Warning: Solidarity can Seriously Damage Your Freedom

25 02 2011

Saturday February 19th saw just over 1000 (300 if you listen to the BBC and 3000 if you trust the organisers magic attendance counter) march through Bristol city centre in protest against government public spending cuts ahead of the councils budget setting meeting on the following Tuesday. The event was organised by Bristol and District Anti Cuts Alliance.



Temperamental weather and a heavy Friday night had taken its toll on numbers but there was still a good cross section of Unions, students, campaign groups, community groups and various leftist factions. I hung out with the radical types including IWW, Bath Activist Network, the newly formed and very welcome Taunton Activists, AFed and the Swindon Anarchists. We sang songs and chanted chants and moved through the city centre so quickly shoppers we likely to miss us in the time they bought their skinny-grande-capu-frupa-ameri-latte.

The March Passes down a quiet road

Still the guys from AFed dropped a banner from the bridge over the main carriageway that runs through the centre. Not the action of the decade but very noticeable from all the way into town and it stayed there for a couple of hours until we retrieved it.

No Cuts In Bristol

The march was over in less than half an hour as it seemed the important bit was to get on with the rally where a select few get to feel all important and stand on the platform to preach to the converted. There were a couple of decent speeches to be fair but while some comrades argued with the police over the health and safety issues of standing on a public right of way others took a trolley sound system and headed for the corporate tax dodgers in the city centre.

A good group of around 50 to 60 people paraded through the city centre and quickly closed many stores including Barclays, NatWest, HSBC, Lloyds TSB, Vodafone & BHS. It was pretty surreal seeing so many stores all closed at the same time. Some shops who hadn’t been targeted closed in solidarity with their high street comrades and soon all the shops on Broadmead’s central square were shut. BHS remained closed to the duration of the day and NatWest kept its doors locked only allowing one person in at a time.

Nat West kept its door locked for the rest of the day

Protesters went inside HSBC, NatWest, HMV and BHS and it was in BHS where the cops made their move. One PCSO was quick to pull his baton and start swinging before one young student was tackled to the floor, when he attempted to defend himself the cops made out he had assaulted the PCSO and arrested him.

After some more fun and games blocking the police vans outside the crowd moved on (via the scenic route) to Trinity road police station to show their solidarity with the arrested. Us just being in the area seemed to be enough of a reason for a few more shops to close as we moved through Cabot Circus.

In hindsight going to the station on mass may have been a mistake because once out of sight of the public the police moved to attack the demo using snatch quads to pick people off and dismantle the sound system. In total a further seven people were arrested outside the station.

The last arrestee did not emerge until 3.15am and it was heartening that about 10 people stayed until the end. Not so heartening however to have one of those arrested say that he would not have waited for us (duly noted!).

Two were released on police bail the others are due to appear before magistrates in the near future some had not even been interviewed.

Sadly we can expect more long evening outside (or inside) a cop shop as the police get heavier and we get angrier.

Keep up to date at http://www.bristolindymedia.org.uk

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27 02 2011
Resistance against cuts - Bristol news « Bristol Anarchist Bookfair

[…] local bosses and politicians, enough to make them abandon cuts? Sadly not. Good Anti-Cuts Action report on the march, and the subsequent and effective UKUncut Bailout events in Bristol city centre […]

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