In 2005 the G8 met in Scotland. A few days before the summit itself many protesters made their way to Dungavel, Scotland’s detention centre.
Respecting the Right to Protest – Exactly Where Did This Happen?
Tuesday Morning. Meet in George Square to get the bus to the protest at Dungavel –Scotland’s concentration camp. There was already a large police contingent in the square. What they were expecting us to do I have no idea.
On the bus we began to wonder why it was taking longer than it should have to get there. The police had put in a number of diversions and actually had ‘Road Closed’ signs in a lot of places. We considered stopping the bus and removing them, as it was nothing more than a tactic to ensure less people got to Dungavel.
When we arrived people were whispering to each other that the police were trying to provoke an incident so that they had an excuse to cancel the following days protest at Gleneagles (more to follow on this). People were also telling each other not to take the bait and to save it for Wednesday at Gleneagles itself.
It certainly felt like the police were attempting to scare people. There was a line of horses at the back of the car park where we were congregated. Police, some of whom had dogs,were standing a foot or so apart right around the area we were standing and they ringed us in. Mark Brown made a speech early on…something along the lines of “we’re all animal lovers here; we like dogs and horses but can I say to the police that if they want to take their horses for a trot could they look out for all the kids that are around.” I got the feeling if he hadn’t said this then something fairly bad would have happened. There were also reinforcements in a field just out of sight of where the protestors were standing.
As the day went on a whole group of protestors were surrounded and not allowed up to the detention centre. No explanations were given. A hundred or so protestors came back out of the stage area down to the entrance to see what was going on. After holding them back for about 20 minutes for no apparent reason at all they let them go.
Soon after this Rosie Kane arrived on stage and told of one of the buses which was stopped (not hers). She left her bus and found that everyone on the bus which had been stopped was having their name and address taken and they were about to be individually photographed by the police. They were told if they did not comply the bus would be turned round and sent back to Edinburgh. Other buses were given the run-around with dodgy directions and diverted traffic signs.
At the end of the demo people joined up and marched out together with one last message before going back to their buses. No borders, No nations, Stop deportations. Unsurprisingly, the roadblocks and diversions were gone and the journey back was not subject to searches or harassment.
The only reason I can think of for this behaviour is that the police were either A- afraid of another Woomera – which is unlikely as they had moved all the prisoners out (see Ska TV’s excellent film about Woomera here http://www.archive.org/details/skatvWoomeraRegugeebreakout – after downloading it you need to change the file name for some reason) or B- they were trying to provoke an incident in order to have an excuse to cancel the demo at Gleneagles – which they tried to do anyway – but they didn’t have an excuse! Gleneagles in next blog.
The intimidation that day was something to behold.
This is the audio from the protest.