reclaim the streets
my day out
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>> international reports
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Lovely day in the sun
"OUR RESISTANCE WILL BE AS TRANSNATIONAL AS CAPITAL"
(international reports from SchNEWS 217, 25th June 1999)
Hey, it's wasn't just about one day: "It's about building a movement. From the global to the local it's about taking back control of our lives." Here's a quick round-up of what SchNEWS has heard so far about last Friday…
Kim Beazley, Opposition leader, was pied for speaking at an APEC/Global Trade meeting sponsored by Shell. Protestors harassed the Stock Exchange, McDonalds and Australian bank, Westpac who invest in the Jabiluka uranium mine. Elsewhere in Melbourne, bells were sounded to wake up the world to Third World Debt problems, a Critical Mass and a Food not Bombs breakfast were held. Protesters blockaded the stock exchange with dead wombats!
Unfortunately the report we've received is all in Spanish.
Picketers from Eco-resistance and Chyrvony Zhond gave out flyers and toilet paper to customers leaving McDonalds. Permission for a large demonstration wasn't granted.
In Desterro protesters defaced a city centre clock (built by an 'entertainment' corporation) symbolising the 500 years of "discoverment" (invasion) of Brazil.
In Vancouver a hundred people blockaded the Stock Exchange. In TORONTO the RTS was a fun celebration and reminder that public space is for public benefit, though it occurred very much within an imposed framework.
350 people met in central Prague, disrupting banks and multinationals despite over a thousand police (probably due to the previous 7000-strong street party with people from the Intercontinental Caravan, where there were 114 arrests.)
In Cologne, about 95 people were arrested, mainly from the InterContinental Caravan, who have been making peaceful protests thoughout Europe. People were beaten by police outside an art hall and 500 people protested outside the chemical transnational company Bayer in Leverkusen.
The Caravan members came to Cologne for the World Economic Summit to ridicule the Gang of Seven in a Gandhi-style "Laugh Parade", but 250 were prevented by police from entering the city centre. They were surrounded and some arrested, including Vijay JAWANDHIA, president of the Inter-State Co-ordination Committee of Farmers' Organisations, and his wife. Police used brute force, injuring at least two and making racist remarks, this despite an admission that there had been no violence on the side of the Caravan. On Saturday 19/6 estimates of the numbers still in custody ranged from 6 to 30 people.
In Tel Aviv, a street carnival was held, and torches lit for the victims of corporate human and animal rights abuse.
Demonstrators established night-long autonomous zones in the centre of Bologna. Similar actions took place in Milan, Rome, Siena, Florence, Ancona and Hamburg.
On June 15, the Electronic Disturbance Theatre staged a virtual sit-in and clogged up the Internet pathways to the Mexican Embassy in the UK in protest at the continuing war in Chiapas.
Amsterdam protesters were not allowed any sound (not even a car radio) or an 8x6m banner. 50 people and lots of press showed up.
A 10,000 strong "carnival of the oppressed," brought Port Harcourt, Nigeria's petroleum capital to a standstill. Many were from the Niger Delta where oil corporations are destroying their environment. Shell and Agip had their offices blockaded and a street named after General Abacha was unofficially re-named after Ken Saro-Wiwa and the old signpost pulled out.
In Gujrat, Pakistan there was an enthusiastic anti-nuclear procession. The leadership of the trade union association, Apfutu, which had gone underground on the 14th came out masked and veiled and joined the rally despite blockades by a local administration eager to arrest them. Angry protesters broke the police control circle. Women went on hunger strike outside the deputy commissioner's office.
During a protest gathering about 300-400 hundred police commandos arrested several of the leaders. They used baton charges and tear gas on innocent men, women and school children. 50 of the protesters were released on bail, and the rest were shifted to the district jail. A reliable source says they are charged with attempting to damage/harm the territorial integrity of the country. The punishment for this is death. Bail had now been granted to all but about 9 leaders, who are said to have been tortured and beaten.
