Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Look at us - we wear masks - we are sinister.

It's been a good long while since London has seen any protests that were clearly going to end in violence.  Every year on Nov 5, while normal people attend firework displays or just get on with what they do, anarchists stage a protest at The Palace of Westminster.  It brings traffic to a halt and costs thousands of pounds to police.

Usually, the organisers try to keep details secret until the last minute but this year was different.  Sky news had a member of the 'We want to be seen as sinister' Occupy movement on the lunchtime news yesterday and he told the nation of plans to close Westminster bridge at 6 pm as part of a protest against the govt's austerity measures.  He waxed lyrical about cuts and the effects they have on people.  Clearly, the cuts are not affecting him as he was wearing a £90 Superdry shirt for his moment in the limelight.  Must have been a present from mummy eh?

The Occupy movement seem to live in a strange parallel universe.  They claim to be 99% of the population.  They genuinely seem to believe this.  Their banners are equally bizarre, claiming that we should all 'be afraid' and that we should 'expect them' and that they 'don't forgive'.  As you would expect, all the members I have spoken to are middle to upper class kids.   Last night however, their numbers were bolstered by plenty of what I would call 'Old school anarchists'.

I suppose there must have been 1000 of them in total.  Most wore Guy Fawkes masks - this stems from the movie 'V for Vendetta', I'm not sure why, they could have chosen another Hollywood movie to emulate, imagine the effect if they all wore Homer Simpson masks.  They marched from Trafalgar Square down to Parliament Square.  As expected traffic ground to a halt in the area.  Barriers had been placed around the grass square and in front of the HoP.  These were pulled away and ended up all over the road.  There was a heavy police presence, but I was surprised to see the mob being allowed to get on the pavement outside the HoP.

Mostly the crowd were reasonably well behaved.  They danced to portable sound systems, climbed traffic lights, and let off fireworks.  I say mostly because amongst the crowd were a large group hell bent of causing aggro.  They were on the grass side of the road, opposite the gates to the HoP.  Occasionally they would approach the cops on the pavement and get in their faces with abuse and generally try to get a reaction.  The cops didn't rise to the bait despite some pretty nasty provocation.  There were several cars and a London bus stuck in the crowd opposite the gates to the HoP.  Some numbskull started climbing up the front of the bus - what a rebel eh?  Soon, the cops decided to get the traffic free from the crowd.  there was a wee bit of a stramash as the cops forced the crowd away from the traffic.  One protester a man in his 30's was led from the scene by police medics.  He was crying, tears running down his face because "A police officer hit him on the arm" Tosser!

There was some fuckwit with a megaphone (isn't there always?).  He really showed just how twisted the mentality of those in the occupy movement is.  Imagine all the mentalist conspiracy theorists on the net rolled into one and you get an idea of the sort of shite he was spouting.  He went as far a telling the crowd of 10 or so who were actually listening to him that Occupy knew of 20 police agents who were undercover in the Occupy organisation, but he said that's ok as Occupy had agents who were serving police officers.  Mmmmm, you know, thinking about it, he could be right!

As is normal on these occasions, a few large splinter groups left the main protest and headed away, followed by several police carriers.  In the past following these groups has led to much frustration as all they do is run around and then head back to where they came from.  It's tiring and I'm getting too old for that sort of  shit anyway.   One breakaway group went to Oxford St and ran around in the traffic for a bit, while the other went to  Buckingham Palace.  I got a blow by blow account of what went on at the palace from my mate who was there.  Here is a brief outline - Fireworks were aimed at the palace and several hit the building.  The crowd cheered as this happened.  The crowd were allowed to light a fire near the gates of the palace.  Yes, they did launch bottles and other debris at the cops.  Not nearly enough arrests were made.

I was still on Whitehall as this was going on.  I got word the crowd were heading back from Oxford St in my direction so I hung about for a bit.  Around 150 arrived back on Whitehall, most marched past Downing St, but a small group sat down and blocked the gateway.  They were a bit late as it was around 10pm by now and Dave and Co were probably tucked up in bed now.

So, that was it.  They came, they protested, they gained fuck all.  The govt still stands.  I'm writing this the day after and surprisingly I've yet to hear a single complaint about police brutality.

A selection of photographs are on my site - http://mitchell-images.photoshelter.com


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