Thanks to Chris Low for the photographs of the G20 protests which occurred in the City of London yesterday, and to those folk that participated throughout that day in the largely peaceful protest for a safer, cleaner and fairer global society. Reports below lifted from various media.
Protesters have stormed the Royal Bank of Scotland in London as thousands of people descended on the City ahead of the G20 summit of world leaders.
Demonstrators launched missiles and forced their way into the bank after clashes with police in the capital.
Nineteen people were arrested on Wednesday, while some police and protesters were injured in scuffles.
Climate change activists have pitched tents in the street, while anti-war campaigners are holding a rally.
The protests came as US President Barack Obama spoke of the “sense of urgency” needed to confront the financial crisis after he met Prime Minister Gordon Brown at Downing Street.
By Wednesday afternoon the prime minister’s spokesman said they were hoping to reach a successful conclusion to the summit.
At the height of the demonstrations, the police estimated there were up to 4,000 demonstrators in the City and officers cordoned off a number of streets.
The BBC’s Ben Brown said there had been an “increasingly ugly mood” in Threadneedle Street after protesters smashed RBS windows with missiles, including coins and computer keyboards, and entered the building. The branch had been closed already as a precautionary measure.
Mounted police and riot officers used shields to push demonstrators back and officers said they entered the RBS building just after 1400 BST “in support of building security”.
The £703,000 pension arrangement of RBS former chief executive, Sir Fred Goodwin, has sparked public anger.
An RBS spokesman said: “The safety of our employees and our customers is of paramount importance to us.”
However, by mid afternoon the BBC’s Danny Shaw said police sources believed the mood had changed, with the atmosphere becoming less tense.
Officers were on the look out for people who were “of interest”.
Earlier, officers were pelted with empty beer cans, fruit and flour outside the Bank of England as the crowd of demonstrators had attempted to reach a peaceful climate change protest in nearby Bishopsgate.
Hundreds of Climate Camp demonstrators – behind direct action protests at Heathrow Airport and power stations in North Yorkshire and Kent – pitched tents in protest against carbon markets.
The BBC’s Mark Georgiou said there was an “almost Glastonbury atmosphere” at the demonstration outside the European Climate Exchange, which featured “music and meditation”.
Several hundred anti-war demonstrators have also marched to a rally in Trafalgar Square from the US Embassy in central London.
The BBC’s Dominic Casciani said it had a “completely different mood” to the protests in the City, and demonstrators were in peaceful mood.
Earlier, protest groups under the G20 Meltdown banner had marched to the Bank of England in the City urging those who had lost their homes, jobs, savings or pensions to join them in following four “horsemen of the apocalypse” to “lay siege” to financial institutions.
Many City workers have dressed in casual clothes after banks and other institutions were warned they may be targeted.
Protester Daniel Blinkhorn, from Brighton, was among those marching from London Bridge station to the Bank. He said the G20 leaders had a “real opportunity to green the global economy”.
Housing association worker Tony Streeter told the BBC: “I’m here because I think people are angry about what’s going on in the world there’s too much greed.”
Scotland Yard said a total of 23 people had been arrested in connection with the protests, including four on Tuesday.
The four people were charged after officers were alerted to a group trying to break into a building in the Holborn area of central London, police said.
On Wednesday, police questioned demonstrators travelling in an armoured vehicle dressed in helmets and overalls.
Police say 11 people have been arrested on suspicion of possessing police uniforms and for road traffic offences.
A man died last night during the G20 protests in central London as a day that began peacefully ended with police saying bottles were thrown at police medics trying to help him.
The man had collapsed within a police cordon set up to contain the crowds who had assembled in central London and the City to protest over the G20 summit. There were 63 arrests on the day.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission was being notified last night. Scotland Yard said the alarm had been raised by a member of the public who spoke to a police officer on a cordon at the junction of Birchin Lane and Cornhill in the City.
He sent two medics through the cordon line and into nearby St Michael’s Alley where they found a man who had stopped breathing. They called for ambulance support at about 7.30pm and moved him back behind the cordon where they gave him cardio-pulmonary resuscitation.
“The officers took the decision to move him as during this time a number of missiles – believed to be bottles – were being thrown at them”, said a police statement. The ambulance service took the man to hospital where he died.
A London ambulance spokesman said: “Our staff immediately took over the treatment of the patient and made extensive efforts to resuscitate him both at the scene and on the way to hospital.”
The directorate of public standards at both the Metropolitan and City of London police had been informed, the statement said. One protester at the scene said the man was in his 30s and died of natural causes, the Press Association news agency reported.
The man’s death ended a day in which the contrasting faces of British policing were on display in London.
