London Protest: Down With This Sort Of Thing

By Jo Last edited 129 months ago
London Protest: Down With This Sort Of Thing
stoptridentmarchlondon2402.jpg

Londonist loves a good protest; they're excellent for the constitution. Nothing like a nice amble all the way from Speaker's Corner to Trafalgar Square with 60,000 (or 2,000, or 100,000, depending on who you listen to) of your fellow Londoners, while carrying an "amusingly" modified placard expressing your outrage about something or other.

Yes, Saturday was Stop Trident/Troops Out Of Iraq/Don't Attack Iran marching day, and so march we did, from that symbolic home of iconoclasts Speakers' Corner to, er, that symbol of Britain's former victories in pursuit of imperialist ideals, Trafalgar Square. The weather could have been better but you can't have everything and then again, it could always have been worse.

Once we had reached our objective, three and a half hours after first assembling, we were treated to a variety of speeches by various luminaries of CND and the Stop The War coalition, as well as Rose Gentle, Mark Thomas - easily the most compelling speech of the afternoon, as he pointed out that naming a nuclear weapons system after the instrument of Satan might not have been the best PR idea ever - and Londonist 'favourite' (ahem) George Galloway, who warned that unless the goverrrrrrnment starrrrted to pay attention to the people of Brrrrritain, therrrrre would be rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrriots on UK strrrrrrrreets beforrrrrre long. And so on, in his inimitable way.

Indymedia said:

Called by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, in conjunction with Stop the War Coalition and the British Muslim Initiative, tens of thousands marched in London on 24 February, 2007, to protest against the Trident and against the imperial wars in the Middle East, including Iraq and the looming one on Iran. People were there to express their opposition to militarism, the 'war on terror' and demand justice for Palestine. Scotland for Peace's "Bin the Bomb Roadshow" also ran between 16 and 24 February, culminating in a march and rally on 24 February in Glasgow.

There was a small autonomous block on the demo, but was apparently the focus of most of the policing and 'intelligence gathering' (see this Met leaflet).

Highlights:

The pink samba band and their infectious rhythms

The free and delicious food from the Hare Krishnas

Mark Thomas, seasoned protester

The woman in the CND coat

The best sign ever and all the other wonderful banners on display

The guy with the really cool Rage Against The Machine haircut

Counting the many hundreds of keffiyehs worn by marchers

Londonist could have done without:

The hijacking of the day's march by everyone from the Free Palestine lot to the 9/11 conspiracy nutcases, until it wasn't so much a "Stop Trident/Troops Out" march as it was an "Anything anyone in power has done that annoys us and we feel like making a fuss about" march

The policemen taking photos of all the protesters

George Galloway's exhortation to the crowd to text some words to some number in order to buy a single of War - What Is It Good For? (Halliburton's share price?) and send a "strrrrrong message to Tony Blairrrrrrrr and Georrrrrrge Bush" - very Protest 2.0

The Communist Party trolls and their "Victory to the Iraqi Resistance" posters

Anyone else who went, please share your experiences in the comments section!

Flickr group for event photos here

Photo: London peace demonstration XII by Orhan*

Bonus points to anyone who can tell us where the quotation in this article's title comes from

Last Updated 26 February 2007

Paul Mison

Father Ted, isn't it?

Speaking of hijacking, what's up with the sub-Comment Is Free book plug?

Jo

Father Ted it is indeed, from The Passion Of Saint Tibulus. Another bonus point to anyone who can remember what the other sign carried by Ted and Dougal said.

You're right about the dreadful book plug above too - I'll remove it shortly.

solarider

Wasn't the other quote "Careful now"?

Nice writeup - where did those 911 nuts appear from and they had a huge banner!

It wasnt a surprise (from experience) to see the usual wide array of groups present but they were a major surprise. They also seemed to rather enjoy having their picture taken so I've deliberately avoided posting any of them so far :-)

Thanks for the plug for the Flickr group.
Also more reports and pics available at Indymedia.

Would have inserted the URLs but need to sort out a typekey identity first.

Jo

solarider: Yes indeedy it is "Careful now". Glad there are more Ted fanatics out there too. :) There's a link to the Indymedia report in the piece as well.

petemerlin

why refer to 9/11 sceptics as nutters you dim-wits?

solarider

Jo - isnt everyone a Father Ted fan and if not why not and we should hold a protest about that :-)

By rights I should have dug out Ted DVDs last night but went for 15 Stories and a bit of Spaced instead. There're even better then Ted [may I be struck by lightening].

PeteMerlin - I love a good conspiracy theory as much as the next person; but this is one too far for me.

There is a serious point here, that the USA used the 911 attacks to run rough shod over the rest of the world, from Gitmo, extrodinary renditions, tacit support for regimes that conducted interrogations under torture and even the ludicious linking of 911 with Iraq to name some at random. In their eyes if you didnt support their tactics and attacks then you were with the "terrorists". Bush and his cohorts have used 911 at every opportunity to push their agenda, regardless of the facts.

These and much more are fully worthy of drawing to peoples attention and of ensuring that they are uncovered as the abuses that they are, so instead of talking about "insides jobs" and "cover up's" they had been banging on about some of the former then I would have had no issue. But that was not what they were doing - they were peddling the conspiracy theory. So in my opinion, wrong target.

But if it makes you feel better, here you go:

s/nutters/skeptics/g

Jo

Solarider: Thank you for putting my thoughts into words. That's exactly it: 9/11 was an outrage, and what has followed has been even worse, but to focus on the exact position of each falling bit of debris is hugely counterproductive.

And if GWB had really organised it, why was he reading My Pet Goat when the news came, rather than ready to capitalise on people's shock by making a more impressive showing of himself?

Anyway. Kind of back on topic, everyone should like Father Ted, and if they don't then I contend that there is something wrong with them. I only ever met one non-fan, and she was a massive bitch, thus neatly "proving" my point. Ahem.

solarider

>I only ever met one non-fan, and she was a massive bitch, thus neatly "proving" my point. Ahem.

Oh yeah I knew her - no wonder it never worked out between me and her. Well that and the fact that she thought that "Everybody Loves Raymond" was funny and that reality TV was essential viewing and when she said "Black Books? I'd rather watch Survivor" - well, ahem. Indeed.

And given that she was a Canuck ("Your roads are so narrow") as well - it was just never going to work.

Now I've strayed so way off topic that I'm into wacky land. Oh look there go some 911 skeptics.

solarider

>I only ever met one non-fan, and she was a massive bitch, thus neatly "proving" my point. Ahem.

Oh yeah I knew her - no wonder it never worked out between me and her. Well that and the fact that she thought that "Everybody Loves Raymond" was funny and that reality TV was essential viewing and when she said "Black Books? I'd rather watch Survivor" - well, ahem. Indeed.

And given that she was a Canuck ("Your roads are so narrow") as well - it was just never going to work.

Now I've strayed so way off topic that I'm into wacky land. Oh look there go some 911 skeptics.