after the ukuncut action at downing street this morning, protests focussed mainly on the media village at college green, with chanting and banners impingeing on broadcasts throughout the day.
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following this morning's ukuncut protest at downing street, protestors moved along to parliament square, where a combination of heritage wardens and police told them they couldn't go on the grass, and tried to force them into such a small area that they decided instead to continue walking. some went into victoria gardens behind the lords, but most ended up mingling with the media on college green.
i got caught up fighting for my rights to sit on the grass and to take photos on parliament square, (i'll post more on this and some film footage tomorrow), but i eventually caught up with around a hundred protestors on college green (aka abingdon street gardens), where they were trying to get their voices heard by the national media, camped there ready for interviews with politicians.
where interviews did take place, groups of protestors waved banners and made noise behind them. 'grumpyoldgitt' has posted an excellent example from the bbc on youtube.
police moved through the crowd warning them under SOCPA 'unauthorised protest' legislation, which finally expires at the end of this month (to be replaced by the draconian anti-camping PRSRA legislation). however, no further action was taken despite the arrival of several vans of TSG cops.
next, david leakey, the 'gentleman usher of the black rod', who pockets nearly £100,000 a year for ceremonial duties in the house of lords, appealed to protestors to move away from the media. he told them that they were on parliamentary estate grounds and could be removed, but that he just wanted them to step back 20 metres from interviews. a spokesperson from 'disabled people against cuts' engaged in a heartfelt and frank exchange with him about how the media wanted to interview the politicians but ignore the very people most affected by their decisions. she said they had a right to be heard, and so, the noise continued. anarchist ian bone started up a chant of "black rod out, black adder in", which saw mr leakey off the green.
next for humiliation was the rotund mr pickles who arrived for an interview at the radio 5 live tent. at an opportune moment someone shouted out "how many communities have you eaten today?". as he left he was hounded by a small crowd of hecklers. through all this, police looked on, sometimes with a hint of amusement, although FIT were sleazing around making notes and taking film as usual, and they never look particularly amused.
although many of the banners were focussed on budgetary issues, there was also quite a large contingent from the hollie greig campaign, which has exposed a very highly-connected paedophile ring in scotland. they were calling for the release of campaigner, robert green, who is in a scottish jail as part of the cover-up. they saw the budget media as an opportunity to publicise their campaign.
under the barrage from campaigners, many of the planned interviews were moved away to nearby studios at millbank, and the radio stations began pre-recording rather than going out live. as a result, protestors began to drift away, although a few remained, and others held banners and chanted outside the st stephen's gate entrance to parliament.
despite the disruption, and the success of remaining on the college green, the fact remains that today's protest turn-out was just a few hundred people throughout the whole day. considering that the NHS bill was passed this week and that the budget was yet another smack in the face for ordinary working people and the disadvantaged, i find it hard to fathom this level of apathy, disinterest, fear, or resignation.
talk of the NHS bill being this government's 'poll tax' isn't materialising into action, and with new laws and bye-laws attacking camping and so the whole 'occupy' movement, and with para-military policing and a swathe of new restrictions coming in for the olympics, it's hard to see any real resistance, justice, or democracy challenging the interests and stealthy power-grab of the rich elite, the bankers, and the corporations.