It is all over now.
Mayday for another year.
I only just realised somewhere in the scuffle today, yesterday, I bit through my bottom lip.
The entire day, from Clerkenwell Green to Trafalgar Square, remained completely peaceful. The Mayday march did as it did every year, march and be public. That included the Autonomous Bloc.
The numbers were several hundred strong as they slowly moved forwards from Clerkenwell Green, the sound system providing a soundtrack of Aphex Twin, Chemical Brothers, System Of A Down and Rage Against The Machine.
From the beginning the Bloc was surrounded by a one to two-man thick police wall on three sides. Forward Intelligence Teams (FIT) were heavy on the ground, numerous police vans followed behind and Waterloo Bridge was completely blocked by officers in yellow jackets.
Along the route a lone camera was spotted on an office block rooftop. The cameraperson could not be seen, just a lone arm panning the camera across the Bloc as they passed.
The closer the demonstration got to Trafalgar police vans were seen pealing away from the rear guard, turning right down back streets that ran parallel to The Strand. As the Bloc passed Charing Cross Police Station on Agar Street, a small convoy of police vans was seen driving East along William IV Street.
Then a telephone call from Trafalgar Square said a small sound system was seized by police when entering the square and the four protestors with it were escorted away. It was uncertain if they had been arrested or not.
As the Bloc came in visible sight of Lord Nelsons Column of scaffolding, so did the two lines of police officers in riot helmets and vests, on horses with Perspex eye guards.
Once the sound system and the protestors way into the square was narrowed, the police started to move in.
Police started holding certain people inside the block by the arm. Other officers moved in to seize the sound system. As the hold on people became stronger, some yelled back in protest.
Someone shouted, “I’m being attacked here”.
More police rushed in, knocking other protestors out the way. A wall of police soon formed and pushed all photo and video journalists back. With my camera on a tripod, extended over the police I could see the centre area around the sound system through the viewfinder. Protestors yelled and struggled against police who seemed to be pushing and trying to force several people to the floor.
Anyone with a camera faced a forceful wall of yellow-coats, constantly being told to get back. Several were shoved, one received an “I told you once,” to back off and this journalist was kicked in the knee by someone.
The police grabbed the sound system, wheeled it out and scuffles broke out as officers continued to refuse entry to anyone from the Bloc on to Trafalgar Square. After several minutes and the situation did not calm one high-ranking officer leaned in and told the police wall to let them through.
Due to the chaos of situation, I hit pause instead of record and my camera did not record the scene. Anyone who meets this journalist after the release of this article, feel free to kick him in the ass for dumbness.
Once the police had fallen back, any attempt by the Bloc to leave the square was met with lines of police, including ones in all black, padded uniforms. More scuffles broke out at the top end of Trafalgar Square, as it seemed the police tried to snatch odd people from the crowd. This failed and the police detained everyone in the area.
Protestors said they were stopped under breach of the peace, but police soon started releasing people in twos.
Apart from these few minutes the entire event ran peacefully. There was some suspicion raised by several as to one video cameraman’s identity. He carried a very nice piece of equipment, spent a lot of his time filming the front of the Bloc demonstration and seemed to know only one person inside the Bloc, a young man, dark hair, jeans, grey jacket, black cheap baseball cap and black bag. He may also have had a small DV camera with him.
Once they were aware I was filming them, both left the Bloc and continued to follow at a safe distance.
Video reports to follow.