There was this much security at the US embassy ...
... to protect them from this?
Marching to Trafalgar Square
I got a good view from here
But the police had the best observation position
Just some of the sambatistas (you need to hear them to appreciate them)
Mass produced placards were in the majority
A carefully constructed placard
No more porky pies Mr Bliar
1805 Britannia rules the waves / 2005 Britannia waives the rules
Fight global warming not Iraqis
The special relationship
Vote tactical for a hung parliament
New Labour justice
Blair's ID card
Brian Haw's Parliament Square peace camp
The route of the march went round three sides of Grosvenor Square, but not the side that the embassy was on. The Embassy itself was on the other side of a concrete barrier, a ring of police, a ring of portable steel fence, another ring of police, another ring of steel fence...... Paid for out of our taxes, said another photographer who was also contemplating this scene. The layout of this part of the route almost seems to have been designed to preserve the park in the middle of Grosvenor Square as a kind of front garden to the embassy, so that the embassy staff can come out and eat their lunch in the park without having to cross a road full of inconvenient protestors.
At the corner where the march left Grosvenor Square, there lay a coffin with the message "100,000 dead" painted on it. Even this was kept safely outside most of the security rings.
When the march reached Trafalgar Square, I finally caught sight of the samba band which I had been hearing for most of the duration of the march. A really big samba band, probably the biggest I've ever seen all playing together, maybe 100 of them. Or is it two samba bands? There seem to be two mestres, who are both busy making different signals to the sambatistas around them, but somehow they're all in time and playing something coherent, and it sounds fantastic. I'll try not to worry too hard about how it's done, I'll just be grateful that there are so many people willing to do it.
Hard to say how many people attended the demonstration. I'm sure I heard someone proclaim from the platform that there were 150,000. Later on the Beeb I read counts of 45,000 according to police and 100,000 according to organisers.
Walking through Parliament Square after the rally, on the way back to the coach, I hold my rainbow peace flag in a token act of defiance, because it might be the last chance I ever get to (legally) walk through Parliament Square holding a peace flag.
Corporate media coverage:
Erm, there doesn't seem to have been much yet.
Independent web site? Nothing
Guardian web site? Nothing.
The Observer (paper version)? Yes, there's a photo on page 2, and the text:
"Yesterday, two years after the start of the US-led invasion of Iraq, thousands of people took to the streets to mark the anniversary. Police estimate that 45,000 protestors demonstrated in London. There was also a march in Glasgow and vigils elsewhere in Scotland."
And the photo isn't even in colour!
The Beeb do a bit better. 10 photos: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_pictures/4364857.stm
And a report: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4363447.stm
And a few voxpops with a photos of somone by each one: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/pop_ups/05/uk_anti_war_march/html/1.stm
This last one is a bit odd, because it opens with a picture of a woman in a t-shirt saying "bring the troops home", but the quote alongside it says "If the soldiers left now then that would make things worse in Iraq. It would be complete anarchy. I’m here to show solidarity, and to make them think twice about invading Iran. The government’s got such a large majority they feel they can do anything. This is the only way we can show dissent."
A cock-up at the Beeb maybe?
Meanwhile, the coverage here on Indymedia:
pics and locations of other demos: http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/03/307146.html
pics from the US embassy: http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/03/307146.html
visible police presence pics: http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/03/307133.html
more pics: http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/03/307107.html
more pics (these ones are rather large): http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/03/307092.html
creative protest: http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/03/307065.html
more pics: http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/03/307050.html
police and FIT: http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/03/307050.html
Are the web cams being censored to stop people seeing the demo? http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/03/307050.html
And no doubt more on their way.