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7,000 march on the Tory Conference | 03.10.2010 18:40 | Policing | Public sector cuts | Birmingham

7,000 Right to Work activists, trade unionists and students from all over the country marched on the Tory Conference on Sunday 3rd October.

We defied an attempt to ban the demonstration by the police and the ConDem Birmingham City Council, we marched despite a heavy police presence, and we marched despite pouring rain.

We marched to make it clear the to ConDem government that the fight to stop their cuts starts here. As one GMB speaker put it, 'if they want a war, we'll give them a war'.

West Midlands Police are pleased to confirm that a planned protest in Birmingham city centre has this afternoon passed off peacefully.

The 'Right to Work' march through the city centre's entertainment district was planned to coincide with the start of the Conservative Party Conference at the nearby International Convention Centre.

Between 5000 and 7000 protesters are thought to have attended the event, which travelled along the Broad Street area, leading to a road closure between Five Ways and Paradise Circus and other local streets.

Superintendent Dave Sturman, the commander for the policing operation of the Conservative Party Conference, said this afternoon: "We are very pleased with the way the march has gone this afternoon.

"The protesters were peaceful and the operation went largely to plan.

"At this stage there have been no arrests and we have received no reports of any criminal offences, such as damage, as a result of the event.

"We understand that this protest may have caused some disruption to people in the city, and we thank them for their patience during the course of this afternoon's event."

The march lasted for two hours, travelling along a planned route which passed through Lionel Street, Summer Row, Holiday Street, Gas Street and Broad Street.

All the hype from some anarchist and once as with new labour the left and anarchist just let the working class get fucked over..

Old Class warriors are stirring from their armchairs checking for the nearest Wetherspoons. For once there will be an alternative to the Trot march. How succesfull it is will determine how the opposition to the Tories develops. But at the very least comrades you need to be there.Any successful political movement needs momentum – to get that vitality of momentum we need to put our collective shoulders to the wheel.

It was the rain, one anarchist said that his armchair would get damp and how could he sit there all week in pontification of the revolution on a damp armchair?

Another said this colour red of directions runs in the rain, fuck that of round to me mothers for Sunday Lunch..


My Pointless day out..

03.10.2010 20:05

for once I'd say the police estimates of numbers were about right..
it was ok, but nothing to write home about.. decided to join the black bloc as that's where I feel my politics are headed, I would say there were about 50-60 in the black bloc, I tagged along with the sheffield anarchists as the bloc split at the start of the march with rumours that the police would try to seperate us from the march right at the start..
no chance for any civil disobedience anywhere though, the whole area around the conference centre was barricaded with 8 or 9 foot high solid steel fences and loads of police..
I did see one arrest (or at least someone got bundled into a riot van) - not someone in the kettle - so I guess from that news report they were released without charge and/or not actually arrested..
the black bloc slipped the first attempt to kettle on broad street but not the second (apart from me and a couple of other people)..

The black bloc got kettled by five ways roundabout, I slipped through the police lines as they closed in and wandered around trying to stay with the kettle to varying degrees of success to bear witness should anything happen..

Quite a few from the main march hung around until they were forced down the tunnel under five ways, and then prevented from going back by the police.. knowing the area, I slipped around the police line and went under five ways using the pedestrian routes and joined up with the kettle on five ways roundabout (I was always outside it), along with half a dozen other people and some independant camera people & observers..

They released people from the kettle (with a search and photos taken) on the Hagley Road, just off five ways, strangely into another kettle (but one with actual space in it) - I was inside the secondary kettle - and we were herded to the coach park before being let go.

There was some heavy handedness from the police in the searches, at least a couple of people were thrown to the floor but it wasn't anything major and nothing kicked off.

Overall.. wet, a bit dull and pointless but hopefully a good starting point to build resistance against the cuts. Don't know if any of the anarchist actions planned for the evening happened, I was too cold and wet and coming down with a cold so decided to go home rather than try to hook up with anyone to see what was going on.


Crap route too, round the back streets to a bloody car park!

03.10.2010 20:07

BBC report here

I reckon maybe 7 or 8 thousand, would have been more I reckon, but the weather put a dampener on it. Crap route too, round the back streets to a bloody car park! Good spirits though, I felt quite emotional at one point! Marched alongside the black bloc (accidentally mind) at one point, then moved away as it was obvious they were gonna get kettled. Which they did a bit later, how predictable was that? What a waste of time, although I guess it gave some kids a frisson of excitement. Why advertise yourselves though if you want to cause mischief?

Went to a pub for a pint then tried to go to the rally in the Walkabout bar, but the police had cordoned the road and weren't letting anyone through with a banner (I had an IWW flag on a stick). I gave them the stick and put the flag in my pocket, they still wouldn't let me through, saying I had to leave the flag with them. They wouldn't tell me why except that they "had orders". Stupid wankers, that really annoyed me. What a pointless fucking order, what am I gonna do with a little flag ffs! Seems also the Walkabout bar had some pressure from the police not to let kids in their either, under threat of having their license revoked.


a fun day out, next one 20th october in london

03.10.2010 20:22

birmingham! a city of loads of empty buildings, a squatters paradise, shame there was no convergence space!

i just spent 3 hours on the coach back to east london, with some oap from the swp trying to get me to sign up! it was hell!

the march was ace, i've never seen such a large black bloc in all my ten years of doing black block stuff. wait to you see the photos, the anarchist movement is one the up in the UK, and we to keep discontent on the boil. must of been about 200 of us, all actually wearing black and no-one getting it wrong!
a chance to meet new/old faces and lots of anarchos from the north.

the cops did try to set up a kettle, but only under 30 got caught, but luckily for the old bill we're well behaved and didn't give them the trouble they wanted.

we seemed to be well organised to avoid the kettle, but maybe we can begin organising tactics to send the police a message of "we ain't scared, fuck off!" running instead of leaving our mates and scattering, as it doesn't send a good message to the younger anarchists.
When the police began there kettle there was little support from other groups apart from the dreadul sing-along coming from SWP loons.

