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Protester Andy Yates
"They want to label us as mindless thugs"
 real 28k

Saturday, 29 April, 2000, 18:06 GMT 19:06 UK
May Day riots 'not inevitable'
aftermath
The aftermath of last year's London protest
Anti-capitalist campaigners have denied violence is inevitable as they stage a weekend of protests in London.

Last summer's City of London protest descended into chaos, bringing devastation to the capital's financial centre and leaving protesters and police injured.

Police have cancelled all leave as they prepare for the protest on Monday, called Mayday2K.

They fear it could culminate in violence, with activists targeting the Millennium Dome and College Green in Parliament Square.

But speaking at an anti-capitalist conference in north London on Saturday, organisers insisted a repeat of the 18 June London riots was not inevitable.

Football game

Proving the point, protesters attending the conference dispersed afterwards to soak up the sunshine, enjoy picnics and play football in a nearby park.

Despite staffing a special operations centre nearby, Scotland Yard said no arrests had been necessary.

"There was no real need to police the event once the gathering had dispersed to the park - officers in the control room were twiddling their thumbs," a spokesman said.

Earlier, John Jordan, whose pressure group Reclaim the Streets is organising a "guerrilla gardening" experience on Bank Holiday Monday, said it was a celebration of the anti-capitalism movement rather than a protest.



This is not about violence. It's about making a better world

Protest organiser Andy Yates
Andy Yates, another of the organisers, said: "Despite all the accusations from the police, this is not about violence.

"It is about people dying in the Third World and old age pensioners who die of hypothermia in this country. It's about making a better world.

Police 'prepared'

Police are "prepared" for violence during the protests, Home Secretary Jack Straw has said.

Mr Straw said: "It has to be policed effectively and it will be policed effectively.

"Everybody has a right to demonstrate, nobody has a right violently to demonstrate or to attack people or property."

On Friday night, hundreds of cyclists rode from Waterloo Bridge to central London in a peaceful protest at congestion and pollution on the roads.

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