Hundreds riot police Londons streets officers raid squat HQ G8 protesters

verletzter vom dach

-Officers bundled man to ground after a precarious rooftop confrontation
-He appeared to be bleeding but was later reported to be in a stable condition and detained under mental health act
-They moved in to try to disrupt any violence at the 'Carnival Against Capitalism' held yesterday
-Kick-starts week of protests ahead of meeting of the G8 nations in Northern Ireland next week
-Police raided HQ of Stop G8 in Soho, whose members were squatting inside disused police station
-Officers forced their way into to the building using angle-grinders and dragged away at least 40 squatters
-Scuffles broke out in London streets with 1,200 officers on patrol, 200 protesters and 57 arrests made

This is the dramatic moment a man almost leapt to his death at a protest in London yesterday.

High on a rooftop, he dashed for the edge of a building occupied by  G8 demonstrators in a stand-off with hundreds of riot police.

He was stopped from plunging more than 60ft by specialist officers, who pulled him away and on to the ground.

The life-or-death moment came in a demonstration that turned into the Siege of Soho as a handful of protesters intent on disrupting next week’s G8 summit in Northern Ireland began their campaign in London.


Officers in riot gear swamped streets around a disused police station after a group of hard-liners set up their ‘Stop the G8’ headquarters there.

The drama unfolded out of sight of demonstrators five storeys below after officers in abseiling gear gained access to the roof. Not long afterwards, police stormed the building from ground level.

The man, thought to be in his 20s, is seen perilously close to one edge of the building above Beak Street, clinging to a chimney stack. He appears to argue with police – then dashes for the other edge.

Two officers secured by ropes manage to grab him inches from the drop. His right foot is extended over the edge before they throw him to safety and more officers pile in to restrain him. He is seen bleeding heavily from a head wound before being carried to an ambulance.

In the building, police found drink and drugs among banners protesters planned to use in the so-called ‘Carnival against Capitalism’ planned for this week.

Last night as protests continued across the West End, the rooftop activist was detained under the Mental Health Act.

The Metropolitan Police, still smarting from a widely criticised performance at the last G8 riots – and reacting to  internet threats to attack landmarks – turned out in full force. 

At the Beak Street police station, an hours-long stand-off ended only when a squad broke down a door with angle-grinders.

Meanwhile clutches of demonstrators marauded around Piccadilly, Regent Street and Leicester Square, forcing police to deploy more officers.

Mission accomplished? Perhaps. As one officer at the Carnaby Street end of Beak Street observed: ‘If we weren’t here, all hell would be breaking loose.’

So maybe a massive policing bill, or the cost of repairing riot-damaged cars and buildings, is a fair trade-off for all those traffic jams, missed appointments and inconvenience. But according to protesters, there is much more of this to come.

Of an estimated 200 protesters, police made at least 32 arrests. 

German, French, Dutch, Belgian and Spanish squatters were among 50 people evicted from the police station.

Construction workers next door said the first of them arrived three days ago. Websites declared the squat a headquarters, at the centre of so much decadence (or, as some call it, commerce). 

Yesterday morning – fired up on Twitter, Facebook and email – demonstrators converged. Banners unfurled; marshals and legal advisers turned up in fluorescent gilets; a loud hailer directed the throng and advised on citizens’ rights.

If protesters envisaged claiming Beak Street as their own, however, they were quickly disappointed. The Metropolitan Police (they check the internet too, apparently) arrived in such numbers that from most angles it was impossible to see anything beyond a sea of blue riot helmets. For most of the day police vans outnumbered black cabs by about 20 to one. Some even came by bus.

‘This is what happens in a police state!’ a demonstrator screamed from behind a barrier. ‘No it ain’t mate,’ a Soho shop-owner said. ‘In a police state, they’d shoot you.’  No-one saw armed officers but they did arrive with a fearsome array of anti-protest equipment. 

‘Who are those guys?’ a protester inquired as a dozen or so RoboCop types in armour came past, saying ‘Excuse me please’ as they picked a path through the multitude. 

‘That’s the smash-the-door-down squad,’ a chatty copper replied, without a trace of a smile. Minutes later, there was the whine of a mechanical cutter, a bang and the sight of a single protester trying to raise a V-sign as he (or she) was carried out. Half a dozen eggs were thrown as the squad went in some four hours after the demo started. 

