The day kicked off with "No Such Thing as a Free Lunch", and free plant give-aways too. Diners were entertained by music and street theatre, which gave the police a scare when a white-clad group entered the square ("back up, back up; kkkrch; cancel that sarge, it's street theatre").
To work off some of their free lunch, merry pranksters headed off to banks, supermarkets, bookshops, train stations, coffee shops and fast food merchants, with further uncontrolled outbreaks of street theatre and music. In one bank, blood was spilled, filling up the metal trays under each window so stopping any transactions; in others cash machines got out of order stickers slapped on before the mounted police arrived to drive away any remaining public. GM food defrosted in trolleys sprouting banners and leaflets, Burma leaflets got inserted into holiday guides, and train ticket counters got besieged by people with 90% for 90% cards claiming their discount (others had travelled to Manchester in the morning with 90% cards). While Nestle cafes were entered, Megabucks had free drinks and cakes outside, and a rival free veggie burger stall called NotDonalds did a roaring trade.
Now obviously these threats to the very fabric of democracy had gone too far, and with a Critical Mass bike ride threatening to end car culture as we know it, the police had had enough - it was time to protect the system with their complex strategy of the last few years: crack heads and contain. After they forgot the route they'd imposed on cyclists, they decided it was a much better ruse to pull people off their bikes, threaten, arrest and then de-arrest after taking people's details, and contain any remaining cyclists for two hours.
The "State Funeral", narrowly avoiding containment through negotiating its way to the intended final destination, moved off at a funereal pace. To the beat of a drum and a New Orleans-style jazz band, the pall-bearers followed the 4 horses of the Ecopocalipse and a 12 foot grim reaper, behind a "Call this Apathy?" banner, to destination BBC. Here, the last will and testament of the state was read out, after which a mighty samba wake was held, before revellers went to dine in a nearby park. Two arrests (for unlicensed blood in bottles after a Section 60 search, and one woman who unmasked more than the police had intended), and not a line of press coverage (despite much press work having been done) rounded off a good day.
"Uninvited" (0161 226 6814)