Thousands of people dressed in Guy Fawkes masks in Trafalgar Square are met by ‘significant policing operation’, including thousands of extra officers to tackle expected unrest
Damien has been shooting some video of his own:
A large number of riot police head to Westminster bridge as protester shout: it's a trap! #MillionMaskMarch pic.twitter.com/EZ13NTduxJ
Nice vantage point for journalist Luke Dray:
All kicking off #MillionMaskMarch pic.twitter.com/uo5UZqqHjx
There was a sudden surge of activity around half an hour into the march, as several protesters at the front near Parliament Square broke off from the agreed route and ran towards the Churchill War Rooms near Great George Street, a short distance from Conservative Party headquarters, which were closed off.
A line of police and mounted officers formed a barrier against the densely packed protesters, some of them screaming about inequality. Those who could get their arms above their waist held phones aloft.
A couple of stray bottles were thrust over the barriers towards officers, which was met with cheers and chants of “Shame on you, we’re human too”.
A video of protesters outside Downing Street:
Outside Downing Street for the #MillionMaskMarch #Nov5th pic.twitter.com/mOVkVdDuqq
This is England after all...
A very British banner on #MillionMaskMarch pic.twitter.com/gYhtbW0K6j
A video from the scene:
Police have been pushed about 20 yards back #MillionMaskMarch pic.twitter.com/k5CwO3uEr4
Looks like protesters are going off piste...
Participants of #MillionMaskMarch #London have now gathered at Great George Street, corner of Parliament Square #Nov5th
Seems that police have a laser scroller and they’re gonna use it...
A warning is being broadcast on the side of the national gallery with a laser #MillionMaskMarch pic.twitter.com/DcVWTqn2ip
One protester, who gave her name as Lola, told Press Association she had travelled from Hull: “There are people who aren’t represented, they should be here. I am the people,” she said.
“I said I was coming down here and people said OK, but they deny it. They don’t want to face the truth. They are brainwashed and they fill their body with dead energy.
“The media twist it. We are peaceful, we are doing this in a peaceful manner, but the media focus on the 1% who cause trouble.”
Glad she’s cleared that up for us.
Ben Pruchnie is covering the protest tonight for Getty Images:
The Metropolitan Police said that three men were arrested this afternoon after officers on patrol in Trafalgar Square saw them acting suspiciously. They found the men carrying items including knives, smoke and paint grenades, gas canisters and lock picks. The three men, aged 38, 55 and 50, were arrested on suspicion of being in possession of offensive weapons and are being held in custody at a central London police station.
Another tweet from Damien on the scene:
Probably several hundred #MillionMaskMarch protesters in Trafalgar Square so far pic.twitter.com/uCeRkbPj8A
Damien Gayle tweets from Trafalgar Square:
Riot Police stationed on Charing Cross road for #MillionMaskMarch London pic.twitter.com/V6jtHS6ev8
Reuters photographer Peter Nicholls is one of the many journalists reporting from Trafalgar Square tonight.
There’s a live stream from a protester at Trafalgar Square here.
Jason RockDodger Sangster has posted this video on Facebook of the crowds gathering in Trafalgar Square tonight.
Damien is off to Trafalgar Square to report on the rally, so Chris Johnston here taking over the live blog.
I called out on the Million Mask March London Facebook page asking people for the reasons why they were attending. Setting aside the bunfight over mainstream media, the most articulate and complete response came from Keith Brady. He said:
I won’t be attending, but you want reasons? Jobs are down, educational standards are down, industry is down, public and national services are down, everything’s being sold off, taxes are being increased or diverted elsewhere and investments in infrastructure are being reduced to practically nothing by the greedy ba*ds the people who attend are there to protest too. Even the poverty stricken unemployed, who are stuggling to live on benefits they are often sanctioned on, still pay taxes on products we buy to survive with, so why is it being claimed they’re such a massive drain? Answer the question why NOT march? It’s much tougher to answer
Here’s a segment from the TV news featuring Ch Supt Peppa Mills explaining why the Met has imposed such stringent conditions on tonight’s Million Mask March demonstration.
Conditions imposed upon #MillionMaskMarch #London #Nov5th Updates from @MetPoliceEvents https://t.co/kdc1WBtApx https://t.co/2IBNijEU2c
It’s absolutely essential that the police are able to balance the needs of those who want to protest peacefully with those who live, work and visit London. Over the last three years, we’ve seen people going about their daily business seriously intimidated and disrupted by these protesters at this event.
The Million Mask March is not the only place that will see anti-authoritarian hi-jinks this evening. A giant effigy of a naked David Cameron with a pig’s head resting in his lap is to be set alight at the Lewes Bonfire night celebrations.
David Cameron ready for Lewes bonfire pic.twitter.com/BXiDS9ZpO6
Images of the surreal sculpture, depicting the prime minister perched on a golden chair clasping the animal head, have circulated on social media before Thursday’s event in the East Sussex town.
The wooden structure alludes to claims made in an unauthorised biography of Cameron that he had put a “private part of his anatomy” into a dead pig’s head as part of a university dining club initiation ritual.
Related: Effigy of David Cameron and pig's head to burn at Lewes Bonfire night display
The Metropolitan police has imposed strict conditions for tonight’s demonstration. This tweet shows what restrictions are in place.
Reminder of conditions for the #MillionMaskMarch in London For further details: https://t.co/BKcsfUxLs8 #5thnov pic.twitter.com/nxQA1hwuuj
There are unconfirmed reports of a heavy police presence at Trafalgar Square and claims that people arriving early are being arrested.
Warning, anons are being arrested for turning up early. Need to arrange amongst yourselves to meet in pubs then ascend all together at 5
Thousands of protesters are expected to gather in Trafalgar Square tonight, with Westminster the focus for the now annual Million Mask March, a worldwide event on Bonfire night that is organised through the Anonymous hackers’ collective.
So far about 18,000 people indicated on Facebook that they plan to attend the demonstration, where protesters don Guy Fawkes masks in an effort to recreate the closing scenes of the cult comic book-cum-movie V For Vendetta.
We will always facilitate peaceful protest and have a strong history of doing so. However, over the last few this event has seen high levels of anti-social behaviour, crime and disorder.
This year we have strong reason to believe that peaceful protest is the last thing on the minds of many of the people who will come along.
We have seen the abuses and malpractice of this government, and governments before it, we have seen the encroaching destruction of many civil liberties we hold dear, we have seen the pushes to make the internet yet another part of the surveillance state, we have seen the government’s disregard for migrants, for the poor, the elderly and the disabled, we have seen the capital, profit and greed of the few put before the well-being of the many and we say enough is enough.
We invite all the activists, the workers, the students, all doctors, nurses and all those that want to see a positive change in the world, to join us, in Trafalgar Square from 6pm, November 5th. The government and the 1% have played their hand, now it is time to play ours. Continue reading...