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reflections on sack parliament

Concerned Anarchists | 11.10.2006 13:00 | SOCPA | Social Struggles | London

The following is a summary of what me, and the group i was with at sack parliament felt about the day

For a start, congratualtions to 'bring the war home' for even suggesting suck an audacious action, better luck next time, and you can count on our support again. We have seen sevreral comments along the lines of 'i knew the numbers would be crap, so i didn't turn up', which sucks, as we should all be prepared to demonstrate injustice wether there are 1,000,000 of us, or just 1.

The main point of this post is to ask some questions about the tactics of the 'anti authoritarian' bloc in parliament square.
For those of you that wernt there, the bloc (comprising about 25 people) turned up and immediatley launched into the police lines. With consultation with other protesters, this could have been a (partial) sucess, but instead it was nothing more than a 30 second scuffle. The media scrum around the bloc outnumbered bloc participants, which some seemed pleased with, making lame attempts to block camera shots and saying 'no journos'. as the bloc was retreating, one member was overheard saying 'we just did it for the cameras'.
The blocs action resulted in the cops penning us in, exept for the anti-authoritarian bloc, most members of which disapeared, and were not seen for the rest of the day.
We are all for black blocs, anti-authoritarian and anarchist blocs (being anarchists ourselves), but the point of this one seemed dubious. As a group who are willing to confront police, we have always seen it as our responsibility to shield peaceful protesters from police brutality, but on the day, the bloc escalated the situation, then the majority left, leaving protesters who had not instigated the situtation penned in for several hours trying to force our way out, and defend against police attacks alone.
We are in favour of confronting the police, but believe that people who are going to do so are willing to bear the brunt of thier actions, not allow other people (many of whom did not intend to end up in a confrontational situation to pay the price of your actions.
We hope to see confrontational politics and anti-authoritarian blocs on demos in the future, and 100% agree with the need for confrontation and direct action, but next time we hope the bloc wont ditch fellow protesters (especially, as was mentioned earlier, that one of the stated aims of almost all confronational anarchist groups of recent times has been to defend non-confrontational activists from police brutality).

We hope to see you all soon at a much bigger and succesful action.

Concerned Anarchists



11.10.2006 14:27

We came all the way from the South West for this we got followed half way from the embankment station then photographed as we came round the corner by parliament. We (the 4 of us) where then surrounded by a group of cops who tryed to take our names ect. We then continued towards the protest where a large group of cops circuled us and told us they would arrest us if we didnt leave right then. By this time it seemed clear that we where completly outnumberd and the police where all over this event. We started to walk away from the demo and where again threatend with arrest even though we where walking away. If anything the way the police delt with us on the day only made me more angry and to attend more things like this.


For those at the demo...

11.10.2006 15:24

When I turned up to do this demo, I brought my banner that had been made at our commune. (Government is Tyranny) The other Anarchists at our commune were gonna turn up later, The others at the protest wanted to get behind the banner. So I granted there request. Then on come the scarves over faces and try and shite up the police and play up for the cameras. I think a few of the first wave of ppl who got nicked were just kids that were looking for a bit of trouble and to annoy the police. If ur gonna play wiv fire your gonna get burned. If it wernt for them being irrisponsable and trying to smash through police lines. I would not be on bail for the SOCPA Act. These kids seriously dont understand what anarchy is about. Achieving Anarchy through peaceful means! mind you its also the Met who is to blame, dragging anyone who was remotly looking like they were into punk or a 'hippy' and chucking them in the pen. Then the police started rounding us all up like sheep. I was quite dissapointed that I was arrested so soon into the protest and my banner didnt last longer. Thanks to the actions of some irresponible ppl (however if there was a large number of us like in the hundreds) we could have easily liberated ourselves and achieve our aims peacefully) a lot of ppl have been tarred with the same brush. I hope the next demo I go on is a bit more sucessfull


police powers

11.10.2006 17:39

some comments above show the need to gen up on the law and police powers before you arrive at these sort of events.

the socpa act bans 'unauthorised' demonstrations, so in court, the police would have to prove without any reasonable doubt that you were actually a participant in such a demo and that you knew it was unauthorised.

if you were just walking towards the demo in the vicinity, the police have absolutely no power to move you away from the area, and most of them were briefed of that (one of the briefings was overheard). they also have no power to ask demand your name and address, even if they search you under 'stop and search' laws. so it's best to face them off and tell them that if they are sure you are committing a crime, then they should arrest you, otherwise they should step aside and allow you to continue your lawful business. try and get independent witnesses if the police continue to harrass you or impede your route, and make a complaint to the ipcc against their unlawful behaviour. it really is necessary to challenge them in this way.

they were telling a lot of lies that day, and were using brute force in legally indefensible actions. the worrying thing was that most people didn't challenge them. even journalists ended up giving names and addresses and getting reported under socpa - this is ludicrous and in the unlikely event it went to court on summons, they'd get off in an instant, but why go along with this harrassment and unlawful activity?


view from one person

11.10.2006 18:19

I was part of the bloc on Monday and this is a personal reflection into the criticisms listed here.

