The 7am start was NOT welcomed, especially after a 2pm bedtime – specifically due to distractions online, this really has got to stop before it gets started!!
I had a major panic about 8am because I couldn’t find my adaptor to put the pictures on my computer. Then i found it (and another memory card) and all was fine.
8.30 – Costies. Randomly large cardboard box for posters was purchased. Said posters were then made and hastily printed off in the Boar Office, cue editors.
Around 9 we headed over to the library for breakfast (glad I ate it to be fair!) and got on the coach.
Got dropped off about 12.45 I guess? Joined the march just before parliament, stood on a few barriers in order to take photos of the literally thousands of people marching – apparently there were around 50,000 altogether, but nothing confirmed. At least 24,000 according to the Evening Standard.
We marched on down past the Houses of Parliament, booing as we went, amongst chants of: ‘Nick Clegg, shame on you! Shame on you for turning blue!’ and some rather rude posters 🙂
As we were walking along we noticed a crowd assembling around a building on the left of the marchers, so we decided to go and check it out, assuming it would be nothing important. It looked alright, fairly peaceful… not. Police blocking the door, about 20 people inside… Millbank. Question mark? Oh, the Tory HQ. That explains it.
Some people burning signs in the courtyard, others trying to break through the small line of police there, but not really trying too hard. About a thousand maybe, tops? Could have easily toppled the police if they really wanted to, but everyone just watched. Climbed the stairs, found the photographers huddled up there and chatted to some freelance guy about the demonstration.
As not a lot was going on, we carried on marching up the road where we found the rest of the students gathered listening to the NUS President Aaron Porter speaking about the cuts on top of what seemed like a double decker bus… sort of random. But hey. An insane amount of pictures later, everything was ‘over’ and we were all instructed to leave via the front of the demonstration.
We followed everyone around, then cut across back to the Millbank building, figuring there would be more going on there now. We were right!
There were four police vans, and about 20 officers all lined up around the back of the building, obviously working very hard to contain the mass of students which had doubled at least by the time we got there. We snuck in around the back (found Pizza Express locking its doors, hah!) and climbed onto first a flower pot and then the railings by the side for a better view.
Enter about 20 riot police… when things get slightly more crowded. Lights (A few flares were set off). Camera (Only me and about a thousand other people…). Action? Lots of shouting, smashing of glass, more people got through the police barrier, got into the lift and shouted off the building at the top, waving banners, firing fire extinguishers, eventually throwing one off.
After getting a text from the organisers telling us to go to LSE immediatley, we braced the crowds and went in there, right up to the riot barrier. Cue – battery fail. Fucks sake. I got a lot of decent shots, but that would have been the icing on the cake really. (Nom… cake.)
We left shortly after that to try and get back to LSE and got told en route (quick Pret detour – yay!) to go to Kings College instead. Speaking of disorganisation… I met my friend on the way and we chatted rather loudly about personal problems; hell yeah, we roll that way.
Eventually found the coaches (at the original meeting point) and that was the end of the day (sort of!). Kept getting texts from everyone telling us rumours – fire arms, armed response, burning building, collapsed bits, arrests, fights… etc. A lot of it was just rumours but it still excited the hell out of me. 😀 Bus home. Interviews. Boar office to see the photos and read the Guardian (Y).
I seriously still can’t contain my excitement at today – I loved it. Being in the middle of everything, seeing people so passionate about what they want, it’s really quite amazing.
I do feel that the violence somewhat distracted from the overall peaceful protest of many other thousands of people there. The public will only see this violence and recieve completley the wrong end of the stick about why we were there is the first place. I don’t think there were that many students organising the actual riots and violence, but of course there were a few.
Was it going to change anything anyway? Who knows. Probably not. But still, 50,000 people is pretty impressive don’t you think? And they can’t fail to see what the protesters have done to the Tory HQ to be fair! I mean, if we can’t do anything, should we at least vent out our anger in order to gain some sort of satisfaction that what we’re doing here by marching won’t actually achieve anything? I don’t know, but I know it wasn’t a good idea.
Whether I agreed with everything or not, I wanted to be there. I wanted to report on it. I want to do this journalism thing!! It’s something that’s always been in the back of my mind, and I sort of thought ‘yeah, sure, why not?’ and now I realise how much I love it…
Combine current affairs + writing? Journalism. Throw in a camera too. And people. Opinions. Perfect job ever? It’s out there somewhere…