Tomorrow is the G20 meeting in London, but anti-capitalist protesters got off to a good start today in the City (of London) with an attack on an RBS building.
During my lunch hour I strolled from Moorgate to the Bank of England. Princes Street was blocked, so I went around Lothbury to Bartholomew Lane, leading to Threadneedle Street. The protest was on Threadneedle St. but people attacked the RBS building on the corner. Mounted police then arrived to push the protesters back.
I was happily taking photos of the march on Threadneedle Street from the safety of Bartholomew Lane. At about 1.30pm the protesters started getting a bit feisty and obkects were thrown, red smoke bombs were hurled and people started climbing on railings. The focus quickly turned to an RBS building opposite the Bank of England (the BOE being like a fortress, the protesters did not stand a chance). Soon a window was broken and protesters managed to enter the building.
Riot (or are they crowd control?) police started pushing the protesters back, which forced more into Bartholomew Lane, which was still relatively safe. The tide of the rioting masses ebbed and flowed for a while, until the crowd could no longer hold its position in Threadneedle. During this time some cunning mounted police officers positioned themselves along the rear of Bartholomew Lane, leaving me (and a whole bunch of other onlookers) trapped between a wall of horse and a rioting mob.
Things were still relatively calm though, but the protesters moved towards the police, and the police commander shouted “visors down! hold the line!”. They refused to let photographers out. Things started getting hairy. Luckily I overheard someone mention a gap in the scaffolding on the opposite side of the street, so I legged it over and made my way along an undercover pathway around the back of the riot police. The horses were agitated by the time I passed them, and some were backing into the riot vans, shaking them all over the place. It was only then I realised how damn big those horses are!
But I made my escape, and recorded the whole event on my Google G1 phone, uploaded the photos to Picasa using the Picasa application, and now blogging using WordPress (see how I managed to make it sound like an IT blog?). Here’s a photo reel of my day. The crowd shots from above are when the protesters were moving from Liverpool Street to Bank via London Wall.
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