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Mayday 01 corporate media coverage (17Apr)

indymedia | 17.04.2001 22:00 | May Day 2001

Mainstream coverage of Mayday 2001 (17 Apr articles).

17 Apr 2001

NINEMSN / Apr 17 2001
May Day demonstrators plan to paralyse London
Every paragraph in this report ended in something like 'said The Times yesterday':

Demonstrators to paralyse London and occupy high-profile building where they can hold out for days - quoted an anonymous police official as saying - organisers have called in demonstrators against just about anything -- globalisation, pollution, vivisection -- including many from America and the rest of Europe - Scotland Yard trying to infiltrate the organisations, some of whose members said they had been threatened with arrest if they did not cooperate... "The Times said"

With an article on the frontpage and 3 more inside...

Militants 'plan May Day siege'
Violent activists planning to occupy important London building to extend demonstrations by several days - undercover officers trying to infiltrate radical groups to discover intended target as organisers plan vast series of demonstrations to paralyse capital - Scotland Yard adopting "zero tolerance" approach - protest will target more than 200 banks, public buildings,shops and media headquarters - protest veterans from America and Europe expected - security organisations fear radical groups intent on violence - "The belief is that the ringleaders want this to last more than a day so they will take over a high-profile building in London knowing it is not an easy job to remove them" - protesters’ tactic is to overrun the police - scores of groups pick different addresses while the site of the main attack is kept secret - goverment buildings under surveillance - other likely targets advised to take security precautions.

This year the protest organisers are accusing the police of being provocative with their claims of extremist infiltration and violent intent. One said "How can they justify warning anyone who wants to demonstrate peacefully not to show up in London?" Activists also complain that they had been threatened with arrest unless they acted as informants for the police.

May Day mayhem across the board
Protest ringleaders playing intricate game of bluff with police - they know security authorities are monitoring their labyrinth of Internet sites and electronic mail. "The trick is to leave genuine clues as well as misleading trails for the police to follow but obviously the end-game, which is predicted to be violent, is a secret known only to a few" - to succeed ringleaders need scores of fringe groups protesting about everything to stage diversions, these are intended to be peaceful but police will have to be at every one, which leaves the hard core to pick one of these or choose somewhere different - all protest groups to come together in Oxford Street to target shops and restaurants including the Body Shop, McDonald’s, Starbucks and Gap. In between, fur trade protestors will picket a Mayfair fashion house, protesters against cars will gather at Trafalgar Square, anti-monarchists will take the Mall and critics of Third World debt will go to the Strand - last mayday a plan to take over a government building in Whitehall was prevented by police - police hoping fewer people will turn up this year out of fear of violence and "zero tolerance" - new laws allow police to order removal of balaclavas and masks - bizarre and harmless protests include animal rights protesters dressing as characters from Mary Poppins feeding pigeons in Trafalgar Square - homeless campaigners are urged to build cardboard hotels and erect them in prestigious London streets - police are dismissing threat by demonstrators to hand themselves in the night before mayday - organisers believe mayday monopoly already a success with all police leave cancelled, reinforcements drafted in and Tony Blair ordering that London not be brought to a standstill"

Revolution? We're here for the beer
The Times reports on weekend mayday meeting in a pub near Kings Cross "to finalise arrangements for paralysing the capital" - drinkers surprised to be photographed by police - meeting advertised on the Internet - police say they have to attend - people turned up wearing masks, scrafs and sunglasses to foil photographers - while activists criticise heavyhanded police behaviour, the Times points out they "barged" a Times reporter out of the meeting saying "We will be contacting you when we have something to say"

"If us in this pub are the centre of the international revolutionary conspiracy, then the State doesn’t have much to be worried about." "His analysis seemed to be confirmed when two police officers walked into the bar during the meeting asking to use the lavatory. The worst the officers faced was a barrage of insults" - well what did the reporter expect? violence?

A demonstrator said that the police and the media would be responsible for violence if it happened - "They are the ones talking about it and they will be the ones who will have created it if it happens" - a Met Police spokesman said: "We are not saying that these people are anything but law-abiding citizens, but operations like controlling the May Day event are always intelligence-led... If I saw an officer taking a picture of me going into a pub, I would smile and bid them good day"

Foreigners invited to bolster violent 'spikies'
Veteran protestors from Washington, Seattle, Prague and recent anti nuclear waste transport protests in Germany invited to "foment May Day chaos" - strategy to make sure 5000 police will not be able to cope with outbreak of violence - vast majority of planned protests will be harmless - police worried about conflict between 'fluffies' and 'spikies' - Special Branch attention shifted from RTS (which "launched the mass protests of pedestrians and cyclists that clogged London’s streets in 1995") - a 'former campaign organiser' said "the new breed are coming to London only for violence" - intelligence operations looking at foreign radicals and "homegrown spikies" - police investigating the Anarchist Federation, Solidarity Federation, the Birmingham 26 Collective and Urban Alliance - police have tried to infiltrate such groups with varying degrees of success - earlier in the month police raided Wombles "training camp" - Wombles look harmless in their white overalls padded out with bubble wrap and polystyrene, which they claim deflects police batons. However, their masks and disguises make them impossible to identify and they have copied the organisational skills of Ya Basta, the highly disciplined Italian group which has travelled to Mexico to support the successful Zapatista rebels and is also expected in London - joined by American anti-capitalist groups that staged effective demonstrations against riot police in Washington and Seattle.