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The BBC's Emma Massey
"Insurance companies are not overly worried"
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Clive Martin, Lord Mayor of the City of London
"We're concerned about safety"
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Friday, 28 April, 2000, 09:20 GMT 10:20 UK
London braced for protests

Police are hoping that protests will be peaceful
A four-day protest against global capitalism is beginning in London with police preparing for the possibility of violence on the capital's streets.

Numerous organised and unofficial events are expected to take place on Friday and over the Bank Holiday weekend culminating in what is expected to be a mass demonstration on 1 May in the heart of Westminster.

The Metropolitan Police has indicated that leave has been cancelled for all uniformed officers in London and the City of London police.

The City of London witnessed chaos in June last year when anti-capitalism protests erupted into violence. There was further rioting in November during a day of action against the World Trade Organisation.



Police: Planning to keep watch
One of the biggest events this time is expected to be the "Guerrilla Gardening" action taking place on 1 May in Parliament Square, organised by groups including Reclaim the Streets.

Speaking to the BBC, a spokesman for Reclaim the Streets who wished only to be identified as "Mark" said that the protests aimed to celebrate and promote alternative lifestyles which did not depend on the capitalist system.

But he warned that he could not guarantee that the "leaderless" demonstrations would not be marred by violence.

"Guerilla gardening is a concept looking at how our cities work and how grey and run down they are.

"It's about taking back open spaces, taking back derelict open space and greening it. It's a choice between a car park and a garden.

Turning to fears of violence, "Mark" said that the police could prove "very provocative" during such demonstrations and that the organisers did not have the resources to weed out those who may seek confrontation with authorities.

But Clive Martin, Lord Mayor of the City of London, warned that the protests could see a repeat of last June's violence.

"I am very concerned. There should be no damage to property or violence.

"We should keep in perspective that there are people who want to have demonstrations and that is part of a democracy."

On Friday cyclists - members of the group Cyclists Have A Right To Move (Charm) - will leave from Waterloo Bridge to protest against pollution and congestion on roads.

Another group of protesters will set off for an "anarchist themed" tour of the East End of London.

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See also:

01 Dec 99 | UK
From carnival to chaos
21 Jun 99 | UK Politics
City violence premeditated - Straw
18 Jun 99 | The Economy
Debt activists target City
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