The 1st global street party
Tens of thousands of people around the world participated in the Global Street Party against globalization on May 16. A sampling of actions elsewhere: Geneva, Switzerland 4000 people wearing costumes and carrying flags and banners wound through the streets attacking banks, jewelry shops and local branches of McDonalds in an effort to Reclaim the Streets from global capitalism. Riot police stopped the demonstration from reaching the world headquarters of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Professor Swamy from the Indian Karnataka State Farmers Association addressed the crowd at the barricade The WTO kills people; we must kill the WTO. Moments later, a Mercedes limousine was overturned, sending a flutter of diplomatic papers into the air. The street party raged at a main intersection into the night.
Prague, Czechoslovakia Over 3,000 people spontaneously marched from the RTS street party to block Prague’s main road after a street party which featured 4 sound systems, 20 DJs, puppet shows, drums, live music, fire performances, etc. Without warning, riot police attached the crowd, starting a riot that lasted hours. Up to 100 people were arrested and severely beaten, 22 police were hospitalized, 3 McDonalds restaurants and a KFC were trashed, 6 cop cars destroyed. One RTS organizer was later arrested and may be facing 2 years in jail. Email letters of support to Slavomir Tesarek, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Toronto, Canada About 500 people reclaimed a major downtown street for an hour with dancing, puppets, drumming, children drawing chalk pictures on the street and balloons until police with knives and horses waded into the celebration to pop the balloons (!) and arrest a number of party-goers. Four were charged with crimes including one who suffered a broken arm, apparently in police custody.
Sydney, Australia About 4,000 people reclaimed the streets in the largest RTS event yet in Australia. The party featured 3 stages (Rock, Central Techno and Hip-Hop/Raggae/Dub), 25 foot tall tripods blocking the street, carpets, sofas, food fundraiser, skateboard rail, five terminal sidewalk internet station, sandstone sculptors, poets, fire twirlers, street gardeners, recycling and RTS supplied rubbish bins. Police were on hand but didn’t stop the party. Berlin, Germany Over 1000 people, in three groups, some on bikes, came together in the center of Berlin at the same moment for Berlin RTS. The party blocked a road crossing with a huge soundsystem, a drum group, furniture, etc. The party included dancing, drinking, volleyball, chess and artistical stuff. Because of media reaction to police violence on May Day, only 3 people were arrested and only a handful hit by cops. The police were taken by surprise by the protest.
Tel Aviv, Israel About 500 people reclaimed a major road with a rave and mobile sound system in a van. The party had a police permit to be near the location of the party and when they poured into the street, the cops were powerless to stop them.
Turku, Finland About 2000 people, marching from different locations, joined up to reclaim a city block of road in the central city, including one of the main bridges over the river. An advance action group blocked the street before the marches arrived. Banners and flags hung from the bridge and the police didn’t interfere: no problem with your illegal demo, but please a big less volume.
Utrecht, Netherlands 800 people blocked a six land highway with a street rave and a wild dance party for about five hours. The police didn’t interfere and even helped set-up the generator for the sound system. Valencia, Spain About 300 people reclaimed the Streets for 5 hours. First, we thought to take the market square, in the traffic-polluted heart of the city. But this wasn’t possible, only for half an hour, because the police isn’t a body which is made to dance. Later the party moved throughout the city, blocking streets and visiting the Virgin Mary at the Cathedral, who also didn’t dance.
York, UK 250 people blockaded the street, drummed and listened to a bike powered sound system.
Brisbane, Australia Police, some on horses, arrested a number of people, seized the sound system and towed it away, but the street party proceeded with drumming and whistling.
Ljubljana, Slovenia About 40 people reclaimed the streets with a Critical Mass ride. The group had such a good time that more rides were planned for the rest of the summer.
Tallinn, Estonia 50 cyclists and pedestrians blocked a 6 lane road where a cross-walk had been removed the previous year and replaced by fences, requiring bikers and pedestrians to walk half a mile to cross the road. Their banner red Kellele kiirteed, kellele piirded (Some get highways, others get fences). Lyon, France 200 people with costumes, bikes, signs and a float marched through the streets before blocking a road with a tripod. Police forced the crowd off the street into a park, where people danced and splashed in a fountain.
Stockholm, Sweden People with drums and flags marched through the streets for an hour and then danced in a park. The anarchists of Stockholm were more colorful than ever before.
Birmingham, UK London RTS, which called the Global Street Party, organized May 16′s largest party at the site of the G8 international meeting of world leaders. 8,000 people, some dressed as clowns with cream pies, reclaimed a traffic circle for several hours near the G8 meeting to laugh in the face of global capitalism. Ha Ha Ha. A huge kite with the names of other cities hosting street parties flew above the festivities. Police in riot gear were more obnoxious than at past RTS gatherings and one of them got a pie in the face for their efforts. A car abandoned in the midst of the gathering was flipped and trashed but, after much discussion, not set alight. Thanks to London RTS for organizing an amazing international outpouring of rage. When was the last time an international protest of this scale happened with such a minimal amount of work and central bureaucracy? The only question now is: when is the next schedule and how many cities will have parties next time?