Chaos breaks out in London as Russell Brand joins thousands of masked Guy Fawkes protesters in dramatic Bonfire Night demonstration
- Russell Brand joined thousands of masked demonstrators in Westminster
- British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood was also spotted among crowd
- Riot police lined streets as protesters donned sinister Guy Fawkes masks
- Officers drew batons as missiles, road signs and fireworks were launched
- Crowd kicked over railings while chanting ‘one solution, revolution’
- Anti-capitalist group Anonymous wanted to create blockade in the capital
- London march is part of a day of global demonstrations against austerity
Russell Brand and Vivienne Westwood joined thousands of masked anti-capitalist demonstrators who descended on Westminster for a Bonfire Night protest, bringing chaos to the capital.
Scores of riot police were on stand-by amid threats from campaign group Anonymous that the demonstration would create a blockade throughout London.
Officers were forced to draw their batons as missiles, plastic cones and road signs were launched along the Mall, while fireworks were left off in Trafalgar Square.
The masked demonstrators – some as young as 14 – also kicked and dragged over security railings while chanting ‘one solution, revolution’, as others daubed graffiti on riot vans.
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Russell Brand took part in a protest outside Parliament which was orchestrated by activists who said they intend to cause chaos throughout London
The protest, organised in hundreds of cities around the world, saw the activists wear masks depicting the sinister face of Guy Fawkes – a mask made famous in the film V for Vendetta
Barricades erected in anticipation of the protest were lifted by demonstrators as police attempted to control scenes in Parliament Square
Demonstrators kicked and dragged over security railings while chanting ‘one solution, revolution’
Officers were forced to draw their batons as missiles, plastic cones and road signs were launched
A police officer ducks to avoid the pushing and shoving which surged through the crowd during the protest
During the march, protesters also let off fireworks and threw firecrackers at police who were guarding the Victoria Memorial, hurling abuse at them.
The crowd surged through central London, pushing over bins, shouting at bemused shoppers and commuters and hitting cars and people with yellow flexible tubes.
At one point, they surrounded a man driving a new Mercedes car and sprayed the back of it with an aerosol, pushing their tubes at him as he opened windows to remonstrate with them.
The protest, known as the Million Mask March, was one of hundreds organised at the same time in cities around the world.
Demonstrators wearing sinister Guy Fawkes masks – made famous in the film V for Vendetta – descended on Trafalgar Square, waving banners and placards, before marching towards Parliament Square at 6.30pm.
As they milled around the square, they chanted anti-establishment slogans before climbing on to the base of Nelson’s Column and letting off fireworks.
They then moved onto Buckingham Palace before hundreds of protesters made their way through central London, going to Piccadilly Circus, Regent Street and Oxford Circus.
They then marched to the BBC’s headquarters at Broadcasting House on nearby Portland Place and going along Oxford Street to Hyde Park and Park Lane.
As of around midnight, ten people had been arrested, including three on suspicion of assaulting police officers, one of a firework offence, three for public order crimes and one of attempted GBH.
British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood was also spotted at the march in central London
Police arrested a man on suspicion of headbutting a woman police officer outside Buckingham Palace during the protest
Officers were forced to draw their batons as missiles, plastic cones and road signs were launched along the Mall
The heightened security measures come as the Metropolitan Police attempted to contact Anonymous, but no one came forward with any details
Protesters argued with riot police as they formed human barriers against the huge crowd of demonstrators
Riot police were put on high alert after warnings from the protest group that it would cause chaos in London
The group said in its manifesto that it fights against mass surveillance, austerity and infringement of human rights.
Russell Brand also joined the London arm of the worldwide Million Mask March last year.
During that march, energy bills were burned, fireworks were shot at Buckingham Palace and there were 15 arrests, following scuffles with police.
He later wrote an article saying that riots are sparked ‘when dialogue fails, when they feel unrepresented and bored by the illusion’.
Today, it seemed the group were hoping for a similar result. On its website before the march, one of the group members wrote: ‘What I’d like to see is a MASSIVE Anonymous blockade of London City.
‘Complete physical GRIDLOCK. Only thing that gets through are Fire & Rescue and ambulances. NOTHING ELSE MOVES.’
Fireworks and smoke were seen rising out of Trafalgar Square as the protest got underway this evening
The crowd tried its best to carry out the wishes of the organisers, which asked for a massive blockade of London City
The group – which uses the Guy Fawkes masks as its trademark – said it fights against mass surveillance, austerity and infringement of human rights
The protest was held on the night of Britain’s Guy Fawkes Night, and many of the marchers wore the white masks of the man who plotted to blow up parliament in 1605
Protesters chanted anti-establishment slogans as they milled around, while others climbed on to the base of Nelson’s Column let off fireworks
The group also warned it would have ‘bigger banners, louder voices, more people and a louder system’.
