This is a personal report from the adventure of a lost samba band who finally managed to block the A9 for some time around 7am on Wednesday (6th) morning…
The story starts on Tuesday evening, when part of the international samba band (27 of us if i remember well) decides to go by bus to Glasgow to help with blockades there, organized by Rhythms of Resistance of course. Once in Glasgow, they change their minds and decide to come back to the camp in Stirling as the action in Glasgow isn’t exactly as they expected… So back to the camp! But no: what’s the point in going back to the camp and get blockaded by the police in the morning? The samba band then decides to stop on the way, at some place like Dumblane.
But for some unknown reasons, after a police search, they get off the bus in a small unknown village, with their drums, sleeping bags, backpacks, etc… Not really knowing what to do and where they are! After some conversations with local people (and refilling of water bottles), and an analysis of a rough map of the surroundings, they find a path leading up the hills directly to the A9… why not? Here’s where the adventure starts; a long walk (more than 20km i reckon), all night, in the hills, with drums, to reach the A9 in the early hours of Wednesday morning…The walk isn’t easy; it is freezing cold, raining for quite a while, and hiding from the cops and the helicopters isn’t always obvious with drums and stuff… although quite funny i must admit! but smiles are back when the group meets some clowns hiding in a van somewhere in the hills near the A9! Finally, at 7am, after warming up next to an impromptu campfire, the samba group, accompanied by another affinity group met on the way, jump on the A9 about 5km from Gleneagles and to their surprise there is no police to stop them blocking the highway! They manage to hold the highway for perhaps 15-20 minutes, until pushed out of the way by the police.
About at the same time various other blockades occur on the A9 at different places, and the M9 is also blocked by various affinity groups including another samba band. Other roads leading to Gleneagles are also blocked by various affinity groups.Then, after having escaped from a police cordon, they keep playing on the side of the A9, and at the same time realize that not only the roads are blocked but the railway as well: some other groups are blocking a train on the parallel railway! Samba is there to cheer them up!After a while, about half of the samba group, completely exhausted, decide to go back to the camp, while the other half plan to join the demonstration in Gleneagles. And what do they see on their way back? Hundreds of people, everywhere in the fields, continuously jumping on the A9!!! Wow!Blockades were definitely a success; and, at least in this case, they have been surprisingly easy! Thumbs up to everyone involved!!!