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Anarchy in Edinburgh - local paper report from FEB
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ANARCHY at the G8

More than 100,000 people, including the most determined activists and protesters on the planet, will descend on Edinburgh and the Gleneagles Hotel as the leaders of the richest countries gather to decide the fate of nations. At the G8 summit in Genoa four years ago widespread rioting led to violent clashes with armed police. This summer Scotland isn’t taking any chances …


 

TUCKED away in a secluded corner of Edinburgh’s old town, just off the cobbled streets of the famous Grassmarket, a small but burgeoning band of activists are gathering tonight to talk strategy about the G8.

The venue – the Quaker Meeting House – is unimposing, the kind of building that you’d miss if you blinked. But from 5pm, behind its doors, a plan will be hatched to take forward the largest and most controversial series of demonstrations that Scotland has ever seen.

This weekend, activists are also gathering in Glasgow. A website linked to anarchist groups reveals plans for the city to become a base for training protesters in techniques of direct action.

The site, run by the Seeds for Change network, warns that workshops – held at an undisclosed location in Glasgow until today – “aren’t designed for the mildly curious – you’ll be coming because you want to stimulate real action at the G8”.

It says that sessions are designed to show activists how to “use their body and some simple equipment to prolong protest”, “make quick group decisions on actions”, “build affinity groups and other support systems” and teach them about their legal rights.

The site reads: “By the end of a Direct Action Trainers’ Workshop you’ll be equipped to run direct action training sessions – stimulating action in your community and helping other activists prepare for effective action at the summit. Priority will be given to people that can make the whole weekend and have a firm intention of using the skills they learn.”

A n investigation by the Sunday Herald this week reveals in the starkest terms just how seriously Scotland’s entire criminal justice system is taking their threat.




Drawing from interviews with police leaders, legal figures and the security services, a picture of the sheer scale of the G8 security operation is beginning to emerge for the first time.

As the world’s eight most influential leaders gather at Gleneagles for the G8 summit on July 6, an unprecedented Scotland-wide security operation will be under way to deal with a calendar of protest that includes a massive Make Poverty History rally in Edinburgh on July 2, demonstrations at Dungavel detention centre and anti-nuclear protests at the Faslane naval base on the River Clyde.

Last week Tayside Police Chief Constable John Vine announced that thousands of officers on duty during the July summit could be used to form a human barrier around the five-star resort amid concerns that protesters would attempt to breach the site to disrupt the G8 meeting, attendees of which will include Tony Blair, Vladimir Putin and George Bush.

But there is also growing concern that two weeks of protests planned across the country in early July – including an expected 200,000-strong anti-capitalist march in the capital – will trigger chaos and rioting across Scotland. In the strongest indication yet that the country’s political leaders are expecting mayhem, the Sunday Herald has learned that every criminal court in Edinburgh Sheriff Court, bar one, will be freed to deal with custodies relating to the G8 protests.

With the chaos of past G8 summits fresh in the memory, the litany of measures to be introduced will include the scrapping of all trials at the sheriff court from July 1 to July 14 and up to seven Edinburgh sheriffs, capable of dealing with hundreds of court cases, being placed on standby.

Such is the fear that Edinburgh will be swamped by activists intent on wreaking havoc that the Sheriff Principal, the city’s senior judge, has passed a directive authorising the court to sit on Saturdays, on July 2 and 9.

Legal sources have also told the Sunday Herald that, if required, Edinburgh’s courts will sit from 9am until 9pm. A startling array of other measures being put in place includes procurator fiscals on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week; teams of interpreters being drafted in to Edinburgh’s courts to deal with foreign arrests; court holidays cancelled; and a raft of duty defence solicitors being assigned to the court to represent those charged with public order offences.

A typical day at Edinburgh Sheriff Court could see up to 40 custodies, dealt with by a single sheriff in one court. Under the plans for July, up to eight courts will be freed to hear G8 custodies only. Trials have been shelved to free up police officers who might otherwise spend the day in the witness room waiting to give evidence.

All police leave has been cancelled for the first two weeks in July and force leaders have been told to inform their staff they will be expected to work “excessive hours”.

The most controversial measure under discussion at top-level meetings is a plan for a special “holding facility” – dubbed by some a “mini-Guantanamo” – to be set up in the capital to deal with hundreds of G8 protesters arrested and awaiting trial. A police source close to the discussions revealed there is concern that St Leonard’s Police Station, the capital’s main holding station with 40 cells, will be unable to cope with the expected number of arrests.

According to the well-placed source, the former RAF Turnhouse base, an unused site at Edinburgh Airport, is one of a number of options being considered.

The base has previously been considered by the Home Office and the city council as a site for housing asylum seekers. According to papers on the Scottish Executive website, Turnhouse could have been used as an “accommodation centre” for 750 asylum seekers. Although the site has been discussed, it is believed that police chiefs and the Scottish Executive are examining other possibilities, including a new pre-fabricated structure in the city or having an existing building “moved in from elsewhere”.

