I'll write a more personal account when I've got my head together a bit more after such a crazy few days, but here's a summary of what happened:
Yesterday around 2000 protesters set up a Camp for Climate Action in the middle of the Square Mile, closing a major road for 12 hours. The Camp was located outside the European Climate Exchange on Bishopsgate, to protest against the G20's plans to use deeply flawed carbon trading mechanisms to tackle climate change.
(See www.climatecamp.org.uk for some beautiful pictures of the Camp.)
As planned, hundreds of protesters “swooped” from all over the City at 12.30pm and set up tents, bunting and bicycles in order to reclaim a large portion of the financial district. Throughout the day there was a programme of workshops on themes such as the absurdity of carbon trading, the history of social movements and alternative economic models, whilst pedal powered sound systems and live bands provided entertainment, a kitchen provided hundreds of meals and a farmers market gave away organic vegetables.
One camper, Jessica Harward said: “The atmosphere was creative and joyful. This part of London is usually a major part of the climate problem, through the funding of fossil fuels and disastrous carbon trading schemes. For 12 hours we turned it into part of the climate solution.”
Despite assurances made on Tuesday morning by Commander Broadhurst to climate campers in the office of David Howarth, MP, at 7pm on Wednesday riot police violently attacked the camp, injuring many peaceful campers and bystanders who were not allowed to leave the area.
(You can see an extraordinary video of this here - note how all the protestors have their hands in the air to show they are unarmed and peaceful, and are chanting "this is not a riot").
Despite this incursion, the atmosphere at the Camp remained calm and happy until around
midnight, when riot police again moved in and aggressively dispersed the Camp.
Another camper, Dave Spencer, said “We were here to expose carbon trading as a financial fraud which has nothing to do with climate change. Our success in turning Bishopsgate into an eco-camp has clearly rattled the authorities, who once again have used unnecessary force against us. We won't be deterred though – climate change is the most urgent issue in the world, and our movement is growing stronger all of the time.”