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quarta-feira, 1 de abril de 2009

Protesters storm RBS office as thousands of anti-capitalists ransack the City in G20 riot

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 3:41 PM on 01st April 2009

Hundreds of anarchists went on the rampage this afternoon as the G20 protests descended into violence.

Several police officers were injured and a branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland targeted as drunken troublemakers brought chaos to London's Square Mile.

A small number of protesters, many with their faces covered by bandanas, broke into the RBS building after windows at its entrance were smashed.

A printer and various other items of equipment were seen being thrown out of the window as the group ransacked the office.

Enlarge A protester climbs through the broken windows at Royal Bank of Scotland

Storming the banks: Demonstrators smashed windows at the Royal Bank of Scotland building in the City and went inside

Hundreds of protesters cheered as a blue office chair was used to smash one of the blacked-out branch windows.

Graffiti was also daubed on the side of the building as other demonstrators threw eggs and flour.

Fortunately the bank was empty because RBS had warned employees to stay away during the protests.

There was security in place but this had to be bolstered by police as the protests turned ugly.

An RBS spokesman said: 'We are aware of the violence... The safety of our employees and our customers is of paramount importance to us.

'We had already taken the precautionary step of closing selected City of London branches, including the Threadneedle branch.'

By 2.30pm, the protesters had been evicted from the premises and police in riot gear supported by mounted officers had forced the crowd back down the road.

Police attempt to subdue the crowds as the peaceful protest turned violent

Enlarge A protester who was seen goading the police falls to the floor bleeding from the head after they force him back

Cowed: A protester who was seen goading the police falls to the floor bleeding from the head after they force him back

A police helicopter hovered overhead as the officers tried to get the crowds under control. They were heard chanting 'shame on you' and hurled missiles.

Many demonstrators suffered minor injuries and were seen bleeding from the head after police beat them off with batons as they tried to force their way through.

The clashes came just as it seemed the demonstration, which was also attended by comedian Russell Brand, would pass off peacefully.

Around 4,000 demonstrators were penned in front of the Bank of England as riot vans blocked off surround streets, preventing hundreds of others entering the square.

Masked and hooded men also tried to breach police lines to get to a climate camp in nearby Bishopsgate.

Police forced them back as they were pelted with empty beer cans, fruit and flour. At least one officer was seen with blood spurting from his head.

Chants of 'f*** the police' and 'our street' were heard as police reinforcements were drafted in.

A line of police holding back protesters was overwhelmed by the demonstrators, who surged forward, briefly pinning officers against the wall.

Police retaliated with a surge of their own, as helmeted officers repelled the crowd with batons.

A police officer outside the Bank of England covered in red paint sprayed by a demonstrator

The building, which appeared to be empty, was hit by a hail of missiles including plastic bottles and toilet rolls.

Thousands of officers shepherded protesters carrying banners proclaiming 'Balls to the Banks' and 'Punish the looters' and carrying effigies of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Police initially stood by as the vandalism took place, but an officer with a riot shield later halted the damage spree.

Officers on horseback guarded the crowd as items, including coins and computer keyboards, were thrown at the building.

'F*** the system', 'Beat inflation - eat the rich', and 'Scum' were graffitied on to the building as workers peered out from windows on the fourth floor.


An injured man confronts police as they attempt to subdue the crowds as the demonstration turned violent


Protestors and Police clash outside outside the Bank of England

Demonstrators continued to chant while officers held their batons aloft in front of three police vans blocking the road.

As the surge gathered momentum in Threadneedle Street, police used batons to hold the protesters back.

A small number managed to break through the police line but were intercepted by more officers wearing riot gear.

At least one man was seen with blood pouring from a head wound following the clashes.

Scotland Yard said around 4,000 people had gathered outside the Bank and cordons had been put up in response to 'increasing levels of violence'.

A spokesman said: 'There are currently police cordons in place at Princes Street, Queen Victoria Street, Walbrook Street, King William Street, Lombard Street, Cornhill and Threadneedle Street.'

He added: 'There have been a number of missiles thrown at officers and a number of surges at the police cordons, and increasing levels of violence towards police.

'Cordons have put in place to maintain safety and control the crowd.'

A blue paint ball was hurled from the crowd of protesters and hit one of the concrete columns outside the bank, narrowly avoiding the head of a police officer who was monitoring the crowds.


A bloodied protester screams at police as they attempt to subdue the crowds near the Bank of England


An injured man confronts police as they attempt to subdue the crowds near the Bank of England

Scotland Yard said police in London made 11 arrests linked to the G20 protests today.
The arrests came after officers stopped an armoured personnel carrier parked on Bishopsgate this morning.

It is understood the vehicle was stopped because of suspected road traffic offences and fake police uniforms were discovered inside.

There were ugly scenes at the junction of Threadneedle Street and Bartholomew Lane as protesters tried to force their way through police lines.

Officers drew their batons and lashed out at surging people as they tried to reach the climate camp in nearby Bishopsgate.

But empty beer cans, fruit and flour rained down on two lines of officers from the City of London Police and British Transport Police.


A mass group of anti capitalist and climate change activists converge on the Bank of England


Hooded protesters - many of them women - were prominent as trouble loomed this afternoon

Celebrity endorsement: Russell Brand pitched up at the Bank of England and immediately donned a mask before pulling it to one side

Protesters holding horses' heads made of cloth and sticks, flags and figures of death repeatedly clashed with officers in uniform.

There were clashes between police officers and protestors in Threadneedle Street, alongside the Bank, as officers attempted to hold the demonstrators at bay.

Chants of 'f the police' and 'our street' were heard as several hundred protesters attempted to surge forward.

