Thursday, April 02, 2009

Further Protests at G20 Summit

Further protests at G20 summit

Video of police attacking demonstrators at G20 in London

Protesters have held a second day of demonstrations in London near the venue of the G20 summit and in the City.

Several hundred people gathered near the ExCel centre in docklands and around 400 outside the Bank of England.

Around 100 were caught in a stand-off with police outside the bank and there were some minor skirmishes when others were boxed in, but most were peaceful.

There have been 122 arrests related to the G20, including 86 on Wednesday and 32 on Thursday, police said.

'Squats raided'

World leaders held talks throughout the day at the ExCel centre, a few hundred yards from protesters.

There was room for about 6,000 but only a few hundred turned up, the BBC's Ben Brown reported.

He said the "noisy but calm" crowds were kept well away from the conference centre amid tight security.

Stop the War Coalition, the British Muslim Initiative, CND and Middle East campaigning groups were among the varied groups who took part.

Protesters were allowed in one area only, outside the security fence erected around the conference hall.

In the City, police officers corralled around 100 protesters on to the pedestrianised area in front of the Bank of England.

More were cleared from surrounding streets and there were minor clashes as other pockets of protesters were contained in small areas.

Many people had gathered outside the bank in support of a man who died in the protests on Wednesday evening.

Police confirmed the circumstances behind the death have been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

Scotland Yard said he had collapsed near the Bank of England and was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

City of London police named him as Ian Tomlinson, 47, and said he was on his way home from working at a newsagents at the time.

Meanwhile, police raided two squats in east London to arrest people they believed had links to Wednesday's protest violence.

Officers in riot gear questioned around 60 people at one squat in Earl Street near Liverpool Street Station, but police have not reported any arrests there.

The BBC's Dominic Hurst said a crowd of about 30 demonstrators chanted "shame on you" at police, but the situation remained peaceful.

Around 20 more were questioned at Rampart Street in Aldgate, where police say four people were arrested - two for violent disorder and two for possessing an offensive weapon.

On Thursday morning 40 protesters met outside the London Stock Exchange where they had threatened to disrupt business, but they were outnumbered by 100 police officers.

'Human spider'

Elsewhere, campaigners got their message across in other ways.

A small number of protesters played a giant game of Monopoly in the City, armed with huge crates of fake money.

While French freeclimber Alain Robert, known as the Human Spider, scaled the Lloyds' building in the capital as part of protests. He unfurled a banner but returned to the ground.

An estimated 5,000 people took part in Wednesday's protests which were mainly peaceful and good-humoured but punctuated with violence.

Stuart Fraser, from the City of London Corporation, said Wednesday's security operation was a success.

"The high cost [of the security operation] is the price of democracy," he added.

Those arrested were held for offences including violent disorder, obstruction, aggravated burglary, arson and unlawful possession of police uniforms.

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Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2009/04/02 17:58:15 GMT

Heavy security in London at G-20 summit site

Associated Press Writer

LONDON – Police were out in force for the G-20 summit Thursday, swarming the east London riverside site as small groups of demonstrators protested world poverty and climate change. A French daredevil scaled a London insurance building to unfurl a banner, entertaining people on the ground.

At the ExCeL center in the Docklands area, where leaders of the Group of 20 financial powers held talks on the global economy, police manned barriers and checkpoints around the security perimeter, turning away anyone without accreditation within a half-mile (800-meter) radius. Police boats patrolled the River Thames.

Outside the summit venue, dozens demonstrated with signs that read "Stop Ethiopia from Starving."

At the Bank of England in central London, demonstrators returned to the scene of violent clashes to express anger at the death of a man near a protest camp late Wednesday. The circumstances of the 47-year-old man's death were unclear.

About 100 protesters gathered near the bank Thursday, when police cordoned them off and started searching individuals. The protesters observed a minute of silence and set up a wall of condolences before yelling "Shame on you!" at police.

As the numbers of protesters shrank, police chased a small number of demonstrators to the Liverpool Street railway station, cornering them just outside. Several rows of officers closed in on the protesters, who sat down and heckled them.

Officers moved aggressively to hustle media away from the area, yanking photographers from the balconies above the standoff and shoving cameramen out of range.

Police, who took pictures of some demonstrators rather than detaining them, said journalists were kept away from some areas as a security precaution. Most of the demonstrators eventually dispersed.

Earlier in the day, French daredevil Alain Robert scaled Lloyds of London's high-rise headquarters as office workers gathered below to snap photos.

Robert, dubbed the French spider-man, has scaled dozens of tall structures around the world without ropes or harnesses as part of a campaign to draw attention to global warming. He unfurled another climate change banner in his climb Thursday, before later being led away by police.

Other protesters sat and played a giant Monopoly game near the London Stock Exchange.

"The question is of course who has got the monopoly? It is fairly obvious the G-20 are the global financial elite," said protester Clare Smith, 27.

"Meanwhile the poor are getting poorer and that has even started to show in this country, but has obviously been going on across the world for some time," she said.

Police said there had been 111 arrests so far, most of them Wednesday, when some protesters broke into the Royal Bank of Scotland building and vandalized the Bank of England building.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators, meanwhile, were descending Thursday on two southwest German towns and the French city of Strasbourg to protest a cross-border NATO summit marking the alliance's 60th anniversary.

President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicholas Sarkozy are among 28 world leaders expected to be on hand for the two-day summit beginning Friday after the end of London's G-20 summit.