Anarchist groups plan takeover of Geldof's march as DJ attacks Live8 line-up as 'too white'

Click to follow
Indy Politics

Anarchists from around the world are planning to cause chaos at next month's G8 summit in Gleneagles as a row broke out last night between Bob Geldof and DJ Andy Kershaw over the absence of black musicians at events staged to benefit Africans.

With police fears mounting over Geldof's call for one million people to protest at the summit, Kershaw last night condemned the almost exclusively white line-up for the pop concerts to coincide with the summit. "If we are going to change the West's perception of Africa, events like this are the perfect opportunity to do something for Africa's self-esteem," he said. "But the choice of artists for the Live8 concerts will simply reinforce the global perception of Africa's inferiority."

Bob Geldof last week called on one million people to descend on Edinburgh on 6 July - a move branded irresponsible by city leaders and local police. Geldof's fellow campaigner, Midge Ure, later claimed the one million figure was "symbolic" and talks between the campaign groups and police appear to have resolved any potential problems for the march.

But The Independent on Sunday can reveal that anarchist groups that have rioted at previous G8 gatherings are planning similar disruptions in Scotland and plan to hijack Geldof's "long march to freedom" on 6 July and the Make Poverty History rally on 2 July. Anarchist groups will encourage protesters to "Make Capitalism History" instead.

Several organisations will meet at an undisclosed location in south-east England on Saturday to discuss plans to disrupt the G8 summit. These include a series of blockades and protests, which they hope will bring the event to a standstill.

Over the coming weeks teams of security experts are slowly turning the Gleneagles complex and the 850 acres of countryside surrounding it into a technological fortress. In addition to fears that militant anarchists could cause havoc there is also the recognition of just how tempting a target the summit could appear to the forces of terrorism.

Already work is well advanced on the construction of a steel perimeter of "ripper mesh" fencing, several miles long, which is intended to withstand an assault from rioters or terrorists. Arranged in triangular cages, more than 10,000 interlocking panels of the 6ft-high fencing have been erected around the hotel to provide an exclusion zone of almost a mile in diameter.

Police snipers on the roof, backed up by an SAS team on standby in the locality and military personnel armed with anti-aircraft weapons will present an umbrella of security around the complex.

While the threat from international terrorists is unknown, police are bracing themselves for a series of clashes with anarchists and anti-capitalist protesters.

A group called G8 Blockades is organising a series of blockades in the countryside surrounding Gleneagles "which aim to disrupt the functioning of the summit". On 4 July, campaigners are hoping thousands of demonstrators will converge on Faslane military base, home to Britain's nuclear Trident missiles, to "non-violently blockade" the base.

Also present at Gleneagles will be the White Overalls Movement Building Libertarian Effective Struggles - the Wombles. They have been at every global anti-capitalist demonstration since Prague in 2000 in their distinctive white overalls. They claim that the police are "trained to hurt people" and encourage their members to wear crash helmets, protect their torsos with cushions tied to their chests, and carry aluminium dustbin lids to use as shields.

The People's Golfing Association has also vowed to do its utmost to disrupt events. The organisation, which started in Canada but also has branches in Britain, claims that "the surreal bubble in which the elite have retreated will be punctured". "Golfers" from around the world are being encouraged to make their way to Gleneagles, preferably carrying golf clubs.

Travel to Scotland, however, may be tricky. Ironically, many anti-capitalists may be able to get there thanks only to the generosity of Sir Richard Branson. The Virgin tycoon has agreed to provide free trains and a special Virgin flight to Edinburgh in the week leading up to the march.