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Ken Livingstone cancels speech at ESF

Voluntary Slave | 16.10.2004 18:33 | European Social Forum | London

21:30: The demonstration has entered the Tottenham campus, the location of Beyond ESF. Apart from the one arrest at Alexandra Palace earlier, everyone is safe and sound.

21:05: The crowd is walking in the middle of White Hart Lane, and has got as far as the sports area. Police helecopters are flying overhead. Everything is OK.

20:40:The crowd has marched passed Wood Green tube station, taking a detour to come out past he station and off the main road. Crowd numbers are now aprox 200. There are four police vans, which is much less than before. Once people left the main road the police escort decreased. There is a good mood in the crowd with chants of "our streets".

20:35: Demonstrators are approaching Wood Green tube station, marching along the road with a banner saying "ESF --another world for sale. We say another world is possible."

20:20: 150-200 people are now walking back to the Beyond ESF space. A police van (driving too fast) drove into protestors. No-one was hurt. Demonstrators kicked the van; other police vans are in close proximity.

20:10: Other eye-witnesses say that the police were "quite" violent, using batons while making the arrest. 100s of people are marching towards Wood Green, there is no trouble with them at the moment.

20:00: The part of the demonstration oustide Ali Pali contains 100 people. There was a confirmed report of one arrest in the past few minutes. An eye-witness describes police "wading in" and the person arrested being "bundled into a van." Demonstrators are now moving towards Wood Green station.

19:50: Some of the protestors are moving outside of Alexandra Palace (Ali Pali). Police presence outside is small numerically. Demonstrators outnumber police and are encircling them. Police are coming out of Ali Pali as reinforcements. Police are trying to move noisy demonstrators off road onto pavement and not really succeeding. There are reports of extra police vans arriving from both inside and outside Alexandra Palace.

19:20: between 200 and 400 people have succeeded in entering the official European Social Forum without paying or registering. They are in the main plenary space, scaling scaffolding and hanging banners saying: "Another world is for sale" and "Ken's party -- the war party", referring to Mayor Ken Livingstone, funder of the ESF and member of the ruling New Labour Party.

While Ken Livingstone has cancelled his planned plenary speech, protestors are now giving speeches explaining why they are dissatisfied with the current ESF, including reading a statement from the translation group, Babels, explaining that while they would be happy to work in a Social Forum that followed the WSF principles, they had problems with the way the ESF in London had been organised. Babels had 500 international volunteer translators who were keen to work according to WSF principles, but many have not come to the ESF in London (see earlier criticism of the London organising from Babels).

Babels said, "Many opportunities of experimentation and innovation have been missed out on during the organization of this forum, resulting in the exclusion of many. This is in total contradiction to the Porto Allegre charter. Instead, the London ESF has employed classical neoliberal organization, management & service delivery, with the result that the forum has been totally dependent on the state. This has had disastrous consequence for the development of our movement." They finally mentioned that, "as ESF delegates prepare to discuss the fight against racism and facism in Europe today, some of our fellow translators cannot be here today because they are not allowed into the UK. It is sad that the organisers of the ESF have not helped in this process."

2004-10-17 spanner fixed a few typos in last paragraph

Voluntary Slave