Elsewhere, police used special stop and search powers to invite likely suspects to turn out the contents of their rucksacks. Startled tourists halted in wonder as yellow-jacket police pursued about 50 breakaway protesters past startled al fresco diners.

A few headed back to Beak Street, where office workers and Soho residents hung from windows and balconies to watch the show.


Later around two dozen protesters gathered outside the BP headquarters in St James's Square, amid a heavy police presence. 

At least 57 arrests had been made for alleged offences including possession of articles with intent to commit criminal damage, assault on police, criminal damage, possession of an offensive weapon and failing to remove a face covering. 

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: 'Officers attended an address in Beak Street with a search warrant relating to intelligence that individuals at the address were in possession of weapons and were intent on causing criminal damage and engaging in violent disorder.'

According to workers on the street, the protesters had been openly smoking drugs, drinking and fighting since arriving last Friday.

John Emmerson, 32, who works a few doors down on Beak Street, said the squatters clashed with a group of suited men on Friday evening. He said they were openly smoking cannabis and drinking lager, becoming aggressive if approached by locals.

He said: 'They got here around 4 o clock on Friday about maybe seven of them. Almost straight away there was a fight between them and around five guys wearing suits.

'I don't know what it was over but it was a fair old tussle with punches thrown and everything.


'Since then maybe 50 or so more have come, though it is hard to tell because it is such a massive building. On Friday they were smoking weed on the street and drinking lager, becoming quite rowdy actually.

'They would always have one or two outside keeping watch and a couple on the roof wearing masks. The guys on the roof were always shouting at you if you looked at them. They looked off their heads most of the time to be honest, on drugs.'

Shocked tourists reacted with fear after anti-capitalist demonstrators staged the roving demonstration.

Italian Alfio Gangeni told how he became ‘frightened for his children’ after he stumbled into noisy protests on Regents Street.

Mr Gangeni, 35, from Catania, in Sicily, said: ‘what is all this protesting for, what’s the point? ‘I did not expect London to be like this. I am frightened for my daughter, she is only two-years old.’

A Saudi visitor who gave her name as Fatima asked: 'What’s going on? 

'Why are there so many police? Is there going to be any shooting?’

Students from some of London's most prestigious universities were among the throng of protesters which also included contingents from Germany, Spain and elsewhere in Europe who had travelled to London specifically to take part in the protests.

At one point several protesters gleefully pointed to the front cover of the Evening Standard newspaper which showed dozens of riot police at the demonstration.

Among the protesters was self-styled anarchist Adam Barr, 21, a Chinese and history student at SOAS University, who said: 'Obviously today is a G8 protest.

'We are protesting against globalisation and the capitalist system which clearly isn't working. This is one of the ways of getting our voices heard. The disruption is not ideal, but this is one of the only ways to get our message out to people.

'My parents are pretty left wing so they don't mind me protesting; they just don't want me to get arrested. There is a big SOAS contingent here, around 15 people.'

Retired scaffolder Ian Lewis, 66, from Crystal Palace in south east London, said: 'I want to see the overthrow of capitalism.

'The G8 sees the biggest leaders from all over the world come together, they are a bunch of b******s who ruin society and we need to get rid of them.

'I was in Beak Street, it was real overkill, around 300 coppers burst in on around 10 people having tea.

'I've been to a bunch of the meetings in the Soho squat. This protest is leaderless, people have come from all over Europe - Spain, all over.'

Meanwhile on surrounding streets protesters were involved in scuffles with police, with some being put in cuffs and dragged away.

Metropolitan Police commander Neil Basu said around 1,200 officers had been involved in Operation Hemingway, which he described as a 'proportionate' response to the protests.

He said: 'We had some protests and disorder in London but we were anticipating that there would be protests this week.

'I think we have behaved proportionately and we have used the tactics that we know have been effective in the past.'

He added: 'What we want to do is help people protest peacefully and within the bounds of the law. It is only when people step outside of that that police have to use their powers to prevent crime and disorder - that's what the public pays us for.'

He said officers were deployed at fixed sites known as 'protest magnets' as part of the operation.

