The carnival went ahead despite extreme pre-emptive violence from the Metropolitan and City Police, which caused a number of protesters to be injured. The police surrounded the StopG8 Social Centre on Beak Street, W1 from 10am, and then broke in through the front doors and from the roof later in the morning. At the demonstrations starting at 12 noon in Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Circus, police snatch squads violently arrested and assaulted more demonstrators.
People present in the Beak Street building report that the police used tasers, chemical sprays, and dogs, and hit unarmed people with shields and fists as they held their hands in the air or covered their heads. We are currently gathering witness statements and will release soon a detailed account of the attacks and injuries. We know that at least two people received serious head injuries, and many more were beaten. We are still waiting on reports from at least 30 people who were arrested.
“I could hear tasers going non stop for at least a minute,” said one witness, “I never heard anything like it in my life.”
A StopG8 spokesperson commented: “The police claim that they raided Beak Street because they suspected there were weapons on the building. In fact the only weapons were the police tasers, batons, shields, chemicals, fists and dogs.”
Despite the violence from the police, the carnival went ahead with several hundred people meeting from 12 noon, and more joining for a street party in Piccadilly Circus from 5.30pm. Demonstrations were held at the offices of world-leading polluter BP and multinational arms dealer Lockheed Martin. The party later moved on Charing Cross police station to support imprisoned comrades.
Today’s J11 Carnival was just the first event in a week of anti-capitalist actions in London. Tomorrow a demonstration against militarism and capitalist violence will begin at 2pm outside the offices of BAE Systems (Stirling Square, 6 Carlton Gardens, SW1Y 5AD).
The world over, the cops do the same job, protecting the robbers. In Istanbul today they sent in the cops with rubber bullets and teargas to clear Gezi Square. In London today they came with batons and tasers to clear the Beak Street social centre. In Istanbul the protests are continuing, as repression only brings out more people onto the street to stand up against the brutal state. In London, police violence against our week of action will only make us stronger. No fear! Solidarity!
For full details on the protest locations and the politics behind today’s StopG8 protests see the J11 Map of the Capitalist West End here: https://network23.org/stopg8/j11-carnival-against-capitalism/j11-map-of-the-capitalist-west-end/