Socialist Worker

G20 protesters converge outside Bank of England

Issue No. 2145

Protesters confronted by police outside the Bank of England (Pic: Richard Seymour)

Protesters confronted by police outside the Bank of England (Pic: Richard Seymour)


Thousands of anti-capitalist and anti-war protesters converged on London's City financial district today to demonstrate ahead of the G20 summit that starts tomorrow.

They followed four 'horsemen of the apocalypse' that set out from separate central London tube stations to meet outside the Bank of England.

The horses symbolised the four evils of war, financial chaos, climate change and homelessness.

Socialist Worker journalist Siân Ruddick joined the green horse march against climate change from Liverpool Street, where over 300 people had gathered this morning.

Jake, a student from south London, told Socialist Worker, 'I'm here because something desperately has to change. The economic crisis is just the latest sign of capitalism tearing our world apart.

'People here have lots of different views, but we have to start coming together. I want to be part of changing our world for the better.'

Jasmine brought her children to the demonstration, 'What's happening to the climate is very scary,' she said. 'It's great to see so many young people here. We have to have a new generation of people who will defend our planet.'

Carnivalesque

The green horse led a march from Liverpool Street station towards the Bank of England. The mood was defiant but carnivalesque as the protests converged at a crossroads outside the Bank of England's building.

Some 250 protesters set out from Moorgate tube station behind the red horse to protest against war. Stop the War delegations from Glasgow, Strathclyde and Aberdeen universities ensured the protest was loud and lively.

Marchers reached the Bank of England and encouraged bankers watching the demonstration to 'jump'. But they were prevented from getting to the Bank's main entrance.

The police turned up in absurdly large numbers in an attempt to overwhelm the demonstrators. The protest was kept contained by lines of police separating groups of demonstrators.

Despite the police lockdown, some protesters managed to physically express their anger at an economic system that is creating havoc across the globe. They smashed the windows of a Royal Bank of Scotland branch and briefly occupied the building.

But the levels of violence have so far been nowhere near those predicted by police officers quoted in the lurid press coverage that marked the run-up to the demonstration.

Liberties

Many protesters expressed their concern over the erosion of civil liberties. Omodumni, an Amnesty International activist from Essex, told Socialist Worker, 'The way our human rights and civil liberties have been affected by the war in Iraq and the growth of surveillance really bothers me.

'I don't know how far these things will go before we have no rights left. We have to stop letting the G20 people ruin our lives.'

Later in the afternoon supporters of the Stop the War Coalition gathered to demonstrate outside the US embassy in Grosvenor Square. They marched to a rally in Trafalgar Square addressed by Arthur Scargill and Tony Benn, among others.


Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.