The Met called in support from 30 forces across the country to create a 5,000-strong team of officers for at least six diverse demonstrations in the City of London and Trafalgar Square. Outside the Bank of England police horses and riot officers were pushed back by the sheer force of demonstrators – helmets were torn from officers’ heads and cans, fruit and flour rained down. In retaliation the police surged forward, cracking heads with batons, using pepper spray and CS gas, and sirens wailed all around.
Three minutes’ walk away, in Bishopsgate, smiling officers shared a joke with men and women pitching tents along the road, a family offered them chocolate brownies from an organic food stall and a few lads politely queued up outside the compost toilet tent.
But late last night there was a stand-off as officers moved to start to break up the climate camp that had been set up.
Violence spread as far as London Bridge, with riot police chasing groups of demonstrators, who responded with bottles and other missiles.
Commanders at the Met, who are said to be among the best public order officers in the world, insisted they would not let the city be brought to a standstill.
They used familiar tactics to trap 4,000 people into streets outside the Bank of England in a practice known as “kettling”, tightening the cordon when violence flared in one part of Threadneedle Street and a group of protesters, whose faces were covered, broke into the Royal Bank of Scotland.
Commander Bob Broadhurst, in charge of the operation, said his aim was to facilitate peaceful protest. But those peaceful demonstrators caught inside the cordon with no toilet facilities, and little water, questioned the idea that they were being allowed to exercise their right to march.
“The police should let us dribble out when we need to,” said June Rogers, a gardener from south London. “We’ve just come on a peaceful protest. We’ve got fire in our belly and we want to say something and be heard, we are just ordinary people but they made the situation worse.”
Jeannie Mackie, a barrister who had attended the climate camp as an observer, was penned in for two hours after police cordoned off both ends of Bishopsgate.
“I thought it was completely unnecessary,” she said.
“I was kept for two hours. Lines of police lined up with their batons and they were completely pumped up and looking to have a go. My feeling was everyone in there was peaceful but they wanted to clear them out.” Responding to the police use of the kettling technique she said that although the courts had ruled that it was legal, there had to be a good reason. “I asked one officer could I go and he said no – I might to and cause trouble. I giggled and said that wasn’t very likely and he said, ‘you can never tell with these people’.”
Scotland Yard said a cordon was used because missiles were being thrown at officers. It also said that portaloos and water had been moved in.
Earlier in the day demonstrations had started close to the Bank of England, storming a Royal Bank of Scotland branch, and baton-wielding police charging a sit-down protest by students.
Much of the protesting was peaceful, but some bloody skirmishes broke out as police tried to keep thousands of people in containment pens surrounding the Bank of England on Threadneedle Street.
Some buildings in the City had been boarded up in anticipation of trouble, with staff warned to work from home or dress down.
As protesters began to gather, after 11am, some City workers were seen waving £10 notes at them from office windows.
After the charge against the sit-down protest at students, there were complaints that officers had been heavy handed.
“When people surrounded RBS, I could understand police tactics,” said Jack Bright, 19. “We were sat down, trying to have a peaceful protest, but they started whacking us.”
Riot police broke down the doors of two squats in East London yesterday as they hunted for those involved in the violence outside the Bank of England during Wednesday’s protests.
Police said that they had made 111 arrests so far in connection with the march and were happy with the way that Operation Glencoe had gone.
It emerged that the man who collapsed and died during the protest on Wednesday evening had been returning from work. Ian Tomlinson, 47, was not involved in the march.
When the protesters met in the City of London at the Bank of England and pushed towards the Royal Bank of Scotland police were initially overrun but quickly regained control.
Officers have been accused of heavy-handedness after hitting protesters with their truncheons and penning in demonstrators outside the Bank of England.
Commander Simon O’Brien, of the Metropolitan Police, said of the decision to pen in the crowds: “If there had been no disorder we would have allowed people to move more freely. But peaceful protests were hijacked by a small number of people. We were pragmatic, we took a lot and I don’t accept that officers have to stand there being punched without any response.”
Climate Camp activists said that the police over-reacted as they evicted them from a protest in Bishopsgate. A spokeswoman said: “We said we would stay peacefully overnight but by 1.30am hundreds of riot cops forced their way through while protesters sat with their hands in the air saying, ‘This is not a riot’. We were forced out and the police used dogs. It was scary.”
More than 20 people were arrested during the raids on the two squats yesterday. Police used battering rams to break down the doors of a squat on Earl Street, near Liverpool Street station, which had been barricaded for several days, and led 70 people out of the building in handcuffs. The second address was in nearby Whitechapel.
Three teenagers and a man were charged last night in connection with the storming of RBS. Mindaugas Lenartavicius, 21, will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court today.