Monday, 24 August 2009

Biggest gathering of green activists - but where will it be?

Paul Lewis, Sunday 23 August 2009 19.58 BST
A patch of land at an undisclosed site near London will host a green gathering this week as thousands of climate change activists receive text message alerts about the location of what is likely to be this year's largest environmental demonstration.
The Climate Camp starts at noon on Wednesday, when activists leave 10 gathering points around the capital and head for the site, whose location has so far been kept secret from the police.
The Met is expected to send officers to each of the meeting points to pursue the protesters, who have promised "twists, turns, sneaking and outreaching" across the city.
The camp itself, which could be anywhere, from one of the capital's parks to the grounds of what activists believe is a carbon-polluting company, is principally seen as a chance to prepare for direct action against coal-based energy in October.
According to one report yesterday, activists have a list of more than 20 establishments that could become a target this week. They include the Treasury, the government's business and enterprise department, E.ON, the Bank of England, the stock exchange, BP, and Heathrow and London City airports.
Senior officers have held five meetings with protesters to prepare for the event, which has been promoted on sites such as Facebook and Twitter, saying they intend to use "community-style" policing to avoid a repetition of their controversial handling of protests during the G20 summit. The Met has activated its own Twitter account, CO11MetPolice, to spread information on its operation.
There is a growing feeling within the Climate Camp network that the controversy over the policing of protests has detracted from the central issue of trying to avert climate change.