The London march is part of a day of global demonstrations, which include rallies across Europe, the Americas and Asia.
The protest has led to officers from the Metropolitan Police, British Transport Police and the City of London Police Force being on stand-by.
The heightened security measures came as the Metropolitan Police attempted to contact Anonymous, but no one came forward with any details.
In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said they had attempted to contact organisers of the event ‘without success’.
Graffiti was daubed on a police van, while a masked protester stood nearby waving a placard
Most people protested peacefully, but some ten arrests were made, Metropolitan Police said
The group warned it would have ‘bigger banners, louder voices, more people and a louder system’ than last year’s protest
Writing on its website before the march, the group said: ‘What I’d like to see is a MASSIVE Anonymous blockade of London City’. Protesters waved banners and placards during the march
The protesters came up with a number of creative ways to express their messages of discontent
The group said in its manifesto that it fights again mass surveillance, austerity and infringement of human rights
Anti-capitalist protesters held up signs saying ‘Expect Us’ ‘We Are Anonymous’ and ‘We Are Everyone’
Rather than communicate directly with local authorities, Anonymous sent a message to the government
The protesters made their way through central London, going to Piccadilly Circus, Regent Street and Oxford Circus
And it added that they have imposed Section 60AA of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 across Westminster between 5pm today and 2am tomorrow, which provides powers to remove masks when police fear a crime will be committed.
Scotland Yard said: ‘The Met Police deals with around 4,500 protests and events every year. These can range from a single protester to hundreds of thousands of people walking through the capital’s streets.
‘Officers work with organisers to ensure that people are able to carry out their right to peaceful protest whilst ensuring Londoners can go about their daily business.’
Last year’s London march saw more than 2,500 protesters take to the streets, in a rally which saw fireworks thrown at Buckingham Palace and a total of 15 arrests.
Rather than communicate directly with local authorities, Anonymous sent a message to the government, and to global world leaders: ‘To oppressive governments, we say this: we do not expect our campaign to be completed in a short time frame. However, you will not prevail against the angry masses of the body politic.’
How does this fit into your revolution? Anti-capitalist Russell Brand’s film company is being ‘bankrolled by City bankers in tax relief scheme’
- Comedian has repeatedly hit out at the City and called for debt to be illegal
- But it emerged today his film company was handed a huge sum by bankers
- It is believed the money is being ploughed into a new movie, Brand the Film
- A clip of the film shows Brand urging followers not to ‘comply’ with system
- One City investor has now hit out at the star’s bashing of ‘cartoon bankers’
Russell Brand has certainly not held back since becoming a crusader against global capitalism.
He has called for an ‘orgy’ of banker bashing, urged people to refuse to pay taxes and called profit a ‘filthy word’.
But he appears to have no problem with raising nearly £1million from wealthy capitalists including investment bankers and a Premier League footballer to make a documentary about himself.
Russell Brand has launched repeated attacks on bankers and called for debt to be abolished in his new book
But it emerged today that the company behind his new film has been bankrolled by city financiers. File photo
Investors were enticed with generous tax breaks to support the film, portraying Brand, 39, as a ‘troubled visionary’ seeking to change the world.
The entertainer-turned-campaigner – said to be worth £15million – faced charges of hypocrisy after details of the funding arrangements emerged yesterday.
His public pronouncements on bankers – whom he wants to be punished for their role in the financial crisis – have been rather more outspoken.
‘I think an orgy of any kind would be great, but one that focuses on banker bashing would be the best kind,’ he told BBC One’s Question Time last year.
He has also declared on Newsnight: ‘David Cameron says profit isn’t a dirty word. Well I say profit is a filthy word.’ These trenchant positions are at odds with his use of venture capital to finance the upcoming film.
The film funded by investors is a documentary in which Brand calls on fans not to ‘comply’ with the system
BRAND’S COMPANY: WHO ARE MAYFAIR FILM PARTNERSHIP?
Company documents list Russell Edward Brand as a director of Mayfair Film Partnership Limited since his ‘appointment’ in July 2010.
Other directors are listed as Brand’s manager, Andrew Antonio, the best man at his wedding, Nicholas Linnen and John Linnen.
The company is registered at an accountants firm in Burnham on Sea, Somerset, whose offices are opposite a tattoo parlour and a junk shop in the seaside town.
Investors are believed to include city financial director Una Lodge, Sunderland and former England footballer Wes Brown, and an estimated 17 other shareholders.