Firstly, yes, we did arrive masked up because we didn't want to be recognised and/or have our photos taken by the FIT team. We did try and get into the road which unfortunately wasn't very successful due to the huge numbers of police. I see nothing wrong with this. The demonstration was called to "Sack Parliament" with the purpose of stopping MPs getting to the opening of parliament. Given that the police are obviously going to try and stop people from doing this there was always going to be some level of confrontation.

After the initial push several of us chose to run back into Parliament Square to avoid being penned. There were also a number of people who actually shouted to let people know that a cordon was being formed and that people should move if they didn't want to get penned in. As stated, given that the aim of the demonstration was, in my understanding, was to stop parliament opening, these kind of police tactics were always likely.

The bloc wasn't brilliant by any stretch of the imagination and I was pissed off at the amount of posing for the press that went on. However I don't think it should be criticised for actually trying to do more than stand inside the Square.

I was arrested fairly early on so I don't know what happened with the bloc although I would guess that at least half ended up in the back of police vans. It's a bit churlish to blame an arrest on the actions of the group - after all it was an illegal demonstration - there was always the risk of arrest.

There were also training days that people could have gone to to learn more about public order policing. Critiqing the bloc is fair enough, but I think it'd also be nice if people had a bit more solidarity for a group of people who were actually trying to do something.
In terms of solidarity, I don't think solidarity means that you have to end up in a pen. Even on the fluffiest demonstrations everyone should constantly watch the policing, where lines are forming, where large groups of cops are suddenly moving. If I see this happening, I will shout it to let people know but I will not put myself in that pen having spotted it being about to happen.

On the bloc


11.10.2006 18:29

Myself and two of my mates were arrested when we left Parliament Square and moving towards Trafelger Square.
We were arrested outside of the FCO.
We're on bail till December 12th.
Thing is, the pigs never gave us any warnings. They just swooped as we were leaving.


Pig Pen

12.10.2006 01:28

the idea was to show opposition to the wars and erosion of civil libertys so first of all it would have been good if anti war groups had actually shown up. The idea was to blockade parliament and stop the MPs from getting into it. Unfortuanatly due to little numbers this was near impossible, and when the cordon was put into place only a few that were willing to try and break free were left. This resulted in a few unsuccessful attempts, as many who were quick enough managed to escape the pen (well done to them), and most of those inside were unwilling to even attempt escape and sat on the ground waiting for release. This then resulted on the media focusing on the few attempts at the police lines by the few, which then leads to people criticising the demonstration as a media parade. The aim of the demo was to get to parliament to stop the MPs from getting in, even if those attemps failed they were tried. The media will always focus on a more"newsworthy" story, so the attempts of others should not be criticised on the basis of main stream media, but on the cause and how it was carried out; there was little, such few numbers could do, but due to the large amount of police this was very little. Solidarity was shown towards those targeted by snatch squads by linking arms and making it as hard as possible to arrest the target (a couple of which i believed to be legal advisers). When a copper came in to demand an individual ("the bald guy with the beard step foward for arrest and the rest of you can go") most people in the pen showed solidarity by linking arms around him not allowing police to get to him. The focus of the day was on the people penned in and our failed attempts to get out, but it should be focused on why many people and groups did not turn up at all. I am not sure what anyone outside the pen did as i was too slow to get out, but there is no news of anything else happening so i assume nothing happened. Before you criticise those that turned up you should also be aware that there are 7 enterances to parliament and what happened to the other 6, because as far as i am aware nothing happened, but if someone could report on that to enlighten me i would be pleased.

With such little numbers it is not suprising the attempts to get to parliament failed, the cause was good, the action worthwhile, but apparently only a hundred or so people thought this. Sure it failed and turned into a media spectacle, but at least those that turned up tried.


short and sweet?

17.10.2006 15:29

I was there on monday. the demo began around 1pm and was over by 5pm! almost everyone had left the square, demonstrators and SPG-police alike, leaving only a few stragglers and white shirted cops when all the commuters flooded by there was no sign of what had taken place that afternoon.the funniest comment of the day was made by a passer-by that afternoon- " what are the police demonstrating about?".believe me he wasn't being sarcastic!

matt black


Display the following 13 comments

  1. I remember a demo at: — a point to note
  2. familiar — none
  3. Solidarity? — Concerned Anarchists
  4. To Sledge — Josh
  5. They did it because. — Alf Narkist
  6. Was it worth it? Maybe not! — L Hoppstubbe M
  7. curious — ponderer
  8. A useful tip. — Itsme
  9. Re: Curious — Marco
  10. Volunteer — Keith
  11. Warnings? — Andyb
  12. Violence? — Nowun Inparticlar
  13. Stopping Paliament — Photoboy