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Mayday Monopoly 2001

indymedia | 30.04.2001 22:00 | May Day 2001 | Free Spaces | Globalisation | Social Struggles

Feature reports of all Mayday 2001 actions.


Reflections, debate and heated exchanges

There is frantic activity going on in the comment areas of several news stories. Check out and engage in the ongoing discussions:
On the right to protest - debate about tactics, 56 comments
"Today I was a womble"- 40 comments
On "left bias" of imcuk - 35 comments
On sueing the police - 32 comments
A personal account - with heated exchanges between "members of the public" and activists; 153 comments so far...
Police attack Critical Mass - more heated exchanges between "members of the public" and activists; 79 comments
On corporate media - 21 comments
Police criticised - 17 comments
Another womble account- 14 comments
A great big slap in the face for personal freedom - 12 comments
On the way forward after M1 - 10 comments
On webcams suddenly offline - 9 comments

MAYDAY MONOPOLY 2001         May 1 2001

Telling It Like It Was

The total postings to Indymedia on Mayday 2001 events is now almost at 1000. Check the full newswire to navigate through all reports and discussions.


Lots of great coverage at:
Undercurrents - lots of video and audio
Urban 75 Coverage
PGA Global Picture Gallery
Labournet Coverage
Infoshop May 1st News
Infoshop Mayday Page

Prisoners Support

The Legal Defence and Monitoring Group (LDMG) is a London based support group which gives unconditional support to anyone who is arrested in demonstrations, protests and actions.

If you were arrested, know somebody who was detained, or witnessed police mis-behaviour during the May Day protests please contact the LDMG. Any visual evidence (video or photos) you may have of police conduct can be essential to keep someone out of jail.

See LDMG prisoner's update 10/05/01.

The LDMG can be contacted at:
BM Haven, London WC1N 3XX
020 8245 2930 or

MAYDAY MONOPOLY 2001         May 1 2001

Critical Mass Bike Ride

A Critical Mass cycle ride with bicycle activists and pedestrians turned central parts of the City into a car-free zone when two groups met at 7.30AM outside Liverpool Street station in east London and Marylebone station in the west of the city. They attracted more than 1,000 participants and large numbers of police who temporarily, and violently, detained two people [IMC eyewitness report] without charging them - they deliberately beat a woman about the head in the process. Many DIY journalists filmed the event.
[ Starting at Liverpool Street Station]

MAYDAY MONOPOLY 2001         May 1 2001

Giant Veggie Burger Giveaway

At 9.30AM, campaigners from the animal rights group London Animal Action started to distribute free veggie-burgers outside the busy McDonald's fast food franchise opposite King's Cross train station. After the arrival of the Critical Mass bike rides about 1,000 plus people began celebrating on the streets outside north London's key train network 'hub'. A samba band kept the crowds entertained until several hundred officers forced people west up Euston Road.

MAYDAY MONOPOLY 2001         May 1 2001

Peacenik in the Park

20 to 30 people attended an autonomous event with "no agenda" at approxiamtely 10AM in Embankment Gardens. People were invited to "turn up, have fun and enjoy the freedom of the capital city" and to "create your own entertainment, free from the capitalist oppression of working."

MAYDAY MONOPOLY 2001         May 1 2001

Building Hotels on Mayfair

People built symbolic hotels to highlight London's growing homelessness problem Groups seeking to draw attention to the amount of people sleeping rough or who are homeless in the capital built a series of 'hotels' at Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park from 11AM. The Hilton Hotel situated on Park Lane currently charges £581 a night for a room in its exclusive executive suite.
Many protesters then initiated a spontaneoous action moving from Hyde Park to the West End.

MAYDAY MONOPOLY 2001         May 1 2001

Anti-Capitalist Carnival at Angel

Info being distributed An autonomous news stand was set up opposite the usual one outside Angel tube in north London at about 8AM. All sorts of information was on display including details on the campaigns involved in the variety of actions taking place across London for May Day. There was also a critique of the media which highlighted the fact that mainstream media is generally owned by - and therefore reflects - the interests of corporations. As 12 police officers came to have a look one of them asked: "So this is your demo, giving out information?"