Neither the defendants not the trade union organisations can raise the money to hire lawyers to defend them in court, but they welcome any donations to the "International Solidarity Funds of APFUTU": title of account: International Solidarity Fund of APFUTU, bank account no : 1180 (U.S. Dollars), 1181 (German marks); Allied Bank of Pakistan Limited, main branch, Chowk Nawabsahib Gujrat (Pakistan).
Supporters may transfer cash direct to the above accounts or send cheques/bank drafts to the union address: All Pakistan Federation of United Trade Unions (APFUTU) Union House, Rang Pura, Sargodha Rd, Gujrat 50700, Pakistan Tel: + 92 4331 28736/26398 Fax: + 92 4331 525302 E-mail: email@example.com
300 people spent a couple of hours with music, fireworks closing down streets and banks and Lladro's, the richest and most hated speculator in Valencia. In Madrid seven days of action in the financial capital came to a head with a Reclaim The Streets smack bang in the commercial centre of the city. Other highlights of the week included 100 people occupying the Madrid Stock Exchange for more than an hour.
In Barcelona, two small groups of people closed two main streets in. One of them, in Sant Andreu Town, recreated a beach and they give fried potatoes to commuters in cars. 100 people took part in action at the derelict site of a squatted house evicted and demolished by police two years ago, creating an organic vegetable and medicinal garden, with water features.
In Sant Cugat (20 km from Barcelona)a bike demonstration of just 13 people managed to close the motorway and get to Barcelona to join the main demonstration. Barcelona's Reclaim The Streets proper took place with up to 700 people dancing until 11pm.
In Zurich, 300 people occupied a construction site in an area currently being gentrified and held one of "the best parties for years". In Geneva, over 50 anarchists washed (!) major banks in the centre and 100 took part in a mobile carnival.
In Lancaster activists occupied Freshfields, a city law firm which boasts of representing nuclear, aviation, road transport, chemical, mining, asbestos companies, tobacco products and the drinks industry, this was followed by a critical mass. 500 people turned Glasgow's George Square into the site of an unofficial party with two sound systems, a critical mass bike ride and one old Ford Fiesta with a J18 RTS registration plate. The Bank of Scotland, the Job Centre, The Army Recruitment Office and Strathclyde Police HQ were targeted as demonstrators marched around the centre for about 2 hours then headed for the park for more partying.
In Edinburgh Reed Employment had paint and posters telling them what people thought about their involvement in New Deal plastered all their offices.
The Montevideo June 18th Network occupied the main square of the Old Town (the financial centre).A trade fair was set up, with themes such as cheap labour, child labour, education, local culture, consumption and communication. Trade unions were also involved. There was also a parade, entering into the Stock Exchange, the Banco de Montevideo and passing in front of the Ministry of Housing and the Environment and McDonalds, where they stayed for a while singing and getting in the way.
37 people were arrested after people reclaimed the streets in New York's financial centre. For nearly 2 hours, 500 costume clad protesters took over, tying up traffic and rallying in front of the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street. 2 People were nicked and equipment seized.
In San Francisco over 500 people came out to Reclaim the Streets, dancing through the Financial District, stopping outside the corporate headquarters of some of the world's largest and most vile transnational corporations and financial institutions. Stops also occurred at two of the city's giant retail chains.
In Los Angeles protesters played cat and mouse with the police as they tried to hold a party, blocking streets despite baton charges. Police were forcing people out of the park by pushing and hitting people with their batons.
More than 100 activists joined in a Carnival Against Capital in frontof a Bank Boston in the city's financial district. Hundreds more workers watched, costing the bankers many thousands in lost "productivity." 600 demonstrators organised by Jubilee 2000 in Washington DC formed a human chain around the U.S. Treasury Department.
In Eugene, Oregan, a parade escalated into violence as police deployed tear gas and arrested 15 people for rioting, a felony, and other charges. Three officers suffered minor injures in the rioting, as did an unknown number of protesters. As many as 200 protesters played cat-and-mouse with police for hours stopping long enough at intersections to disrupt rush-hour traffic and anger drivers, but paraded away when threatened with arrest and tear gas.
Around 50 demonstrators in Austin, Texas baracaded both ends of a street and took control of a section of road. The police arrived and arrested three of them.
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