Protesters and police both use Twitter in techno-war of climate change
Blackheath in South London has become the site of Climate Camp, a thousands-strong protest against government inaction on global warming, which has been organised by Twitter and text messaging.
The protesters circled the city following electronic messages before settling on the previously-secret location and settling in for this year’s week-long Climate Camp, on the site of a Peasants Revolt in 1381.
The swoop took walkers and cyclists to locations round the city, including the headquarters of oil companies BP and Shell. Early rumours suggested the camp might occupy London’s city Airport, but it was kept secret, despite pleas from the police. The protesters took routes sent to them by text message, and photos were posted on Twitter.
The location was kept secret, the organisers explained, for a “simple reason… I’m afraid we just don’t trust the police. Why? Because it seems as though every time we have a protest, the police turn up and start hitting people.”
London’s Metropolitan police have been criticised for extreme measures taken during protests around the G20 summit, where one man, Ian Tomlinson, died.
Previous camps have taken place at the Drax coal-fired power station in 2006, Heathrow Airport in 2007 and the Kingsnorth coal-fired power station in 2008. The group hit London this year because “London is the epicentre of global capitalism. If we want to stop climate change, we need to start here”.
For their part, the Motropolitan police is using technology, with its own Twitter channel, and plans to photograph and identify all attendees on the demonstration, despite a poll by charity Christian Aid which found that 33 percent of people feel this is a breach of their privacy.