MAYDAY MONOPOLY 2001         May 1 2001

The Morning - Euston

Police begin hemming people inside Euston Square After being driven away from King's Cross station about 800-1,000 people - including Critical Mass cyclists and the Rhythms of Resistance samba band - were then contained by several hundred police officers in riot vans. Police prevented the crowd from moving and coralled them into a small area outside the station itself. At this point people started drifting away. Once police had surrounded the remaining crowd they announced that a 'Section 60' was being imposed on the remaining 500 people. In moves echoing the N30 protests in 1999 people were then allowed to leave the area once police reinforcements had arrived. Leaving in single file each individual was stopped, searched and 'snapped' by a police photographer. Many refused to be photographed on the grounds that it is not legal and police were forced to back down.

MAYDAY MONOPOLY 2001         May 1 2001

Anti-privatization South London Picnic

South London's major May Day action took place at the key transport 'hub' of Elephant and Castle roundabout at noon. Protestors dressed as corporate fat cats played an elaborate "game" about the dangers of privatising the London Underground. A pedal-powered sound system provided music and people danced in the drizzling rain, first on the street, then in the square, as a very heavy police presence prevented the party from blocking the street. After almost two hours the 300-odd protestors moved off towards Westminster bridge, managing to outwit police blockades several times, but finally police prevented them crossing the river. At Lambeth bridge it was the same, so the crowd split up and headed north in separate groups.

MAYDAY MONOPOLY 2001         May 1 2001

Student Action Against Fees

100 Students and other campaigners seeking to publicise the issue of personal debt and university fees converged on London University on Malet Street at Noon. Police surrounded the protestors - with the intention of removing peoples masks under a 'Section 60' order. When Independent Legal Observers informed the police that they were acting beyond the law the section 60 order was dropped.

MAYDAY MONOPOLY 2001         May 1 2001

Break the Bank - Cancel all Debt

About 100 people gathered outside the Strand-based offices of the private bank Coutts and undertook a "humorous picket about a serious issue" from noon. Police in riot vans surrounded protesters for a period of time and refused to allow people to leave.

Coutts customers include the Queen and other members of the UK's aristocracy.

MAYDAY MONOPOLY 2001         May 1 2001

Union March

The traditional Mayday TUC march is reported to have passed from Highbury Fields at around midday and finished in Clerkenwell for a final rally.

MAYDAY MONOPOLY 2001         May 1 2001

Feed The Birds

Police surrounded Trafalgar Square at about noon and used yet another Section 60 to corall in all those who had been feeding the square's famous pigeons. Animal rights groups including London Animal Action provided food for the pigeons in a bid to reverse the decision taken by London's Mayor, Ken Livingstone, to enforce a programme of eradication through starvation. Campaigners maintain that the birds are being forced to die in a bid to make way for more elaborate retail space.

MAYDAY MONOPOLY 2001         May 1 2001

NoBorders protest against Accommodata

Campaigners played a special Monopoly to shed light on the plight of asylum-seekers and immigration issues throughout the UK at the Earls Court offices of Accommodata Limited from 1pm. The firm specialises in housing refugees as part of a lucrative Home Office contract. Check out report and further info on detention.
[ report | detention ]

MAYDAY MONOPOLY 2001         May 1 2001

Beltane celebration at Piccadilly

About 250 people gathered in the drizzling rain to celebrate the traditional Pagan Beltane celebrations. Critical Mass arrived to loud cheers.

MAYDAY MONOPOLY 2001         May 1 2001

Anti-Debt Protest at World Bank offices

About 1,000 anti-debt protesters - from a varied number of groups including Globalise Resistance - met at the World Bank's offices in Haymarket and then marched up Regent Street to Oxford Circus.

