Anti-terror tactics used to chill free speech, shut down protests.
Lee Ann McAdoo
June 11, 2013
Six arrests have been made today in the UK, after riot police raided a London building occupied by Anti-G8 group, Stop G8, just hours before a planned demonstration.
The “Carnival Against Capitalism” was planned for noon today as the kick-off event for a week of protests in the capital, before Britain hosts the Group of Eight summit in Northern Ireland next week.
A helicopter hovered above the premises, located just off Regent’s Street in the Soho area, as more than 100 police officers raided the building with reinforcements cordoning nearby streets and blocking protestors. A London police spokesman said:
“There’s a warrant being executed there. Our protest liaison teams are actively working to engage with those wishing to protest so that we can facilitate peaceful protest.”
Stop G8 had refused to participate with police, giving little indication of how many people planned to attend the protests or where demonstrations would take place. Prior to protests, the group released an action map where “100 locations in the West End connected to blatant murder, oppression and exploitation” would be targeted. Targets include banks, hedge funds, the world’s biggest arms’ producer Lockheed Martin, mining and energy companies including BP, and “dens of the rich” such as hotels, a gentlemen’s club and a jeweler.
In a statement, Stop G8 said: “Traditionally, carnival is the time where the people take over the streets, the bosses run and hide, and the world gets turned upside down. It is a time to celebrate our resistance and our dreams, to bring music and colour to the streets. And also to show our strength and our anger.”
Latest news from the group’s twitter indicates that police may have used tasers on some protestors as well as excessive use of force, adding it was ironic that police – fully outfitted in riot gear – were arresting protestors who refused to unmask their faces.
The Stop G8 group, who describe themselves as “A network of groups and individuals against the 2013 G8 summit and against capitalism,” says it will not be deterred as blocks of protestors are on the move “free and unkettled” to their next spot of protest.