Exhausted but inspired by the demo. Great to go with my husband and son, union comrades and friends. Lots of Greens there from right across the country, though didn’t manage to join the “Big Green Bloc” which was aiming to form up – partly because the march really was massive, though perhaps not quite the scale of the Anti Iraq War demo, still think it was more like half a million than a quarter.
Trying to join the march in the first place was a challenge, as we had to walk a long way along the Strand before we were allowed by the police to head down to the river to join the march forming up and it wasn’t even the back. And it was so tightly packed with lots of people just itching to get going, that it was impossible to move forward (or backward) to find the Green bloc.
However once we did set off there was some fantastic music – a samba band in particular helped us cope with the frustration of the slow, stop-start of the first hour along the river. Along with an anti-war, anti-cuts tank blasting out “Stand Up For Your Rights”, “Police and Thieves” etc
We got a clearer look at this wonderful piece of street art in Hyde Park later:
An extraordinary range of placards, flags and banners, ranging from the anarchists, through SWP (liked their slogan “Fight like an Egyptian” (the Bangles “Walk like an Egyptian kept running round my head all afternoon) – though I don’t agree with fighting (being a pacifist)…, Coalition of Resistance road sign style “No Cuts” circles,
traditional (and beautiful) union banners, and lots of home made, some funny (eg Why did Nick Clegg cross the road? Because he promised he wouldn’t), some angry “One banker’s bonus = one teacher’s salary for 200 years”, some touching – kids holding sweetly painted education activist network placards…
There was a huge cheer from both us down on the embankment marching and those up on London Bridge as we walked past with the excellent CND banner draped from the bridge: Cut Trident Not Jobs, Education, Health
Lots of green messages, and not just on Green Party placards, for example PCS ones with “Invest in renewable energy”
And lots on tax justice – and although I don’t agree with all the direct action that took place, I do fully support the anti-tax dodger protests organised by UK Uncut and would have joined them if my 11 year old son had not wanted to come – have read some concerning reports of police behaviour, for instance by Green activist Adam Ramsay.
We got to Trafalgar Square about 3, just as things were kicking off elsewhere – with police vans hurtling around, sirens blaring – and saw that the people set on occupying the square had already got up on the statues with placards etc.
Had to have an ice-cream and tea break, then carried on to Hyde Park, arriving just in time for the last couple of speakers – with the very last being the PCS member who had walked all the way from Cardiff to join the march. Earlier we had seen a banner announcing the Jarrow March this autumn – would love to do some of that…
You can see my son was not happy with all the waiting around at the start, but overall he said he thought it was worth going, as did my husband. And our son approved of the humour of the placard Michael White reported:
A small girl’s placard proclaimed: “When the situation is as dire as this I don’t mind my parents using me as a political pawn.” On the reverse side it added: “They told me there’d be biscuits.”
We had an adventure getting home though, as the trains were disrupted by signal failure north of York, so we ended up getting on to the previous train to ours (already full) and standing, or sharing seats offered by kind comrades who’d also been to the march. Had a great conversation with the 3 guys in the buffet car, all RMT workers – one was a Green supporter and had voted for me in the Euro elections, and another was a PCS member in his other job (just working on the trains at the weekend) and had met Caroline Lucas at the PCS conference in Brighton last year and thought she was great. We were so tired though by the time we were approaching York that we called some friends there and luckily they were at home, so we went to stay with them. Just couldn’t face the possibility of having to wait around for replacement buses, then getting the metro home. Wonderful to get to our friends and chew over the day over a beer!