Yesterday I travelled up to London in order to partake in the Republic jubilee protest, scheduled, with the consent of police authorities, to take place on the south bank of the Thames, near City Hall and Tower Bridge.
When I arrived, I found I was not the first protester to be barred access to the designated protest site. According to an orange-jacketed ‘security staff’-er representing morelondon, access number was limited for “health and safety” reasons. Which, I was told by a protest steward, did not exempt some of those scheduled to speak. Yeah, right. Like London was not one big H&S concern yesterday. Surely, the best place for an organised protest with the potential to draw fractious response from the royally beguiled is not to have the majority of it congregating in – and hindering public access along – Tooley Street.
This, it seems to me, was an intended effect. When I saw the British Brown-nose Corporation news late last night, there was brief acknowledgement of a protest involving around 100 people. Other outlets have acknowledged that numbers were more around the thousand mark. But they were away from the river, out of the sightline of the royal barge and somewhat air-brushed from the BBC’s happy-smiling, fawning coverage. Hence why many placards were also not allowed through to the riverside – because they might have been visible from the river, perish the thought. Important, one might suppose, that in these difficult austere times, the illusion be maintained. Morale and all that. Because we’re all in this together. Oh, except for the monarchy, of course. Silly to even question otherwise.
Anyway, I was pleased I stuck around, and got to see and hear the ever-admirable Peter Tatchell, who took a swipe at morelondon‘s apparent blocking of our democratic right to protest. Be interesting to learn wherefrom they were thus instructed.