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Reclaim the Streets: Cardiff
Report by jannerboyuk
21st August 2004
Just thought that people might appreciate a short report from the Cardiff RTS that took place today. I would estimate about 150 - 200 people turned up and spent half an hour enjoying some tunes.
Wahay - a political action that didn't involved endless paper sellers and boring speakers. (I love it when you go on a anti-war demo and the speakers tell you, wait for it, they are against the war! Fuck a duck!)
The police obviously thought that the dozen officers would suffice to restrain the determination to stop some traffic. As we moved they suddenly realised that we were heading for Newport Road (a major road that goes through the city centre).
So cleverly they decided that they would form a line with a mere 6 foot gap between each copper to stop us halfway down a pedestrianised Street (Queen Street). Several conversations went like this: Copper: "You can't walk down ere me old son, right butt?!" Protester: "But I'm just walking around consuming all this overpriced tat, little piggy, please let me through." Copper: "OK then me old china".
Onwards then the brave protesters did plunge, innocently getting cramp half way across Newport Road while most of the police were still on Queen Street harassing innocent shoppers. (The theme for the day by the way was the less bright protectors of the peace stopping disinterested consumers who looked slightly 'alternative' and telling to get back over yere or risk arrest. Dimwits.)
Anyway back on Newport Road capitalism was momentarily overthrown as the usual rush hour jam started a bit early. Much pushing and shoving with many police officers shaking with sexual excitement as the prospect of a set to was on the card. In the end we were far too polite for such roistering doistering and the police had to miss out on their kicks.
They made up for this by randomly arresting the mouthier sections of the crowd just to show they meant business. Yeah because being nicked and held in a police cell for charges which would only give the CPS a giggle at best is really scary.
At this moment unknown heroes suddenly screeched onto the scene with a hired van (i don't think they will be going back for the deposit) which was parked and locked in the middle of the road.
The fools - didn't they realise that this would hold up the traffic? Oh they did. Anyway a few more arrests and a smashed windscreen later we were off!
Confusion reigned as we walked down Queen Street and again they didn't know how to stop us. I must say that the passers by were very friendly. They looked like coma victims suddenly awoken from the deadening circle of unpayable debt and buying worthless crap that would mean working stupid amounts of overtime. Add your own "protest as spectacle" critique here.
As we hit the open road again things got a bit nastier as the crowd seemed to be swollen by some likely lads and the continuing confusion over who was protesting and who was shopping. A few more arrests and a bit of excitement and i spotted one of the coppers who had 'forgotten' to put his id number on give someone a good smack, bravely holding his stick thing in his hand (ooh er, missus!!).
After remonstrating him (and by God people we were in "staring out the protesters mode" now!!) i was informed that the problem in society was "incivility". Not punching some unarmed protester in the face with a night stick but not saying excuse me as you do it, that is the problem, do you see!!!!
But anyway blimey this demo went on a bit i can tell you. So off we went again back onto more pedestrianised streets which was causing them so many problems.
In fact a small victory was had as the police received quite a few reinforcements allowing petty criminals everywhere to increase their productivity tenfold!! It was also nice to be informed by the senior officer in command that not displaying your id number was not illegal but just "a bit untidy."
Anyway after blocking up about thirty buses (you wait ages for one then a RTS demo backs up thirty at once!) on St. Mary Street we ended up a bit corralled in after something was 'negotiated' by some anarchist fascist steward type (only joking it was the right time to retire to a park as people were getting tired off the run around especially the many cute kids, bless.).
Myself i got a bit tired of being shoved around by about six coppers because i was walking slightly slower then everybody else (i am 32 ffs!). One copper informed me that he "can do what i want because it is the law, innit!!".
I loved the conversation: "one more word and I'll arrest you!" "sod off copper", "one more word and I'll arrest you!" "sod off copper", "one more word and I'll arrest you!" "sod off copper", "one more word and I'll arrest you!" "sod off copper", "one more word and I'll arrest you!" "sod off copper", "one more word and I'll arrest you!" "sod off copper"! Lovely stuff.
Anyhow, I then left for a delightful herbal tea in the organic cafe, which was delightful.
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