As with previous summits, thousands of protesters are expected to descend on Scotland from around the world, mostly from the continent. “While there will be people who are coming over with the genuine intention of demonstrating peacefully, there will also be people who attach themselves to these groups and who have one thing in mind – to disrupt proceedings by protesting violently,” another police source said.

“My fear is that we’re going to have something on a scale that we’ve never had in Scotland before. We’ve all seen what has happened during previous G8 summits and we have to assume that’s the kind of situation we’ll be having to deal with. You have to plan for the worst case scenario.”

Anarchist websites detail a host of gatherings taking place across Europe as the countdown to the G8 conference continues.

The most high-profile, to be held later this month, will be in Tubingen, in the southern German state of Baden-Wurttemberg, where anti-globalisation and anti-capitalist campaigners will draw up plans to disrupt the Gleneagles summit.

Senior officers have repeatedly warned of the threat of extremist violence and have shown MSPs footage of the riots that accompanied recent G8 summits in Genoa in Italy and Evian, France.

The Genoa riots ended with one protester dead, more than 200 people injured and 250 arrested. In a bid to limit violence, the US last year held the summit on an island off the coast of the American state of Georgia.

But with this year’s summit planned for the Gleneagles resort in the heart of the Scotland, it is widely believed that parts of Tayside, Edinburgh and Glasgow will become virtual no-go areas. Despite Vine’s promise to construct a physical barrier around the Gleneagles resort, anti-G8 campaigners say they will converge on the hills above the hotel to protest against the meeting. They plan to run organised walks every weekend from the middle of next month to “get familiar with the landscape and to meet other walkers”.

Under the heading “A celebration of the right to roam”, the latest newsletter of activists’ network Dissent, reads: “We hope to test out and learn various communications methods on the hills, from using simple whistles, to morse code with flashlights.”

This weekend, Vine told the Sunday Herald that the police were considering a range of measures to crack down on protesters who were intent on causing trouble. There has already been widespread anger at the news that Tayside Police intends to issue residents near the Gleneagles Hotel with ID passes and restrict movement throughout the week.

He confirmed his force were looking at controversial measures enabled by the Terrorism Act 2000. One measure being examined was the use of powers under Section 44 of the act, which gives the police the right to stop and search anyone without reason.




The measures, which have been derided as “draconian” by campaigners, would only come into force if the Home Office granted an application made by a senior police officer. Under the act, specific geographical areas can become “stop-and-search zones” giving officers the right to challenge anyone even if they have no reason to believe a crime has been committed.

Confirming the Section 44 powers are being considered, Vine said: “We are examining how they work and how they might apply to the G8 summit in Scotland. If the circumstances merit an application to the Home Secretary then this will be considered.”

He stressed that Section 44 was there to allow the police to take a “proportionate approach when judged necessary to assist in the prevention of acts of terrorism”.

Human rights campaigners have reacted with concern at the news that such powers were being considered. “The use of these measures should be used only when absolutely necessary but it appears that this is being considered to make sure that the politicians aren’t offended or troubled by the protests,” John Scott, chairman of the Scottish Human Rights Centre, said.

“It’s as if the right to protest peacefully and the right to freedom of expression doesn’t mean anything any more in this country, when if fact it’s a basic right. This is the sledgehammer to crack the nut.”

As part of what will be the largest security operation in modern British history, 10,000 officers will be required country-wide to police the entire event.

An army of specialist officers from across the country is preparing to secure the event. Halls of residences at the universities of Stirling and Edinburgh have been set aside as accommodation for the police presence in the Lothians and Perthshire.

Special Branch is also covertly monitoring activists throughout the UK and liaising with national and international security agencies. Ports, airports and road links into Gleneagles have been put on high alert to prevent anarchist protesters from reaching the summit.

It is expected that once the demonstrators start arriving, the Edinburgh authorities will cordon off the Scottish Parliament, the Palace of Holyrood House and other historical sites around the city. Separate arrangements are also being set in train in Glasgow, where a large number of the Scotland-based activists are known to be based.

While activists plan their tactics for the event, the police are being given public order training at a number of sites across Scotland. At the disused Law Hospital in Lanarkshire, hundreds of specialist officers have been honing civil order control techniques. Officers are forming mock “protest” gangs to train colleagues how to apprehend violent protesters and contain unruly groups.

Ian Woodhead, secretary of the Lothian and Borders Police Federation, said: “You’ve seen yourself the experiences from some of the previous summits. Our officers are going to be extremely vulnerable to violence. That is a difficulty we’ll have to gear up to.

“The officers on the street will have batons, CS spray and their stab-resistant vests. But we’re acutely aware of the different levels of protection that may be required to meet each situation.

“I would not envisage the normal day-to-day beat officer having to confront violent groups. That will be the domain of our public protection officers. We’ve got additional officers undergoing public order training as we speak.”

He said the specialist officers would be kitted out with “vests, shields and helmets with back up from other options”. But he added: “I can only describe it as ‘other options’ at this time. I wold not want it publicised what we have in our back pocket.”