A number of officers were splattered with paint as items were thrown from the crowd.
There was no immediate evidence of arrests as the flashpoint developed.

Officers drafted in reinforcements as they continued to stop the protesters moving further along the street.

One officer was seen with blood coming from a cut on his face.

City workers waved £10 notes at G20 protesters today as thousands descended on London's financial heartland.

Bankers leaning out of office windows taunted demonstrators on the streets below, who responded with jeers and shouts.


Furious demonstrators let off smoke bombs as the mood turned this afternoon


The protesters included hundreds of hardened anarchists

The protesters - which included hundreds of hardened anarchists and, bizarrely, Russell Brand - set off from four different railway stations aiming to meet at midday.

One of the demonstrators struck and injured a policemen with a large stick while one of the anarchists was seen with blood streaming from a head wound.

Wearing a black baggy woollen hat and with a small group of friends, Brand waved and gave the thumbs-up to fellow demonstrators.

He said: 'I always come to these kind of things, I'm very interested. I am interested in learning and interested in why these people have come to this.

'I wonder what alternatives there are and I think it makes people cogent of them. I think it's also very beautiful.'


Hundreds of demonstrators concealed their identities


The protesters included hundreds of hardened anarchists

There were scuffles in sections of the crowd as a small group of masked protesters confronted police, but the protests were largely peaceful.

Thousands of officers shepherded protesters carrying banners proclaiming 'Balls to the Banks' and 'Punish the looters' and carrying effigies of the four horsemen of the apocalypse.

Businesses surrounding the Bank were boarded up and dozens of officers guarded each entrance as the protesters congregated outside.

Former financial worker Caroline Carter, 49, from Chertsey in Surrey, wore a T-shirt with a picture of Home Secretary Jacqui Smith and the word 'traitor'.

She said: 'Believe you me, this is going to get a lot worse by the end of this year.
'I suggest the bankers give up some of their pensions and give something back to the community.'

Police officers run as anti capitalist and climate change activists gather

Christine Hickey, 64, from Sutton, Surrey, said: 'I'm just fed-up with the bankers who've got away with taking all this money.

'People are losing jobs and their homes and I'm fed-up with it.

'I'm not here with anyone today but wanted to come along to show my support. It all seems good-natured.'

Standing near Cannon Street railway station, musician and political activist Billy Bragg said people just want to make a difference.

He said: 'It's better than sitting down shouting at the television at these bankers. We cannot go back to the way things were before to the million-dollar bonus culture.

'Bankers' bonuses should be taxed at 90 per cent like in America. We feel frustration and we hope to send a message today that we are very angry.


Protestors in a Saracen armoured car were pulled over by police on Bishopsgate. They were questioned and allowed to carry on their way

Confrontation: Police hold back demonstrators determined to reach the bank


Not angry: Russell Brand joins the thousands of people who flocked to central London to take part in the protests

'We need them to know that people are not going to sit back and let this continue happening to us.'

Bragg said he would be singing a song at a protest meeting later today titled The World Turned Upside Down.

Outside the bank, missiles - including fruit - were thrown towards police as red smoke rose above the crowd.

IT worker Nathan Dean, 35, from Bromley in south east London, said he lost his job three weeks ago and fears that in the current climate he will not be able to find another.

'Every job I apply for there's already 150 people who have also applied,' he said.
'I have had to sign on to the dole for the first time in my life.'

The IT worker said his primary reason for attending the march was excessive bank charges for going overdrawn.


Police control protesters outside the Bank of England. A hard core of Italian anarchists turned up at the demo


Confrontation: Officers did not wear riot gear for the operation


A protester outside Bank underground station during the G20 protests

'You end up having to pay your mortgage on your credit card and you fall into debt twice over.'

From just after 11am the 'four horsemen' headed marches to the Bank from Moorgate, Liverpool Street, Cannon Street and London Bridge.

At Liverpool Street, a medical worker who did not wish to be named, called for 'clean capitalism'.

He said: 'We need clean capitalism. Capitalism only works if people don't take more out than they need.'

He added: 'I am a family man. I design medical devices, I'm here by myself - I am not part of any group. And to be honest, I'm not sure this will make any difference. The same people will still be in power.'

'But at some point you have to take a stand and I could not stand by any more and do nothing.

'Maybe someone somewhere will listen to my little voice and I will make a little difference.'

At Moorgate, unemployed Adam Lambert, 25, of Finsbury Park, north London, from Stop the War Coalition, said the G20 leaders were 'not representing the ordinary people in the world'.

He accused police of wrongly portraying the demonstrators as 'incredibly violent'.

He said: 'We think they are representing the rich. Every day we hear of billions being given to bankers and billions are being spent on wars.

'We want to demonstrate today to say we are not going to put up with this and the G20 should represent us.'

'I think people are angry and they want to show their anger.'

Masked demonstrators said police tried to remove their bandanas.

One 16-year-old boy from east London said: 'The police told me I'm not allowed to hide my identity.

'They said I had given the impression that I was about to cause anti-social behaviour. They took my bandana off me.'

City of London Police look on as the G20 'carnival' kicks off this afternoon

Police clash with protesters outside the Bank of England

Police clash with protesters outside the Bank of England

Roger Little, 27, an administration worker from Birmingham, said he travelled overnight with four friends to join the day of protest.

He said: 'I am not a member of any of the groups represented today but I felt compelled to come down.

'We are going to march with a noisy protest in the middle of the City to show the people that are benefiting most from this system that we are not going to put up with it.

'It's also symbolic against the G20 summit because they always stick up for the interest of the rich and powerful.

'We want not just to have our voice but ideally to stop them and shut them down through sheer weight of numbers.'

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