and destructive actions will likely be performed not by people who are conscientiously protesting, but by others drawn to such spectacles with a simple desire to destroy, damage, and create havoc. This happens at American poltical conventions, at antiwar rallies as far back as I can remember in the 1960s. Often there are suggestions of "black ops" amid the "protests." It is definitely a time to be cautious about knee-jerk interpretations of apparent events.

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