Other groups including the very excitable, yet cowardly named "REVOLUTION" just kept walking and didn't stop to help the anarchist bloc.

Revolution, if your reading this why not next time make your flag poles out of slightly heavier wood, get blacked-up and get stuck in next time helping your anarchist comrades!

there's going to be another march in london on 20th october, lets rally another auto-bloc, as its deffinatly a good time to build the anarchist movement in the UK, maybe this time with a few banner drops and a soundsystem, and a convergence space for activists from out of london...

i'm guessing smash-edo will be fun.

joe blogs

some reflections on black bloc today

03.10.2010 22:57

Although there were quite a few of us. maybe 100 i'd say, what had a lot of potential, turned out pretty negatively. The black bloc basically left the main route and was instantly kettled. Many black blocers avoided the kettle, but failed to successfully regroup and left our comrades trapped. Many non-anarchist marchers realised what was going on and stopped marching, demanding that those in the kettle be let go. It got pretty rowdy and we could have better used that opportunity to try to free our comrades, but it was literally a handful of anarchists trying to convice 100s of SWpers, that they should show solidarity and refuse to move until the comrades were free. Some march stewards blatantly colluded with the police and told everyone to march on, and that those kettled would be allowed to join the march. This was a a lie.
Many individual anarchists did what they could, but as group we failed miserably. We allowed ourselves and others walk into a kettle and then watched powerlessly as our friends got searched, harassed, photographed. Those loud and proud anarchist voices that urged everyone on before, were nowhere to be found.
I think that we all could have benfited with some sort of meeting beforehand,just to discuss tactics,possibilies, aims, general plan.Instead what ensued was those behind followed those who shouted loudest. As "autonomous" people/ sheep we allowed ourselves be deliberately (imho) manipulated by our so-called comrades and self-appointed leaders into a situation where many anarchists got inevitably kettled, searched,humiliated...


chill out

04.10.2010 09:04

we did ok. for fucks sake the pigs were never going to let blac bloc go anywhere, so to run free, because for no other reason than we wanteed to, because we're free humans, going where we want, is that such a bad thing. we didn't kettle ourselves, we just didn't run quick enough. i personally harrased swp'ers into helping us and showing support, why do you think the 'let them march' and 'let them out' stuff happened, it was literally because i, a lone anarcho, went up to them and pleaded with them. therefore that whole solidarity thing happened because of my efforts and people who saw it unfold, know thats true. anyway, i dont care who started it, i just dont like reading that it was a failure, as from an anrchist perspective, we did what we could with the time and resources we had.
we showed the pigs we'l move if we want and we block a massive brum road for hours after the pigs had hoped for it to be clear. we as anarchos are always gettting kettled and it mainly helps to secure 'recruits' for the cause as them having their 'rights' violated by the state often shows them who the real enemy is and that the struggle must go on ........

next stop leicester on the 9th,

smash edo 13th

london 20th

see you all there, eh?

slightly p'd off

@ slightly pissed off

04.10.2010 11:31

There were lots of positives to the day. We did form a highly visible and pretty coherant and coordinated bloc, until that is we got kettled. We need to learn from mistakes so that we can move forward.
I know that the swpers didnt just stop, anarchists (not just you) asked/told them to stop. Particularly the guy with the child in the pushchair. He did a great job communicating with those marchers coming from behind the need for solidarity. The fact that so many did stop and refused to move is a definite positive.
However obviously when we get kettled, we are no good to anybody and it is totally disheartening if you get stuck inside it. This was supposed to be an autonomous direct action bloc, perhaps we would have been better off if we had of stayed on the main route,gone to the coach park, walked out the other side, and then gone to do some direct action/ autonomous protesting.
I suppose i'm just disappointed that the bloc was split in a way that could have been avoided, and that the majority of the anarchists who didnt get kettled, seemed to disappear.
Solidarity is strength!



Display the following 25 comments

  1. Pointless article — Ann Archy.
  2. ????? — roddes
  3. Re joe blogs — real anarchist
  4. Five to six thousand demonstrators joined the "Right to Work" — Dave
  5. any ideas on black bloc numbers? — anon
  6. @Tom — Bandy
  7. "people power" — Hanna.
  8. Love the article and the comments — Call me Dave
  9. @joe bloggs — trot
  10. Well done, but pace yourselves. — T
  11. has anyone got any photos? — cameraless
  12. relentless optimism —
  13. Good resistance in the kettle — fitwatcher
  14. photos — jo blogs
  15. photos here — researcher
  16. Plain clothes cops. — D
  17. Cops in bloc — Bloccer
  18. @bloccer — barking up the wrong tree
  19. Bit early for panto season, surely? — Widow Twanky
  20. so widow twanky — interested
  21. "Twat face"?!? Oh, my. How unpleasant. — Widow Twanky
  22. dearest widow twat face — interested
  23. anything useful to say twonky — interested
  24. Learning curb — NoGodsNoMasters
  25. Rough numbers from count — NoGodsNoMasters