MAYDAY MONOPOLY 2001         May 1 2001

Solidarity with Prisoners

At 2PM, about 15 people gathered outside Pentonville prison on Caledonian Road in North London from 2PM. They were immediately detained upon arriving against the prison wall and cordoned in under section 60. In the United States nearly 1% of the entire population is currently imprisoned, while a massive prison-building programme for the UK is currently in its final planning stages.
[ full report]

MAYDAY MONOPOLY 2001         May 1 2001

Action Against the Fur Trade

Anti-animal cruelty activists were set to picket Philip Hockley Furs on London's premier shopping boulevard, Regent Street from 2PM. The fur shop is the biggest of its kind still remaining in the UK capital and has dealt in the pelts of threatened animal populations from around the world.

MAYDAY MONOPOLY 2001         May 1 2001

Sale of the Century

Central London webcam image The much talked-about "Sale of the Century" took place on Oxford Street from early on in the afternoon when protesters arrived in central London's key retail district. Most shops were boarded up after massively over-hyped announcements by the police and the mainstream media about Mayday riots. People had been gathering there for a while but almost as soon as large crowds of protesters arrived police sealed up to 1,500-2,000 of them within the area using much-abused Section 60 powers. Many people were kept coralled inside the area for up to 7 hours. Howver, a push on police lines by the WOMBLES allowed several hundred people to breach the thick lines of heavily-armed, aggressive police officers and make their escape into the backstreets of Lodon's trendy Soho and wealthy Mayfair districts.

MAYDAY MONOPOLY 2001         May 1 2001

One-off actions throughout the day

WAFFLE protester A small group of non-violent, creative activists calling themselves WAFFLE? (Why are Auditing Firms Forming Lobbying Enterprises?) targeted three of the 'Big Five' auditing firms represented in London: Accenture (formerly part of Arthur Anderson), KPMG, and PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

Thousands of council workers whose jobs with the London Borough of Hackney are threatrened by a privatisation package have taken strike action throughout the day. A couple of hundred workers have been maintaining picket lines throughout the north east London neighbourhood.

Around 100 people - mainly GPs hospital staff, UNISON members, the Socialist Alliance and local Green Party members - took action at 8AM at the Royal London hospital in Whitechapel, east London to oppose the Labour Government's private finance initiative (PFI)

MAYDAY 2001         May 1 2001

Other UK Actions

Birmingham anti-war/anti capitalism protest Bristol: A 'chilled out' carnival against capital with some added mischief for good measure.

Manchester: Series of different actions took place in the city with police penning in a peaceful demonstration.

Leeds: At 12.30pm people congregated at Central Square.

Birmingham: Several protesters gathered near the city's central area. A number of arrests were made.

In Glasgow 1200 people took to the streets of Glasgow to celebrate and participate in the worldwide struggle against capitalism. Read report.

MAYDAY 2001         May 1 2001

International Actions

Protester highlights Nike slave wages Europe: In Germany. Some of the first Mayday actions took place the night before May 1st. Several thousand people were celebrating on the streets until continuous police provocations triggered some massive confrontations between police and residents.
In Athens, Greece, Communist Party demonstrators took part in a May Day rally and march.

Australia: Actions started in
Melbourne with Critical Mass bike rides and blockades of financial centres.
In Sydney, the countryís largest city, protestors began meeting at 7AM, forming barricades at the major entrances to the Sydney Stock Exchange. A crowd of about 6000 May Day protesters - including trade unionists - has marched through central Melbourne, blocking Collins Street and causing widespread disruption to lunchtime traffic. One arrest, several people hauled away and a few hurt.

South America: In the Colombian city of Medellin severel thousand people took part in the annual march called by the two main trade union confederations.

North America: In Pittsburgh, USA, 50-200 people celebrated May Day at lunchtime. Read the full story.
In Vancouver, Canada, CBC radio is reporting arrests and "violence" at the May Day protests.

Bahrain, Labour groups demanded that the new Emir recognise thousands of unemployed.

Meanwhile, in
South Korea, hundreds of people formed a mass "wave" action in Jonju to protest against the dredging of mudflats and blowing up of 120 mountains. Mayday is also Buddha's official birthday in the east Asian country.
[ May Day around the world | San Francisco | Los Angeles ]