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(en) Freedom 6322 Nov 16th 2002 - Halloween happenings

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Wed, 27 Nov 2002 09:54:13 -0500 (EST)


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Thousands of anti-war activists last month protested against
British and American plans for an attack on Iraq. A day of action
on 31st October saw 150 demonstrations take place across Britain,
in places as far apart as Broadstairs, Farnham, Glasgow and
Manchester. The protests, which were timed to coincide with
Halloween, took many forms. These included critical mass bike
rides, occupations, marches and rallies.
A critical mass was held in Brighton. In the evening, up to a
thousand people blocked the waterfront until cops attacked them
with batons and mace spray. In Barnsley and Swansea, traffic was
halted when protesters blocked roads. During the evening, Oxford
Road in Manchester was blocked by around a thousand people.
In Edinburgh there was street theatre and a film show, while
anti-war banners were draped over the walls of Cardiff's castle.
Marches and rallies took place in Bristol, Glasgow,
Kingston-upon-Thames, Oldham, Reading and Sheffield, and a
mock funeral procession was held in Stoke-on-Trent.
There were college occupations in Colchester, Liverpool,
Manchester and Sheffield, while paid killers from the Defence
Research Agency saw their Cambridge offices taken over for the
day.
In London, a 'disco action' was held at Liverpool Street station,
while Westminster Bridge was closed by women activists.
Lambeth Unison staged a protest in Brixton.
In the evening up to five thousand people gathered outside
Parliament, before marching on Downing Street. Mounted police
tried to stop them there but they were forced to give way, allowing
the marchers to continue to Trafalgar Square and the Strand.
See viewpoints, page six.

Surrey
A good-natured street party took place in Farnham, Surrey. Mainly
consisting of students from the Surrey Institute of Art and Design
University College, it took place on West Street in the centre of the
town. It began around 4pm and lasted for about two hours.
The original intention was to block the road and hold a party there,
but with only about thirty people this was impractical. We stood on
the pavement on each side of the road instead, waving our
home-made anti-war banners and asking drivers to beep their
horns for peace.
What we lacked in numbers we made up for with enthusiasm, and
with drumming, dancing and chanting (and leaflet distribution) we
woke up a sleepy Surrey town. As the demo took place outside the
offices of the Farnham Herald, a reporter and photographer were
on the scene straight away. In a town where very little happens,
something like this is front page news.
The police arrived shortly afterwards and asked protesters to keep
off the road. Some were friendly and approachable, others weren't.
The general reaction from the public was positive, despite some
drivers who were clearly out to make trouble by driving close to
the pavement in an attempt to scare protesters.
Towards 6pm, with the traffic thinning, we got permission from
police to march down West Street itself. We did this as slowly as
possible to hold the cars up. All in all, a positive and hopefully
effective action.




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