July 08, 2006

Allan Caldwell, "Make Poverty History: An Anarchist Ambush"

by jim

Roads chaos as protesters and cops clash

The anarchist assault on Stirling and the M9 began at 2.02am.

In pouring rain, almost 1500 protesters marched to the gate of Camp Horizon, their temporary 'eco-camp' in the shadow of Stirling Castle. The gates swung open and the mob spewed out, chanting and singing. The anarchists' aim was to breach security and block the main road through central Scotland. Many thought they wouldn't get much further than the camp gate. After all, thousands of police stood between them and their target. But by moving so early, the yobs caught the police sleeping.

A witness to the trouble said: 'The protesters were co-ordinated. They moved people to certain areas and they all decided to fight at once to try and stretch the police resources.' The anarchists got to Springkerse Industrial Estate before facing any serious opposition. Police tried to contain them there as missiles rained down. But just when it looked as if the cops might succeed, a second group of 1000 extremists arrived.

The police faced being sandwiched between the two mobs. Shocked cops looked for a way out as the second wave swept into them. More missiles were thrown and police batons were wielded as anger and frustration grew on both sides. One riot cop said to a colleague: 'We have to sort these b ******* out, otherwise it's going to happen again.'

Cops blasted one anarchist with pepper spray as he wrestled with officers, trying to save a pal from arrest. Police hammered another yob repeatedly on the arm as he clung to his friend, who was being arrested. It looked like the arm was broken.

The anarchists took out their fury on nearby symbols of big business — branches of McDonald's, Burger King and the Bank of Scotland in Springkerse retail park. More than a dozen windows at Burger King were smashed.Advertising signs were wrecked and a drive-through intercom system was ripped out of the ground.

One protester said: 'We all marched into the retail park trying to get on to the motorway. 'Various skirmishes happened with police. Everyone was going round in circles getting lost.'

The ordinary people of Stirling and Bannockburn felt the anarchists' rage. Two hundred hooligans, mainly Italians, Germans and Spaniards, caused chaos in Stirling's High Street and nearby residential areas. They smashed windows, sprayed graffiti and ripped satellite dishes off walls. Five police were hurt and scores of the protesters returned to the camp to lick their wounds.

Stirling railway station was closed for 90 minutes because of the rioting.

In Bannockburn, protesters smashed the windscreens of parked cars and threw rocks at police vehicles.

One group linked their arms through inflated tyre inner tubes and charged a line of riot police blocking the road. Several yobs attacked a police van, hitting it with iron rods and kicking its headlights as it reversed away.

As the riots raged on, another mob marched out of Camp Horizon. The 300-strong group was led by black-clad Italian anarchists with scarves wrapped around their faces.

Again, the badly stretched cops seemed to be caught by surprise. Only one police van stood in the anarchists' way at first and it wasted no time speeding off to look for reinforcements.

A thin line of police formed in the mob's path at a roundabout on the way to central Stirling. Missiles began to fly as the anarchists weighed up whether to attack or flee. They began to move back but several vanloads of riot police arrived to block their path. The protesters forced their way through one line of cops, only to be hemmed in again. But many of them were able to escape the police cordon and strike out towards the M9. They crossed muddy fields and railway lines and struggled through fences and undergrowth.

Only a few hundred anarchists made it to the road but that was enough. Shortly after 6.15am, 120 protesters poured down an embankment near junction nine and spilled on to the carriageway.Traffic ground to a halt.

A mile away, a group led by the Italians marched north along the southbound carriageway and met another mob coming the other way.

By now, police vehicles were the only ones moving on the M9. Groups of anarchists lay down in the road, surrounded by cordons of police. The cops sped up and down trying to contain the protests but the yobs had achieved their goal.They cheered wildly as news of their successes spread

One of the protesters said: 'There are several blockades on the road. As the police open it, another group of protesters close it again.' The police took three hours to win back control of the M9.

Sixty-five anarchists were arrested in the morning's mayhem. But back at Camp Horizon later, those who escaped claimed a great victory.

A large map was stuck on the side of a caravan and covered in stickers marking each anarchist triumph.

One leading anarchist said: 'They didn't think we could do it but we hit the summit hard. We didn't have a plan but if you don't have a plan it can't go wrong.' The man's fellow protesters applauded loudly as he added: 'Today we destroyed 10,000 of Britain's best police, and they know it.' Five police, two of them female, were taken to hospital. Police claimed 'a group of individuals' at the hospital tried to disrupt the cops' treatment.


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