Whew – the first Anti-G20 protest was far from the feared free-for-all, with only about half the expected number of protesters showing up …and thankfully, not a peep from the Black Bloc. The massive police presence along the route (1,200!) coupled with the wan attendance (5,000 max) worked out to around one officer for every 4 militants… who were a benign lot to begin with, with grey hairs outnumbering dreadlocks by 10 to 1.
The city thought of everything: there was a total absence of tempting cars and trash bins to torch, all capitalist symbols (read: banks) were boarded up beyond recognition, and at every intersection there was a police barricade with water tanks in case a cold hosedown was needed.
Despite the heavy-handed precautions, the ambiance was light-hearted, even fun, and a healthy expression of opposition. Some of the highlights were the Tax Robin Hoods who did a mass strip tease down to their feathered green hats, and pink haired clowns dancing in front of the police barricades. The one lowlight was an arrest of a guy on a balcony that yelled threats to ‘smoke’ the police, and when the police entered his apartment they found arms and homemade bombs. The only other arrests so far were a group from Spain sporting Black Bloc related t-shirts and arm bands that were stopped near the airport, and sure enough, had a trunk full of violent paraphernalia and ski masks.
All of Nice seemed to breathe a sigh of relief last night …but don’t let your guard down yet: surprise flashmob-style protests have been promised over the next few days, and at the 2000 Summit, the first day also went peacefully before violence broke out the following afternoon when radicals attacked a bank on rue Barla.
In the meantime, while drums were beating in Nice, Cannes was being locked down tight as a drum…
Nice-Matin: Des milliers d’altermondialists defile a Nice
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