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I attended the gathering in Parliament Square today from 11.00 to 1.30 in support of Reclaim The Streets and in the belief that London can and must benefit from positive urban regeneration, brownfield housing projects, the preservation and creation of green spaces and the exclusion of cars from the centre (indeed, as far out as is feasible).
While not condoning violent action in any form, I also recognised today as an opportunity to alert large global corporations to the fact that they must not continue to go on making huge profits for the few at the expense of the many. And by the many I mean their long-suffering employees as well as the ecosystems and communities that they continue to exploit and even destroy.
Contrary to the opinions expressed by Justin Rigby in yesterday's Sunday Times News Review, my support for RTS and its aims does not make me mindlessly disposed to violence, nor even an anarchist. I simply believe in the preservation of a healthy environment and the right of people to live as individuals free from the controlling influence of big business. And if that makes me a danger to the state I wonder what exactly it is about "the state" that Mr Rigby deems worth protecting from people like me. Having attended several such events over the past eight or so years, I was immediately struck by the numbers of mainstream media present today. Indeed, at the beginning the numbers of journalists and TV crews threatened to outstrip protesters. Would that they were all there because they were interested in debating the ideas which have been the subject of this weekend's conferences. However, naturally they were all in fact waiting for some violence to kick off. On my return home I switched on BBC News 24 to watch endless replays of McDonalds in Whitehall being trashed and barrages of riot police being "commendably restrained" in their actions, having "limited" the number of arrests to "just" seven.
My other observation was the sheer numbers of people who had brought cameras - all those people will be able to show their own versions of the day to those who might otherwise be taken in by skewed corporate media reports. I'm pleased to say that while I was in Parliament Square, the atmosphere was great - peaceful, friendly, happy - people just sitting in the square or in the road, chilling out, chatting, planting things, enjoying the sunshine and the temporary absence of traffic. Though of course, that never makes great sensational news for the corporate media. Nice one indymedia for taking this initiative and showing how it really is.
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