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Thursday among the Irish at the G8 summit

category international | summit mobilisations | news report author Friday July 08, 2005 09:47author by - wsm/dissent Report this post to the editors

Most of us had barely been asleep an hour, when at three o'clock the alarm went off. I woke to the sound of people shouting 'get out of your tent, the police are here'. Our delegates were sent to the front gate while the rest of us waited. They came back with the word that twenty police vans had arrived but they had said that they would not enter the camp. A small group of watchers stayed awake, the rest of us went back to our cold beds.

e woke to a glorious summer day and the news that we were still surrounded by police. A campwide meeting was convened to consider our response but it became difficult to move forward with such a large group so it was decided to take the issue to the barrios instead. As the barrios were meeting, the news of the bombings in London came through. The meeting finished, the delegates were sent back to a Spokescouncil. Throughout the camp groups of people clustered around radios looking for information. Obviously many here have homes, friends and familly and loved ones. Some tried to make contact, others worked out how they could get back as fast as they could.

Meanwhile the police stayed at the front gate. Their policy towards us changed continuely. At times they prevented anyone from leaving, at others those with rucksacks or a trainticket or good excuse were allowed out, at others you could leave if you allowed your possessions to be searched, at others you could come and go freely. One of the Irish got talking to one of inspectors as he negoiated his way back into camp and discovered that a number of police forces were present (the met, west yorkshire, maybe another), and each force was answerable only to its own chain of command, and these commands could only be transfered up and down hierarchically, and not between the police forces laterly.

This lead to the crazy situation where at one end of the police barricade the police were following instructions to let people through and a couple of feet away, a different police force, following different instructions were stopping and searching. And people think that hierarchy = organisation!

One of the things I noticed in the media reports and police actions is the assumption that all the blocades yesterday and the events in Edinburh on Monday were being co-ordinated by one master brain somewhere who was directing the action, moving us about like pawns on a chess board. The reality is that all the actions were taken independantly and autonomously of each other, and indeed the majority were taken in such secrecy that most of us didn't know what was going to happen until it already had. I spoke to people who had left the camp on Tuesday, slept out all night under trees and then crept out through the fields to block a road. Then to their suprise they were joined by other groups who were doing exactly the same thing, 'people were appearing from all over the place'.

The long meeting on what to do ground to a halt over disagreement over whether to send a media statement in reaction to the bombing (some early commentators suggested it might have been planted by those opposing the G8). Many of the camp have a strict policy of dealing with the corporate media. I think it was decided that a statement would be released, but only signed by those barrios which supported it. It was also decided to march as a group to the front lines and on to the womens prison in Stirling.
However the march was prevented from leaving and for a couple of very boring but sunny hours we were trapped in camp ( as someone said 'this is prisoners support, we are the prisoners').

Some people stayed at the policelines, most others hung out in the campsite chatting. It was a day of doing nothing.

A small memorial to the London dead was constructed at the camp gate and people left flowers and candles. I think it is fair to say however that many in the camp aren't particularily aware of the extent of what has happened. With no sky news and no constant updates, we are quite isolated from what is happening in the wider world.

Many of those arrested were released, some on bail conditions that meant they had two hours to leave Scotland. On Wednesday one Irish had been arrested during a lock on (a road was blocked by people changing themselvest to a car), he re-appeared in the evening and reported that unlike the rest of us, hehad had a warm nights sleep.

In the evening others in the camp went to a meeting between the Eco-village and local activists. The people they met were community workers or activists who all lived locally and would have been broadly against g8 activity. We expected hostility and but didn't fine it. It was decided that the residents of stirling would be invited to dinner in the camp on Friday. Every friday and saturday they have a stall in the center of Stirling and it was agreed that some of us would join them on their stall this week. Those present from the camp wanted to find out if we could donate money to anyone who had the windows of their homes broken. The residents said that besides newspaper reports, they hadn't met anyone who knew anyone to whom this had actually happened, but they would try to find out more. I have spoken to quite a few people on the black block action and haven't been able to find any who saw damage to domestic houses. One told me that he saw an unmarked police car being trashed (it was known to be a police car because their were hats inside) and it is possible that this car is being presented within the press as one owned by local inhabitants.

At night the soundsystems set up, those at the front kept an eye on the police, and the rest of us sat around the campfire once more, talking, drinking and reciting poetry.

author by Joepublication date Fri Jul 08, 2005 14:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thanks for this but where is the traditional 'Im off for food/frink' ending we've come to expect?

author by Joepublication date Fri Jul 08, 2005 14:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I don't know what your on Pete but the protesters don't decide where the police go. Tony Blair made the decisions that 10,600 cops (of whom 1,500 were MET) should protect him and his 7 buddies rather than the 20 million odd population of London. And he probably had a much better idea of the risk he was taking than the rest of us.

author by Caravaggiopublication date Fri Jul 08, 2005 17:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

surely the best thing under the circumstances would be for everyone to pack up their egos and their bugbears and head home. you don't have a mandate and are wasting vaulable police time when it could be put to better use elsewhere.

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