Judging by previous marches, I’d say there were around at least 70,000 people on the march. Certainly not the 10,000 that the Metropolitan police claim. But then again, they have a history of distortion and grand media deception to uphold.
It was a gorgeous, sunny day and the mood on the march was hugely positive and friendly. We were marching to get our troops out of Iraq, yes, we were marching in protest at the terrorist attacks on London, certainly, but we were also marching to defend our right to march, our liberty itself. This is why the march started at Parliament Square, subject to draconian new laws attempting to gag us and remove our right to protest.
Even though Blair wanks on about democracy and people power, history will remember him as the British leader that provoked the biggest ever protests against his policies and, not coincidentally, the leader who sought to muzzle democratic protest against his regime. He’s our little Kim Jong Il, waving and smiling for the cameras while his foot is stamping down on the freedom of his citizens.
By the time we got to Hyde Park we were knackered but we stayed a bit to hear the speakers. The most moving was Sue Smith, from Military Families Against The War. My heart went out to her as she broke down crying at the end of her speech. Her appeal to Blair was eloquent but, sadly, he obviously sees the life of British soldiers as cheap and expendable.
We left just after Brian Eno’s peculiarly charming speech. True to form, it was the opposite of what speeches at mass rallies are meant to sound like. Eno was quiet, reflective and somewhat rambling. But very effective, especially when he made the point about the amount of money being spent on war compared with healthcare, education etc.
I wish we stayed longer to hear Pilger’s talk. We also missed Belle and Sebastian play, apparently. Damn!
All in all, it was another great day for British democracy, another bad day for Butcher Blair.
Click here for the pics.