Battered at Climate Camp in the City

IssueMay 2009
News by Esther Tew

Midday, 1 April. Our group from Wales joined a mass swoop on Bishopsgate in the financial district of London. We were there to highlight our concerns about the financial system and carbon trading on the eve of the G20 summit. Despite the disastrous effects of free-market economics on people, our beloved leaders seem set on applying the same system to the planet. At Bishopsgate there was a moment of suspense before someone shouted: “Put up your tents!”

In what felt like no time at all, the whole street was transformed with pop-up tents, banners, gardens, “quiche machines”, a farmers’ market, central kitchen, and compost toilets. For most of the day there was a carnival atmosphere, workshops on carbon trading and the history of direct action…. As the sun was setting, though, riot police arrived and the atmosphere changed. Although we were unashamedly battered by batons, it was a tribute to the people around me and their dedication to remain peaceful that a riot didn’t break out.

We sat down, sang songs, held a consensus meeting about what to do. Meanwhile, in the middle of the camp a Céilidh was in full swing. Despite our efforts, after twelve hours the police forcibly disbanded the camp.

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