Sunday, 27 March 2011

26th March 2011: The March for the Alternative!

After catching an early train home to london, I spent the whole of yesterday at the massive protest in London. With too many friends in different organisations I decided to march with my parents. Dad manning the 'one million climate jobs' ( stall and mum aiding me in my search for my brother and his girlfriend. Eventually we found them after watching miles of protesters go by from all over the country and from every backwater little village! it was clear that this protest was a genuine reaction to the public funding cuts. Peoples' lives were being effected in a million different ways.

My mum was adament that I should have worn my uniform for the demo but I was aware that Hallam would have pretty good grounds to kick me off the course. It does seem ironic though that I could not wear a nursing uniform at a protest against public funding.
Mum took off home after it got too cold but I remained with my brother. Following Twitter reports, like the majority of the remaining protesters it seemed, we headed to oxford circus where Topshop in particular was under attack for tax dodging. When we got there Topshop had been forced to close which, considering it was a busy saturday afternoon, meant it lost alot of business.
At the centre of oxford circus, flares were being set off and a large paper horse had been set fire to. It filled the cross roads with smoke which added to the orange and pink flares. The sight of the burning horse was amazing but it was such a sign of the times that everybody, including passing tourists, had there arms up taking pictures of the flames. The whole atmosphere was great; oxford street had been shut down on an overcast saturday in London.
Following more reports, we walked down to piccadilly where Fortnum and Mason was in the process of being occupied. As we got there several protesters were climbing up to the roof above the doorway. They had covered the building with slogans. There was such as party atmosphere around the shop with several people carrying loadspeakers. Dancing in picadilly watching people break into the shops felt like we were a group that could really make a change. Unfortuately, the atmosphere got to one girl who collapsed near me. I managed to push into the circle surrounding her to revive her from her unconsciousness before a qualified nurse got there, followed by the police. The police officer came into the group and basically ordered us to get away from her if we did not have medical training. Both I and the qualified nurse handed over the situation. At this point he looked sheepish and left us to it. Its no surprice that protesters get angry when the police come into situations like a bull in a china shop without knowing where they stand! Thankfully the girl was fine but wanted to see a paramedic anyway. 
Shortly afterwards we heard reports that the police were kettling from one side. We started to move towards piccadilly circus. A couple of minutes later a man shouted 'kettling'. We ran just intime for the police line up behind us and trap the protesters in.  Reports say they were there for hours..

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