An eventful second day to the G8 Ministerial meeting in Sheffield.
Thursday's main events included:
An all-day Counter Conference at the convergence space, which also hosts the Indymedia Centre, court appearances for people arrested on Wednesday, a protest outside the Cathedral, the Make Poverty History Rice Meal, with an attendant sit-down protest and an ensuing penning in of protestors in and around West Street. More details are in the "Read more..." section of the article and from the links below.
Today the alternative Counter Conference has been running, more tomorrow, at the convergence space. Sessions have included workshops from Make Borders History, Sheffield NO2ID and such topics as Rethinking Security. The evening is due to end with films from Beyond TV.
At 2pm the third person to be arrested last night appeared in court charged with spitting and recieved a £25 fine, £20 court costs and a three-day city centre ban. A second person was bailed to appear in court at a later date pending a decision by the police to prosecute on an additional charge. In both cases the police sought bail conditions that would restrict travel to Scotland for the G8. In both cases the Magistrate did not agree to this. The third person has yet to appear in court.
In the late afternoon six or seven people left the convergence centre with two banners for the city centre towards the Cutlers Hall to join the Stop the War Coalition. Turned away from this demon as police said there too many protestors. They stayed on the street handing out flyers with music in tow. Other people couldn't join the STWC demo so joined in. Numbers swelled as they went down West Street -- to over 50 in total. A joint RoRs and Sheffield Samba Band contingent joined and made their way towards Devonshire Green.
During the Rice Meal at around 8:30pm, after Sheffield Socialist Choir and during a performance by Rhythms of Resistance Sheffield, a group of demonstrators held a sit-down protest on a road adjacent to Devonshire Green -- a Rice in the Road action. Numbering around 50 [and under the watchful eyes of the inhabitants of a group of ten nearby riot vans] and to a samba accompaniment the sitters sat for 45 minutes before moving off towards West Street.
One particpant describes being encircled by the police on Westfield Terrace: "Later in the evening when people tried to get down the road off West Street, prior to being surrounded; the first few people down the street report being met by charging police horses. People report police trying to grab them by the throat and being particulary heavy. People were snatched with the pen. Lots of people were followed by police as they made their way to where ever they were going".
10pm protestors are penned in off Division Street, with the Samba band. Police snatch squads grabbed a few people, there have been six arrests. At 10:40pm protestors were being dispersed down Division Street.
At 10:45pm protestors are now back to being penned in on Devonshire Green. There are at least 500 police including mounted police. All junctions in the ares are blocked by police.A member of RoRS reported: "We were kettled for between an hour and an hour and a half, from just after 9 o'clock, just off West Street. They [including dogs] had us very securely surrounded... absolutely no chance of breaking through. We left when one lot of police started shoving us forward and squashing us into a smaller space, and then the police on the otherside finally opened up and we entered a crossroads off Devonshire Green."
By 11:00pm, participants reported that the endeavour was over and that folks were drifting away from Devonshire Green. In a conversation with South Yorkshire Police, an arrestee's partner was told: "that protesters being held at Bridge Street Police Station and [I] was advised to ring back in one hour when all, (implying there were many) protesters would be processed."