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200 demonstrators detained

!!! No DESi !!! | 09.09.2003 15:58 | DSEi 2003 | Anti-militarism | Indymedia | Technology | London | Sheffield

A small breakaway group of protestors earlier outwitted slow-footed cops and attempted to storm the eastern entrance to the Excel Centre hosting the arms fair DSEi 2003.

At about 2:30pm this afternoon, a group of about 200 protestors,led by a samba band, broke away from the main demonstrations today against the arms fair, DSEi 2003, and out-witted the best efforts of the police to contain them.

The samba band slowly and gently sauntered along 'Jake Russell Walk' running parallel to the Victoria Dock Road. They gayly ambled through a local park and then, en-masse, realised that with a bit of luck, it might be possible to get nearer to the Excel Centre - scene of a disgusting trade in weapons of mass destruction.

A thin blue line of wooden-tops tried to hold the feisty freedom fighters back and waved their little truncheons around. The brave soldiers of peace were undeterred and broke through their cordon.

Confusion, terror and panic reigned for a few minutes on both sides as more reinforcements were called for. A man in his late thirties was wrestled to the ground with about six flat foots on top of him. He was cuffed, roughed up and chucked in the back of a meat-wagon. Protests about how this man was treated was met with violence by Plod and his chums.

The peace protestors realised that they were not going to get nearer to Excel as police reinforcements had quickly been called in. The Forward Intelligence Team had their work cut out trying to record the faces of all the freedom fighters.

The quick-witted protestors realised that they could soon get penned in and made a brave attempt to rejoin the main demonstration but the boys in blue had got their act together and boxed the brave resistance fighters in. Again more police reinforcements were called in and there ended up being as many Plod as there were demonstrators - cunningly tying up police resources.

The protestors were told that they were being held for a 'potential' breach of police and possible damage to property and injury to people. A high-up member of the law explained that the protestors would be free to go when they could all decide where they wanted to go - which was difficult as there was no one spokesperson for the group.

A mobile sound system turned up and was allowed _into_ the cordon to play an uplifting mixture of dub and hip-hop to an appreciative crowd and a bored police force.

Eventually the penny dropped with the police that whilst they had to stand still and act 'professional', the protestors could read, chat, smoke, lie down, dance, speak to their chums on the phone and more - as a waiting game, the police were onto a loser.

After one hour, the so-called threat of a breach of the peace evaporated as quickly as it had appeared from out of the ether and the valiant peace activists were allowed to return back to Victoria Dock Road.

We set off in good spirits and then 'our boys' realised that they didn't have any lads up front and did their best to keep the protestors hemmed in as they walked back to the site of the earlier demonstration - the photos show that it looked like a police demo...

There was a little more confusion as to whether the resistance fighters were actually allowed to go before but eventually 'London's Finest' relented and backed away.

What a result!

!!! No DESi !!!


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09.09.2003 17:36

if 2000 had been following the 200, anything was possible!!

no boby in particular

thanks IMC :-)

10.09.2003 00:06

I was really disappointed with the lack of numbers. This is
my own fault really; I'd set myself up to believe there'd be
hordes of us. (And I didn't do much publicity work myself,
just came along, so there you go)

So I ended the day feeling downhearted and disempowered.

But reading other people's stories, and hearing about actions
I never would have through the corporate media, has lifted my
spirits. Thanks indymedia (ie everyone who contributes and makes
it what it is :)

I'm raring to go now for tomorrow... :P


Love & Disobedience,
A Much Happier Bunny


I felt the same way

10.09.2003 11:23

Disheartened by the lack of numbers and the predictibly unintellegent and overbearing police presence who were intend on creating an atmosphere of fear that was totally uncalled for. But as you say, spirits were lifted when i got home and turned on the TV to see it as the top news story. At least we managed to draw some much needed attention to an event the government had tried to keep quiet and all the stories i've read here are amazing. :)

mail e-mail:

numbers game

11.09.2003 11:31

The lack of numbers can partly be abscribed to the fact that many local activists/radicals seem to have an aversion to organising coaches and other transport so that ordinary people/non- activists who are not 'in the loop' can get involved, . It also stems from the notion, that these activists seem to prefer small scale cell like activity to popular mass action, which can appear elitist to many. Then again , reading the DSEI reports, they showed real courage in their resistance to the death machine, I only hope we will see them apply such imagination and daring to less glamourous campaigns on poverty housing etc.

sheff lad

Re: numbers game

16.09.2003 14:53

It's difficult to organise coaches for something that is longer than one day. As soon as one day drags on for longer than can be sustained by one driver the coach prices go up a lot. Having said that perhaps more publicity could have been done.

It's a shame really because getting involved in a week of activity massively help one get over one's fears and you learn a lot.

Having said that there was a relatively large Sheff contingent down there anyway - relative to other cities of a similar size/distance so I reckon we did quite well.

I've heard the Police numbered 6000 so we could have done a lot better with 12 or 18,000 people to get the same advantage.

another sheff lad