A short account of the Stop the City demonstrations of 1983 and 1984 which were described as a 'Carnival Against War, Oppression and Destruction.'
The idea of the “Stop The City” (STC) demonstrations was hatched by three London anarchists at a party in the early eighties. At around the same time people in Australia and America had had the same brainwave. The plan was to bring together the radical end of the peace - ecology - “third world” - and anarchist movements to attack the root cause of all their problems - Capital - by attacking the heart of finance. It took a lot of work to promote the idea of STC and then hold together an uneasy alliance of radical liberals and anarchists. The main problem was the issue of “violence” - many pacifists were worried that people might defend themselves against police attacks/arrests and buildings could be damaged by “violence (sic) against property”. Pat Arrowsmith, veteran CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) labourite did her best to successfully sabotage CND involvement.
The police were freaked out by the idea of an organised demo which wouldn’t consult/inform them - very rare in modern Britain. They repeatedly tried to contact the organisers and on one occasion two plain clothed senior cops turned up to a London anarchist meeting pleading to meet with people only to be met by an angry silence and sent away.
On the day of the first STC the phone of one of the main organisers was ‘mysteriously‘ cut off, and on the night before a large number of riot cops stormed the ‘peace centre’ near the Angel in Islington (a large anarcho-pacifist squat where many of the demonstrators were crashing, searching for weapons - none were found).
Several Stop The Cities were held in London and caused a lot of disruption in the square mile - the first caused and estimated £100 million losses. A number of ‘Stop Business as usual’ demos also occurred Numbers involved ranged from 3,000 in the first STC, dwindling to 500 odd at the last one as energy and enthusiasm were sapped by arrests, greater police sus, etc.
A repressive Public Order Act was passed in response to STC and the activities of hunt saboteurs, etc. Close to 1,000 arrests were also made over an 18 month period.
The June 18th 1999 Carnival Against Capitalism (pictured, above) bore many similarities to Stop The City.
From an article in Resistance, plus information from Wikipedia