The demonstration had an estimated 250,000 people on it. There were people from many different trades unions and community groups. We marched over Waterloo Bridge, down one side of the river, back over the next bridge, back up the river and down to Westminster, then down Whitehall. My friend and I left the March at Trafalgar Square as it was already 4 o'clock and by the time we had got to Hyde Park where the march finished, the speeches would have been over and we would have then had to make our way back to Covent Garden where we were going out. So we dipped out and headed off for some food. I am glad I went though as it is a worthwhile thing to be protesting against-the cuts the government are making to public sector services will have the most impact on those people with the least.
The atmosphere of the march was cheerful and peaceful from all that I saw. There was some music from various sound systems, people with random instruments, and a little pipe band (I don't know who they were but they sounded good!) People were friendly and conversing with strangers. I was offered a Socialist Worker magazine by a very polite and smiling young man and when I said no thank you he continued to smile. So, it is galling that a small minority of people choose to use violence for their own ends and that the media choose to focus on that. There is always this element of violence at these big demos and it is always said to be Anarchists. I have been reading a long and fascinating wikipedia article on Anarchism this morning as my knowledge is patchy. I can't say whether these modern day violent protesters are Anarchists or not, or whether they believe that what they are doing will make a difference to society. I do feel that there might well be those who just like a fight. Anarchism seems to be such a diverse movement with many ways of being, and violent protest is one. There was one part of the article that summed up how I feel about the way the media coverage just likes to focus on the violence though. It is in the part about contemporary Anarchism.
"Around the turn of the 21st century, anarchism grew in popularity and influence as part of the anti-war, anti-capitalist, and anti-globalisation movements. Anarchists became known for their involvement in protests against the meetings of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Group of Eight, and the World Economic Forum. Some anarchist factions at these protests engaged in rioting, property destruction, and violent confrontations with police, and the confrontations were selectively portrayed in mainstream media coverage as violent riots. These actions were precipitated by ad hoc, leaderless, anonymous cadres known as black blocs; other organisational tactics pioneered in this time include security culture, affinity groups and the use of decentralised technologies such as the internet. A significant event of this period was the confrontations at WTO conference in Seattle in 1999."
The last few photos are the window of The Salisbury on St. Martin's lane where we went to celebrate my friend Clare's birthday. When we left and walked down to Charing Cross we saw one of the fires the papers talked about. We also saw a cyclist fall off their bike and two police officers rush to help him get up. The helicopters were hovering over us all night.
Happy birthday to Claire Birch if you are reading. Your card sat in my bag all day so has been on the demo-but I forgot to post it! Louise and Paul were on the march and we saw them in the pub too!