October Bulletin

  • 17 Oct 2017 15:09

UK and Ireland Civil Unrest and Activism Bulletin


Activism Review

Throughout September, a large majority of protest activity has centred around the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEi) exhibition at the London ExCel arena, Docklands, which took place between 12-15 September. The event attracted protests from multiple groups including London Palestinian Action and Wake Up London. Protesters’ tactics included blocking highways with sleeping dragon devices to chain themselves together, causing hours-long delays, leading to the arrest of 102 people as they sought to block the entrance to the arena. Animal rights protests also occurred during the same month, notably on 2 September, when animal rights group Surge organised for thousands of activists to march to the Houses of Parliament to protest against animal oppression, stopping traffic at Hyde Park Corner. The four-day Conservative Party Conference in October has prompted series of organised protests by anti-austerity groups in the beginning of October. Attendance will be high, with some 50,000 in attendance, to protest against austerity measures and Brexit. Previous Conservative conferences have seen high levels of verbal abuse and physical intimidation of delegates, including egg throwing and allegations of spitting.

Activism Analysis

Protest activity during the beginning of October is focused on the four day Conservative Party Conference set to take place in Manchester from 1-4 October. Most notably, the anti-austerity group, the People’s Assembly Against Austerity, along with anti-Brexit groups are holding protests on 1 October in Manchester to coincide with the start of the conference. The actions will take place in the city centre, triggering multiple road closures and public transport delays as participants gather in their thousands. Additional security measures will be implemented during the protest including deploying armed police across the city centre and also implementing concrete blocks on roads and other crowd control measures. Scuffles between groups of hard-line anti-austerity protesters and police are likely, although these will cause minimal disruption. Elsewhere, a march organised by the Football Lads Alliance against Islamist extremism will take place in central London on 7 October. Social media platforms indicate some 30,000 people will attend the march, although the figure will likely be lower, with support likely coming from right-wing groups. The march will likely attract counter-protests by left wing groups including Stand Up to Racism, which has a planned march in London for the same day, along with scuffles between opposing groups.

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