Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Down in the Shambolic Climate Camp, Protesters Plot a Campaign of Panic; Inside View: Standard Reporter Rashid Razaq at the Climate Camp, Left, Where Police, Right, Were Keeping a Close Eye on Protesters

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Down in the Shambolic Climate Camp, Protesters Plot a Campaign of Panic; Inside View: Standard Reporter Rashid Razaq at the Climate Camp, Left, Where Police, Right, Were Keeping a Close Eye on Protesters

Article excerpt

Byline: RASHID RAZAQ

THE TWO policemen at the entrance to the eco-camp waved me through afterperfunctory questioning. "I'm a student and I just wanted to join the protest,"I explained as the officers allowed me into the campno more than a bare bit of scrubland at Heathrow's northern perimeter and abouta mile from the terminals.

Now to get past the camp organisers' scrutiny. There was no welcoming committeeand no questions asked by the eco-activists, now numbering about 150, who weremilling about the field, plotting the week ahead.

I pitched my tent in the "eastside", the area set aside for activists from theeast Midlands, Nottingham and Cambridge, though London activists were supposedto pitch in the camp's main belt, next to the perimeter.

Around the camp was a heavy police cordon. The advance party of activists,mostly in their twenties or thirtiesa typical bunch of students, mature students and perennially unemployedwere joined by several veterans in their fifties and sixties. They were wellorganised and well supplied. New arrivals were asked to donate [pounds sterling]30 a daytowards the [pounds sterling]40,000 cost of running the week-long camp. The money would alsopay for communally cooked food. I stumped up the money, hoping I would blend inand not wishing to stand out. By 9.30pm the first of several tedious sitemeetings had been called.

It was conducted by an American man alongside an English man and woman. Nonewould give their real names, referring to themselves only as "elders" andsaying there would be no hierarchy. All decisions would be made by totalconsensus and not majority votes. It was shambolic. One meetingon how to dig a hole for a latrine took 45 minutes to complete.

Priorities were to establish base camps for each "neighbourhood" unit so thatcontingents from London, the South Coast, Manchester, Yorkshire and otherswould all be self-sufficient. …

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