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Police cancel protest march to Gleneagles

The BBC this morning reports that the police have cancelled a planned march to Gleneagles due to start in Auchterarder at 1pm today "amid fears for public safety". Organisers have said the march will go ahead regardless, citing people's democratic right to protest.

The Daily Mail predictably reports today's developments, following news of overnight violence in Stirling, as a result of "masked hooligans" conducting "running battles" with police in "the second outbreak of serious violence" since the G8 protests began. However, others view the cancellation of the key G8 alternatives march on the opening day of the summit as the culmination of police pressure and heavy handedness that began at Saturday's Make Poverty History rally, and escalated through the week. See these eyewitness accounts from Monday's Carnival for Full Enjoyment. Red Pepper's Make the G8 history blog also carries an eyewitness account from yesterday's protest at Dungavel detention centre where the Scottish Socialist Party's Carolyn Leckie was charged after refusing to let police search her handbag.

July 6, 2005 | Permalink

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Alex Ascherson, another eyewitness on the ground at Monday's "Carnival for Full Enjoyment" sent this report of the clashes between police and protestors:

"Today saw the first violent clashes between demonstrators and police, along Princes street Gardens and in central Edinburgh. The pictures I saw later on in the media certainly surprised me, from what I saw of the day it had been remarkably calm, characterized by very heavy police control, exercised though a series of cordons and threats of arrest. I spent most of the circling Princes street looking for
friends and observing the cordon, police had driven protesters into princes street gardens and it was impossible to get in or
out.

I walked down Princes Street taking notes and watching the crowds. I can’t say that i approve of the tactics employed by the black bloc, but the police are just as responsible for provoking violent confrontation. I was watching them manhandle someone on the street, he wasn’t causing trouble, just commenting on their use of dogs (he was a dog lover) when two or three officers saw that I was watching them taking notes. Before I knew it I was on the ground and pushed up against a wall with my hands behind my back, as they threatened to break my wrist and searched me and my bag. If they had found something that they thought was incriminating, I’m sure I would have been arrested, and for what? Watching them?

Writing down what was happening I can’t help but feel that the tactics the police are using here in Scotland can only lead to more violence. With no means or will to communicate or negotiate with the crowds, it can only get worse.

Today was overwhelmingly calm; the police were out in such force that there was no way that an equal, and thereby a more prolonged and violent confrontation could occur.

I don’t believe that the majority of the people who came out today were seeking to engage violently with the police. Many brought children and infants, along with musical instruments and costumes. The actions of any minority never justify the repression of the majority. The police cordoned everybody, locking them up in Princes Street gardens and only letting them out hours later, and then only if they gave their names and addresses."

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