One month before Mayday 2009, the G20 had come to London, Obama, Gordon and the other leaders of the largest economies in the world were meeting to discuss how to avoid the oncoming collapse of the global capitalist system. A way of running the world that was straining and about to collapse under the weight of the corruption, greed and reliance on an unsustainable and unfair methodology. The public were in revolt over the government's bail outs of the banks and calling for a wholesale change in how our economies were prioritised. This dissent led to a call out for mass protest on April 1st, the same time the governments were meeting to work out how to save the system their business friends relied upon.

In the lead up to the protest, there was an almost unprecedented media hysteria whipped up by the police. Violent anarchists were going to take to the streets and bring chaos to the city, the same city that had recently shown itself in its true greedy and ugly nature. A rent-a-mob of troublemakers were going to use public dissent to create chaos and violence, but, if they wanted a fight the police were "up for it". This was, it must be remembered, before any violence had taken place, indeed before anyone had even set foot in the streets. The tone had been set by a scared government, and their protectors in uniform.

On the day of the protests, true to form, the police were "up for it". Peaceful protesters were corralled in "kettles" denied access to food or water, made to urinate and defecate in the streets. Violence was dished out by police in full armour who had removed all of their identifying numbers, undercover officers were unmasked as agent provocateurs, dogs were set on protestors, mass arrests took place, and finally to top it all off the police murdered the one person who hadn't even been there to protest, then tried to cover it up and blame it on violent protesters who hampered the police medics!

One month later, mayday rolled around and the police were still unapologetic about their actions, despite the hounding they were receiving in the press. It was all blamed on a 'few bad apples' as opposed to the obvious institutional culture and top down orders that had been given. The government also found this a fantastic diversion from talking about the previous issues which had caused such anger in the public.

We were a nation caught up in a police state, the government were growing a database of innocent people's DNA, pushing through legislation to monitor all of our phonecalls, emails and conversations. The police were feeling little official repercussions for their violence and murder, their FIT squad of officers were still building up databases of people who opposed the status quo, intimidating peaceful and legal protesters. The riot police were still proclaiming their innocence, whilst beating up people at a vigil for the man they beat and killed.

So on Mayday, we returned to the scene of the crime. Calling on people to embrace and ridicule their role as convicts within a police state, we asked protesters to turn up dressed as if guilty until proven innocent. Of course to complete the picture we asked the police to adopt their usual role of masked up, unaccountable thugs, to surround us and beat us.

The call out went far and wide, and it was with a little apprehension that we approached the city at 5pm on a working day. Dressed in our convicts' stripes we turned the corner to arrive outside the Bank of England not sure what to expect of the protesters or even the police. What greeted us was a revelation and restored our faith in the hardiness and commitment of the people of this city.

Around 200 people had gathered back at the same location of the police violence one month earlier, bicycle sound systems were battling for the crowds attention, small fires with kettles ontop were brewing and the police were looking sheepish to say the least.

We sprung into action with teams going out to collect the DNA of the guilty, and run carnival style "impersonate a police officer" stalls (the very same crime 11 of the Space Hijackers had been arrested for on the fateful day one month earlier).

The government of the dead arrived and held a mayday maypole ritual, complete with band and the four horses of the apocalypse. People had climbed up around the statue of wellington to hold up banners, half naked ladies attempted to storm the royal exchange, the Whitechapel Anarchists were spreading their good word and the dancing continued.
As the crowds grew, agents Greenman and Red Fraggle span around the corner in their mobile police cell, looking rather like the children catchers in chitty chitty bang bang. People were berating the police through loud hailers and across the sound systems, as the workers from the city looked on, half scared, half bemused, half amused.

As the evening wore on, the dancing became more frenetic, the atmosphere became more carnival and the beats louder. The police who had so publicly waded in and violently dispersed the climate camp in April were building up numbers in the backstreets, but their wave of aggression never came. Was this due to our publicly calling them out on it? Was this due to them finally feeling like they were being watched by the public as a whole, or perhaps even they finally accepted that protest and public convergence is a legitimate social right?

Night fell and the party went on, our numbers had grown to around 400 by this point and calls were going out for it to become a weekly event. The heat of the day had turned into a warm evening and hippies, anarchists, socialists, artists, environmentalists, feminists, and conspiracy theorists were dancing with each other and the general public. The sound systems had linked up and were booming out a playlist of police themed tunes.

Eventually we, as opposed to the police, decided when the event would end and the crowds slipped off into the night to continue the party.
It was a mayday to remember, a mayday where we felt we had control of our own streets as opposed to asking permission from the police and powers that be.


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