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Copfusion in the ranks!

If the British state wears knickers (and since it is always eager to cover its own arse, Schnews reckons it definitely does!), then it’s certainly getting them into a right twist over opposition to the G8.

It has been using a draconian section of the Terrorism Act to stop and quiz anti-capitalist campaigners about what’s being planned. And with protests due to kick off in both London and Northern Ireland, the authorities seem to be having trouble deciding where they should be focusing their attention.

Originally it was reported that the Met Police wanted to buy two German Ziegler Wasserwerfer 9000 cannons, which cost £1.3 million each, in time for the anti-G8 protests in London. But then the Daily Mail ran photos of police training with one of the cannons at a “secret” location in Hampshire (which it named as Longmoor base, near Petersfield, so it wasn't exactly a secret any more!). This particular Ziegler Wasserwerfer 9000 was “quietly brought in from Northern Ireland ahead of the G8” said the Mail, and up to 4,000 cops are being trained to use water cannon, “ostensibly so they can work alongside colleagues across the Irish Sea at the talks at the Lough Erne resort at Enniskillen”.

It’s also been announced that 730 police from forces across the UK have been trained in Northern Ireland to drive armoured landrovers for the first time as part “the significant policing operation” during the G8 – presumably these won’t be patrolling Piccadilly or Mayfair on June 11, but in all the copfusion we wouldn’t rule it out!

While the water cannon, and possibly the armoured landrovers, notch up those sea-miles on the Birkenhead to Belfast ferry, the government is going to have use its own version of FedEx to make sure its cops are delivered to the right place at the right time. The police operation in Northern Ireland will apparently involve 8,000 police - 4,400 of them local and 3,600 from England and Wales. Riot cops from London are mainly being kept back, though, because of what the Evening Standard is calling “fears of unrest in the capital”. The authorities across the border are also freaking out a bit, with the Gardai reported to have devised a major security operation “after receiving “intelligence that riots may occur in the Republic during the high-profile event”.

In their own desperate bid search for a modicum of intelligence, the UK’s Special Branch stopped a couple of anti-capitalist campaigners coming back from an anarchist festival in the Netherlands. The duo were intercepted at Dover, then detained and questioned for three hours under Schedules 7 and 8 of the Terrorism Act 2000. Schedule 7 makes it a crime not to provide information to an officer if the questions are intended to investigate “terrorism”. However the activists refused to provide information, insisting the police’s questions were, instead, intended to gather information on political dissent. As they argued their case, they were presented with print-outs of the Act’s definition of ‘terrorism’, which the cops claimed could include protests.

As far as events in London go, there’s a packed week of action in store for activists, with an anti-militarist action on Wednesday June 12, a No Borders, No Prisons event on Thursday June 13 and a “They Owe Us/Shift the Debt” action at Canary Wharf on Friday June 14. The biggie, though is the J11 Carnival Against Capitalism on Tuesday June 11, which will take place in the swanky West End.

Stop G8 have produced a map especially for this event, showing “the hiding place of power”. Among all the dodgy financial vultures and weapons dealers, this also features Buckingham Place – “hideout of the infamous Windsor family”. The J11 map is causing a few ripples among the pin-stripe suit brigade in the West End – emergency breakfast meetings all round! According to the Financial Times, hedge funds have been liaising over how to handle the protests and have been in contact with the Metropolitan Police over ways to deal with the “threat”. It quotes an anonymous employee of one of these firms as saying the contingency plan may include getting staff to work at offices elsewhere in London on the day of the protest, or asking staff “not to dress like a hedge fund manager” on their journey to and from work. But how will they avoid dressing like a hedge fund manager who’s trying not to dress like a hedge fund manager?

Details of the meet-up for J11 are due to be released any time now – keep an eye on network23.og/stopg8 for the latest. If you’re heading for the convergence space in central London, this will be announced at 11am on Saturday May 8. Go to Freedom Bookshop in Angel Alley, 84b Whitechapel High St, London E1 7QX, very close to Aldgate East tube station. This will also as an infopoint throughout the week of action, which also features pre-action training, talks from Ian Bone and others, several gigs and an unconfirmed guest appearance by Ziegler Wasserwerfer.

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Twitter: @SchNEWS