'I am incredibly proud to live in a country where your right is for peaceful protest," he said. 'If people come and speak to us we can organise and help you plan a peaceful protest within the bounds of the law.

'If you decide to step outside the law, our core job is to prevent crime and disorder, that's what you have seen us doing today.'


She said police had tried to approach the organisers of the protests but had received no response, adding: 'We have sought to engage with protest groups who were proposing action around G8 through our Police Liaison Teams but at this stage no groups or individuals have engaged with us. 

'We would continue to ask anyone who wants to protest in London around the G8 Summit to contact us so that we can work with them and facilitate peaceful protest.

'As part of our engagement we have met with key business representatives in Central London and the City to advise them about how best to prepare their staff, their premises and how to deal with protest in their business premises should it happen.'

There were skirmishes around Oxford Street, and police had prevented an attempt by the G8 protesters to occupy Piccadilly Circus.

A line of officers dressed in riot gear formed a line across Piccadilly as the marchers approached from the west. After a brief scuffle the protesters turned around and ran into Soho via Air Street as bewildered shoppers looked on.


'Humanity is spiraling towards extinction,' yelled one protester, who identified himself only as Silvester. 'We are facing the biggest crisis ever. We oppose governments and corporations. And the G8 is emblematic of all that.'

 Powers to stop and search in anticipation of violence and to require the removal of disguises were authorised this morning and remain in force.

A Home Office spokesman said: 'Peaceful protest is a vital part of a democratic society, providing it is conducted within the law. But protesters' rights need to be balanced with the rights of others to go about their business without fear of intimidation or serious disruption to the community.

'Rights to peaceful protest do not extend to violent or threatening behaviour and the police have powers to deal with any such acts.'

Outside Fortnum and Mason, police blocked access, because the historic shop was targeted during protests against Government cuts in 2011.


They acted because demonstrators had threatened to target 'capitalist targets' including banks, hotels and other businesses. Riot vans and a strong police presence were deployed where protesters with banners had occupied the building on Beak Street in Soho.

Businesses in central London were reportedly warned to take precautions after similar protests in recent years led to violent clashes with riot police.

Last month, StopG8 issued a map of 100 potential targets, including hedge funds Man Group and Paulson, private equity firm Blackstone, banks such as Citi and Barclays and embassies including those of Saudi Arabia and the United States.

'Carnival will go ahead despite cops at Beak St. Don't let them intimidate us! See you 12 noon Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus,' StopG8 said on Twitter.

The group, which describes itself as an openly anti-capitalist network 'made up of autonomous groups and individuals', had refused to cooperate with police, meaning it was not clear how many people would attend, or where they would focus their attentions.

StopG8 has called for supporters to meet at noon at two locations in the heart of central London's main shopping district.


The activity after reports of a day of action ahead of the two-day summit in Northern Ireland next week. Police protection of landmark sites across Belfast has also been tightened in advance of the conference. 

Two protests against the G8 Summit are planned for Belfast on Saturday, just a day before many of the world leaders arrive in Northern Ireland for the political event.

The Northern Ireland Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions is asking people to attend the 'peaceful, dignified and yet loud and boisterous march and rally' in the city centre at lunchtime.

A second separate protest is planned for Botanic Gardens on Saturday. Thousands of security officers will be on patrol in Northern Ireland over the next week in anticipation of protests against the G8.

Trade unionists tonight warned troublemakers to stay away from protests against the G8.

Activists from Unite, Britain's biggest union and NIPSA which represents thousands of public sector workers in Northern Ireland said measures had been put in place to prevent demonstrations in Belfast and Fermanagh being hijacked by violent anti-capitalist thugs.

'If you are intent on trouble do not come near our demonstration. We won't allow this demonstration to be hijacked,' said Gary Mulcahy, a spokesman and co-ordinator for the G8 Not Welcome campaign.


U.S. President Barack Obama is to visit parts of Belfast ahead of the summit.

Westminster City Council cabinet member for city management Ed Argar said: 'Our warden teams will be working with police to manage the streets and we also have clean-up crews on standby. Everyone respects the right to legitimate protest and I hope this will be a day without incident.

'However, business people, shop staff and visitors have the right to go about the West End without intimidation or interference and we will do our best to ensure the centre of London runs smoothly.'