Occupy London Versus Police Noobs

Neither side had their shit together.

14 May 2012, 7:00am

The square in front of St Paul's Cathedral was once again full of Occupy London protesters on Saturday, as they gathered to celebrate the anniversary of the Spanish Indignados movement and pay an unfriendly visit to "the 1%". Roughly 800 unhappy people met at St Paul's at 1PM and proceeded to give a series of speeches about the successes and failures of their movement. May has been earmarked for the rebirth of the Occupy movement after they were turfed out of St Paul's in February and Saturday's march route was designed to incorporate a number of places where Occupy feels the 1% lives. A map was released and protesters were told to "bring a tent". 

The march left at 2PM but things got ragged quickly as groups ran ahead of the main crowd forcing the City of London police to give chase. The march was then kettled on New Fetter Lane, provoking the crowds into trying to break through the police barrier, swinging punches wildly. If the police hadn't kettled the group there probably wouldn't have been any trouble, but the CoL police aren't as experienced as the Met when it comes to dealing with angry mobs. Eventually the march was able to continue onwards to the Bank of England, dodging some half-arsed cordons along the way and seemingly ignoring the targets set on the map. Once at the Bank of London, Occupiers pitched tents and more speeches started, but they were quickly warned that if they didn't clear off in 45 minutes, they'd be arrested. Most of the crowd had left but the die-hards remained and so the snatch squads barrelled in ripping protesters out, in some cases by their hair.

This went on for a good few hours until, at around 11PM, the police just gave up and walked off. You have to wonder what, if anything, was achieved on the day; it being a Saturday, most of the targets were closed. Occupy will have to have a long, hard look at itself and its tactics if it ever wants to make a lasting difference. Though their chanting was pretty on-point – directing their ire the way of the cops, they sang: "Follow your leader/ get Alzheimer's like Margaret Thatcher."

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