Called Brand, it is co-produced by Mayfair Film Partnership, of which he is a director. Shares in the firm worth £973,000 were sold to 21 outside investors, including an executive with bank giant JPMorgan Chase.
The largest stake went to Sunderland defender Wes Brown.
The shares were bought under the Government’s Enterprise Investment Scheme, which provides tax incentives for people to invest in risky new businesses.
One leading accountant, who asked not to be named, said: ‘He’s being a capitalist, but he then goes on Newsnight and rants about how terrible capitalism is. I would challenge his hypocrisy.’
A source said Brand did not benefit from any tax relief because he is not an investor in the company.
Brand hit out at bankers during an appearance on the BBC’s Question Time, calling for them to ‘go down’
AND HERE’S WHAT A LEADING PROFESSOR MAKES OF HIS DRIVEL
The BBC gave Brand many platforms to publicise his book Revolution – but rarely challenged his claims. It took website Buzzfeed to find a professor, Chandran Kukathas of the London School of Economics, to assess his work.
BRAND ON INTERNATIONAL CAR SALES: ‘I wouldn’t worry too much about exporting them, as other countries have their own f***ing cars.’
PROF KUKATHAS: ‘It’s hard to see how one could come up with a sillier thought. A 30-second search on Wikipedia will tell you fewer than 50 countries make cars.’
ON THE FINANCIAL INDUSTRY: ‘If my vacuum cleaner went nuts and forced me to live in economic slavery, I wouldn’t roll my eyes and say “Oh well” and humbly do its bidding. I’d turn it off and f*** it out the window.’
THE PROFESSOR: ‘Is the industry really like a vacuum cleaner? How does one turn it off? Or throw it out the window?
ON DEBT: ‘Cancelling personal debt would stimulate the economy more than any “too big to fail” bank quantitative easing.’
THE PROFESSOR: ‘Mr Brand is quite confused. Quantitative easing is neither necessary nor sufficient for stopping a bank or any other corporation from failing.’
ON CORPORATIONS: ‘If they don’t pay tax, we’ll reclaim their assets and give them to the people who work there to run.’
THE PROFESSOR: ‘What does he mean? Most corporations are owned by shareholders. If you take the assets away from them … you will deprive millions of their income, and perhaps their livelihood.’
ON THE NATION STATE: ‘It may have served its purpose and have to be dissolved – it’s not a big deal.’
THE PROFESSOR: ‘I have no idea what he means here. How is this to be done?’
ON REVOLUTION: ‘The spiritual Revolution, the Revolution we are about to realise, will be fast because the organisms are in place.’
THE PROFESSOR: ‘If the revolution advocated is a spiritual transformation, what is one to make of the authoritarian element of the manifesto? It sounds like the new society is going to have an awful lot of confiscating, and forbidding – stopping people from exporting, or fracking, or building up capital.’
THE CHE GUEVARA OF THE EXECUTIVE BOX: STAR HAMMERED OVER HIS APPEARANCE IN HOSPITALITY SUITE DURING VISIT TO UPTON PARK
Russell Brand was mocked this weekend after he appeared in a corporate box at a West Ham match.
Rather than sit among fellow fans, the comedian was seen standing among suited businessman behind the glass of a hospitality suite.
Footballer Joey Barton joked about Brand on Twitter, posting: ‘Russell Brand. Man of the people. Starting his revolution from the executive boxes. Very Che Guevara.’
Another website user added: ‘The cost of one executive box for a day at Upton Park could pay for an NHS nurse for a month. Disgusted.’
Brand was later filmed kissing West Ham manager Sam Allardyce after his team beat league champions Manchester City 2-1.
Brand was criticised after appearing in a hospitality suite during a visit to watch his team, West Ham United
Brand was being interviewed by Channel 4 reporter Paraic O’Brien
The row today provoked a furious twitter debate today, with some criticising Mr O’Brien for distracting attention from the issue at hand, while others accused Brand of “ranting and raving”.
The short interview was conducted during a demonstration outside 10 Downing Street held by tenants of the New Era Estate in east London, protesting against the threat of 93 families being evicted.
After being confronted with the issue of whether wealthy property owners are responsible for pushing up prices, Brand responded that his property was rented, adding: “I’m not interested in talking about my rent”.
When Mr O’Brien pushed the issue, Brand told him: “You’re a snide”.
O’Brien suffered a Twitter backlash after the interview aired, posting today: ‘Holy God. Reading my timeline from overnight. Looks like come the revolution, we ‘snides’ are totally f*#ked : )’
Brand later posted a video on YouTube explaining his reaction
— Black Knight (@BlackKnightWX) December 2, 2014
— Shappi Khorsandi (@ShappiKhorsandi) December 2, 2014