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Liverpool Protests

Ben S | 19.03.2003 19:39 | Liverpool

Protests in Liverpool started with lock-ons at the Town Hall and lead on to sit down road blocks at five city centre locations, blocking up to 9 lanes at a time. The crowd of 600, often lead by Students, marched through most of the City Centre with the police making hardly any attempt at controlling the protesters.

Diverse groups converged on Liverpool Town Hall for an anti-war protest today, with a feeder march coming from the University. Despite no publicity for the event (everything going towards Day X) and only a mass-text message 20 minutes before, 60 students gathered and marched the mile to the Town Hall down, stopping traffic on several major roads on the way.

They joined several hundred protesters already gathered in Town with the corporate media out in force. Several people, from school students to grandmothers were handcuffed to the Town Hall railings. As the crowd grew to over 600 there were speeches from the Stop the War Coalition, Iraqis, Palestinians, Trade Unionists, the Merseyside Peace Council and CND.

A BBC News Online report stated:
A letter of protest was also handed in to the city council, urging city officials to publicly state opposition to the countdown to war in the Gulf.
Liberal Democrat councillor Jeremy Chowings said a resolution had been passed stating a war to remove Saddam Hussein was only acceptable with a second United Nations resolution, which has not been passed.

After 40 minutes a group from Liverpool Student Stop the War lead the crowd off towards The Strand – an eight lane highway and blocked the road at the rear of the Liver Building. This caused traffic to build up further than it was possible to see from a nearby bridge – easily half a mile or more. The police brought in re-enforcements, horses and the helicopter but made no attempt even to warn the protesters that they should move. The demonstration was peaceful but determined and there was never more than a fraction of the numbers of police that would have been needed to move people by threatening mass arrests.

Another half an hour later and the protest moved off again, mostly due to the biting wind blowing off the Mersey and with Police vans quickly reversing back up the streets near the Town Hall as protesters moved towards them, we marched through the Business District and staged another sit-down just short of the pedestrianised shopping area. This was maintained for 15 minutes and moved then moved on (again at the initiative of the protesters, with the police hanging back). After marching through central Liverpool the protesters again blocked a junction on Lime Street that effectively closed off most of the south-westerly routes into the City Centre. After 20 minutes here and more speeches, we moved 300 yards down Lime Street to in front of the station and St. Georges Hall where 7 lanes were blocked for half an hour before the protests ended with a rally on St Georges Plateau.

On returning to the Guild it was discovered that the Police had been calling, asking what are plans were for Day X (the day War breaks out) - they weren't given much of a clue! On the outbreak of War:
CND are holding a vigil at the Podium on Church St, 12-2.
Students will be protesting and taking direct action from 1pm, meet at the back of the Guild.
& the main Merseyside StWC protests will gather from 5pm at the Horse Statue on Church Street.

Hopefully will have pictures up soon.

For more information see

Ben S
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