Protesters spoke passionately about the alledged behaviour of Kabila's army, who they claim are responsible for the murder, torture and rape of thousands of their fellow countrymen. They want Kabila out of power, and his forces disbanded. However, when I asked if they would be prepared to have a UN peacekeeping force, along with an aid package put in place to restore the infrastructure in Congo following the demise of the Kabila regime, hands were thrown up in horror, 'Oh no, it is our country' they cried. They would not accept that there are two sides to every story, refusing to even acknowledge that there are people who voted for Kabila. Unlike many other protests, it was not possible to speak to any pro-regime protesters as the only one who turned up was chased off with death threats ringing in her ears.
|Crowds block Whitehall|
There was a normal police presence at the protest site, but there were plenty of police vans in the surrounding streets, out of sight. I mentioned the shuffling dance the protesters had been doing. This involved them shuffling up to, and often into, the faces of the cops who were guarding the sides of the pen and then backing away. This dance is what led to the protest spilling out onto Whitehall. When they reached the police line on one occasion, they surged past the cops and ran into the road. Almost immediately, police back up arrived and as some cops struggled unsuccessfully to force the protesters back onto the pavement, others were forming a line across Whitehall in front of Downing St.
|Four cops surrounded by crowd|
Once in the west end the protesters again damaged cars and shops as well as assaulting revellers in Piccadilly. They were eventually cornered by a large police presence including mounted officers, in Waterloo Place. Police removed everyone, including the press from the area and arrested those who were held.
Of course, no protest would be complete without some left wing involvement. Some numbskulls from OccupyLSX turned up as yup, you've guessed it, legal observers. Proudly wearing his hi-vis tabard, one such wee scrote engaged a cop with the line '' Proud of yourself are you? there's a pregnant woman in there (points at group of arrested protesters) you don't have to be cop'' What the Congo has to do with these halfwits I don't know.
Monday will bring a repeat. The protesters are planning to blockade the BBC during the day. They say the afternoon protest at Whitehall will be the biggest yet. They have had some MSM coverage as a result of yesterday and they will no-doubt be keen to capitalise on that.
More photographs are avaliable at www.mitchell-images.com