He acknowledged that while the summit itself was at Gleneagles, there was “no doubt” there would be a “knock-on effect” in Edinburgh and even in Glasgow. Hinting that the police would use helicopters to take officers from one part of the country to the other if the force was stretched, he said: “We’ve got to be flexible enough so that if we’ve got 1000 officers in Edinburgh and something happens in Glasgow we’ve got the logistics in place to deal with that and get our officers there to assist our colleagues in the West.

“There will be contingency transport plans in place to allow quick movement of officers where that is required.”

Other high-profile targets for campaigners in Edinburgh, including the McDonald’s burger chain, confirmed to the Sunday Herald this week that they were in talks with Lothian and Borders Police over security concerns. A McDonald’s spokesman said it was “working closely with the local police in the build up to the G8 meeting”.

Kenneth McFarlane, president of the Edinburgh Bar Association, the lawyers’ body, confirmed that “extensive” measures were to be implemented to cope with the fallout of the G8 summit including sitting on Saturday, July 2 – the day of the Edinburgh anti-poverty march.

He said: “The reason it will sit on that day is so that the cells in Edinburgh are cleared of prisoners. So by the time the march starts on the Saturday, Edinburgh will be at maximum capacity for accepting custodies.”

20 February 2005



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Tonight

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If they know where the meeting is taking place, and that disruption, chaos, and doom are at hand, then why not simply arrest them? Send out a massive police force to arrest the bad men so that doomsday prophesies won't come to be. You whine and complain about what is going to happen when it could be stopped. If you know now where this plan is being hatched, contact the authorities. If not, then you'll be sitting telling everyone else, "I told you so! You didn't listen! Now I have to pay more tax dollars. Woe is me..." You just want to be right, no matter the cost. You don't care if your city is destroyed, if crime erupts, if riots lash out and anarchists take control. You want to be right. So much that now you won't even make a phone call to the police to try to keep it from happening. And then to imply that you care about what will happen... 


<-----edit----->


"


Smallpox was wiped out by just over US$100m worth of targeted aid. Polio is also close to being eliminated.


Mozambique's economy grew at an astonishing 12 per cent in the 1990s when aid constituted 50 per cent of its income.


In Tanzania, debt relief enabled the government to abolish primary school fees, leading to a whopping 66 per cent increase in attendance. As a result, 1.6million more children now attend school.


Debt relief helped kick-start Mozambique's impressive recovery from civil war and terrible floods and enabled its government to vaccinate 500,000 additional children.


NOW IS THE TIME, THIS IS THE YEAR - OUR LEADERS HAVE THE POWER TO END POVERTY - BUT WE HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE THEM USE IT" - http://www.live8live.com



-- Edited by meekus at 07:40, 2005-06-30

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Banana Republic

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Oh Meekus,


What can I say...everyone is supposed to be allowed an opinion in this country but obviously when it comes to disagreeing with you that doesn't apply...please do me a favour and


GET A LIFE!


The authorities in Edinburgh are hardly likely to scream "we can't cope" to the press are they!!


Haven't you ever heard of covert operations...be realistic they no doubt know who is coming and will deal with them when they arrive but with so many people expected in Edinburgh there will be a few that will no doubt get through and cause problems.


I've said before (and you don't seem to be able or willing to listen) that I want peace in Edinburgh. All I'm doing is reporting what the local papers have said (so that people who DON'T have access to them can read and make up their own opinions)....they can read your comments and mine and decide if they want to come to Edinburgh or not. I'm not going to stand on the Royal Mile telling them to go home..but if I make them at least think carefully about coming (and their motives for coming - whether that be for good OR bad) then surely that can't be wrong....


As for the stats...don't you know there's lies, damn lies and statistics!


(I could no doubt find stats on Mugabe / Congo etc but to be honest, I can't be bothered..but Zimroger has provided some elsewhere if you can take the time to read them...). Do me a favour and try and stop seeing everything in Black and white, life I'm afraid is a bit more complicated than that.



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Banana Republic

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And how you can say I somehow want the protest to be violent - what planet are you on mate?! I work in health and safety and SAFETY is my main concern THAT is why I have been posting...not for your little ego trips...


 



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And now for something completely different....


Angelina Jolie - evil man eater or independent strong young woman?!



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The stupidity of humans
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Humans aren't the most logical of creatures (hence working in safety can be such a laugh)...this taken from the Darwin Awards....


26 December 2004, Nis, Serbia


Danilo Petrovic, 36, is the only known Serbian victim of the giant tsunami that devastated countries around the Indian Ocean. And he was at home in Serbia at the time. He blames television for the tragedy.

He was so shocked when he saw the tsunami footage on TV that he jumped out his apartment window. As he fell from the second floor, it occurred to him that the tsunami was not actually a threat to South Serbia, which is separated by an entire continent from the Indian Ocean. But it was too late to avoid impact: he suffered two broken legs and a damaged spine.

Recovering later from his tsunami injuries, he threatened to sue the local television station, TV 5, for saying that “the tsunami is coming our way,” and that people should “immediately evacuate.” A spokesman for TV 5 said Danilo must have misunderstood the reporter’s words.

DarwinAwards.com © 1994 - 2005



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RE: Anarchy in Edinburgh - local paper report from FEB
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Um, ok...

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