We defied an attempt to ban the demonstration by the police and the ConDem Birmingham City Council, we marched despite a heavy police presence, and we marched despite pouring rain.
We marched to make it clear the to ConDem government that the fight to stop their cuts starts here. As one GMB speaker put it, 'if they want a war, we'll give them a war'.
West Midlands Police are pleased to confirm that a planned protest in Birmingham city centre has this afternoon passed off peacefully.
The 'Right to Work' march through the city centre's entertainment district was planned to coincide with the start of the Conservative Party Conference at the nearby International Convention Centre.
Between 5000 and 7000 protesters are thought to have attended the event, which travelled along the Broad Street area, leading to a road closure between Five Ways and Paradise Circus and other local streets.
Superintendent Dave Sturman, the commander for the policing operation of the Conservative Party Conference, said this afternoon: "We are very pleased with the way the march has gone this afternoon.
"The protesters were peaceful and the operation went largely to plan.
"At this stage there have been no arrests and we have received no reports of any criminal offences, such as damage, as a result of the event.
"We understand that this protest may have caused some disruption to people in the city, and we thank them for their patience during the course of this afternoon's event."
The march lasted for two hours, travelling along a planned route which passed through Lionel Street, Summer Row, Holiday Street, Gas Street and Broad Street.
All the hype from some anarchist and once as with new labour the left and anarchist just let the working class get fucked over..
Old Class warriors are stirring from their armchairs checking for the nearest Wetherspoons. For once there will be an alternative to the Trot march. How succesfull it is will determine how the opposition to the Tories develops. But at the very least comrades you need to be there.Any successful political movement needs momentum – to get that vitality of momentum we need to put our collective shoulders to the wheel.
It was the rain, one anarchist said that his armchair would get damp and how could he sit there all week in pontification of the revolution on a damp armchair?
Another said this colour red of directions runs in the rain, fuck that of round to me mothers for Sunday Lunch..
it was ok, but nothing to write home about.. decided to join the black bloc as that's where I feel my politics are headed, I would say there were about 50-60 in the black bloc, I tagged along with the sheffield anarchists as the bloc split at the start of the march with rumours that the police would try to seperate us from the march right at the start..
no chance for any civil disobedience anywhere though, the whole area around the conference centre was barricaded with 8 or 9 foot high solid steel fences and loads of police..
I did see one arrest (or at least someone got bundled into a riot van) - not someone in the kettle - so I guess from that news report they were released without charge and/or not actually arrested..
the black bloc slipped the first attempt to kettle on broad street but not the second (apart from me and a couple of other people)..
The black bloc got kettled by five ways roundabout, I slipped through the police lines as they closed in and wandered around trying to stay with the kettle to varying degrees of success to bear witness should anything happen..
Quite a few from the main march hung around until they were forced down the tunnel under five ways, and then prevented from going back by the police.. knowing the area, I slipped around the police line and went under five ways using the pedestrian routes and joined up with the kettle on five ways roundabout (I was always outside it), along with half a dozen other people and some independant camera people & observers..
They released people from the kettle (with a search and photos taken) on the Hagley Road, just off five ways, strangely into another kettle (but one with actual space in it) - I was inside the secondary kettle - and we were herded to the coach park before being let go.
There was some heavy handedness from the police in the searches, at least a couple of people were thrown to the floor but it wasn't anything major and nothing kicked off.
Overall.. wet, a bit dull and pointless but hopefully a good starting point to build resistance against the cuts. Don't know if any of the anarchist actions planned for the evening happened, I was too cold and wet and coming down with a cold so decided to go home rather than try to hook up with anyone to see what was going on.
I reckon maybe 7 or 8 thousand, would have been more I reckon, but the weather put a dampener on it. Crap route too, round the back streets to a bloody car park! Good spirits though, I felt quite emotional at one point! Marched alongside the black bloc (accidentally mind) at one point, then moved away as it was obvious they were gonna get kettled. Which they did a bit later, how predictable was that? What a waste of time, although I guess it gave some kids a frisson of excitement. Why advertise yourselves though if you want to cause mischief?
Went to a pub for a pint then tried to go to the rally in the Walkabout bar, but the police had cordoned the road and weren't letting anyone through with a banner (I had an IWW flag on a stick). I gave them the stick and put the flag in my pocket, they still wouldn't let me through, saying I had to leave the flag with them. They wouldn't tell me why except that they "had orders". Stupid wankers, that really annoyed me. What a pointless fucking order, what am I gonna do with a little flag ffs! Seems also the Walkabout bar had some pressure from the police not to let kids in their either, under threat of having their license revoked.
i just spent 3 hours on the coach back to east london, with some oap from the swp trying to get me to sign up! it was hell!
the march was ace, i've never seen such a large black bloc in all my ten years of doing black block stuff. wait to you see the photos, the anarchist movement is one the up in the UK, and we to keep discontent on the boil. must of been about 200 of us, all actually wearing black and no-one getting it wrong!
a chance to meet new/old faces and lots of anarchos from the north.
the cops did try to set up a kettle, but only under 30 got caught, but luckily for the old bill we're well behaved and didn't give them the trouble they wanted.
we seemed to be well organised to avoid the kettle, but maybe we can begin organising tactics to send the police a message of "we ain't scared, fuck off!" running instead of leaving our mates and scattering, as it doesn't send a good message to the younger anarchists.
When the police began there kettle there was little support from other groups apart from the dreadul sing-along coming from SWP loons.
Other groups including the very excitable, yet cowardly named "REVOLUTION" just kept walking and didn't stop to help the anarchist bloc.
Revolution, if your reading this why not next time make your flag poles out of slightly heavier wood, get blacked-up and get stuck in next time helping your anarchist comrades!
there's going to be another march in london on 20th october, lets rally another auto-bloc, as its deffinatly a good time to build the anarchist movement in the UK, maybe this time with a few banner drops and a soundsystem, and a convergence space for activists from out of london...
i'm guessing smash-edo will be fun.
Many individual anarchists did what they could, but as group we failed miserably. We allowed ourselves and others walk into a kettle and then watched powerlessly as our friends got searched, harassed, photographed. Those loud and proud anarchist voices that urged everyone on before, were nowhere to be found.
I think that we all could have benfited with some sort of meeting beforehand,just to discuss tactics,possibilies, aims, general plan.Instead what ensued was those behind followed those who shouted loudest. As "autonomous" people/ sheep we allowed ourselves be deliberately (imho) manipulated by our so-called comrades and self-appointed leaders into a situation where many anarchists got inevitably kettled, searched,humiliated...