30/04/2003

London braced for May Day protests

London is preparing itself for the now traditional May Day protests, with tens of thousands of anti-capitalism marchers expected to sweep into the capital's financial and commercial centres.

Over 50 sites have been targeted by protesters, beginning at 10.30am and finishing at around 10pm. One protest organiser, has billed the march as a "pre-emptive strike" against the "real weapons of mass destruction" – that is, oil companies, arms manufacturers, multinationals corporations and banks.

Police have advised people to expect disruption to transport, commerce and retail businesses and "potential disorder".

A Met spokesperson said: "We will have a policing operation in place with sufficient resources to be able to deal with whatever it occurs."

The Met have published an advice list on their website, http://www.met.police.uk/campaigns/mayday.htm , and asked employers to ensure that their staff are "informed not alarmed".

The police say keyholders should check that: fire exit doors remain closed and only opened in an emergency; alarm system is fully working; no rubbish be left outside premises, this can be used for missiles.

Protest groups have adopted somewhat revolutionary language to describe what is planned for tomorrow.

One wrote: “In order to create a future worth building we must, collectively, together, as one, destroy that which enslaves, suppresses and hinders us. Mayday is simply a glimpse of that possibility. Our energy is awe-inspiring, extraordinary, limitless. This is still our day.”

Police have developed a certain amount of expertise in dealing with anarchist/anti-globalisation marches, and more than 1,000 officers are expected to be on duty tomorrow.

(GMcG)

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