It is with great pride and honour that I can report that I, along with blogger Patrick Crozier and Chris Tame of the Libertarian Alliance took part in the Liberty and Livelihood march in London today. Samizdata contributor Antoine Clarke was also on the march and, although we communicated by text-mail, there were so many marchers that we never actually managed to meet up.
Did I say there were so many marchers? That does not even begin to tell the story. It was HUGE. I cannot recall ever seeing any public demonstration in Britain of this magnitude (and I’ve seen a few). The official figures state over 400,000 marchers but, from where we stood, that would appear to be an underestimate.
It began in from two points in Central London early this morning; two start points being necessary because of the enormous numbers involved. Even so, from our start point at Hyde Park, the throng was so large that it was next to impossible to actually determine where it began or where it ended. Eventually we just melded in where we could.
The atmosphere was one of pure defiance though there was no violence or law-breaking at all. The marchers were loud, proud and spirited, blowing whistles and horns, chanting and waving back to the cheering onlookers. Not once did the palpable grim resolve compromise the joyousness. It felt like a victory parade.
The most telling juxtaposition was provided by a handful (and I do mean a handful) of animal rights protestors, who all looked, well, how can I put this? Have you ever been on your way to an important business meeting and trodden in a dog-turd? That’s what they looked like.
Not being a photography-minded chap, I have no photos to post [Editor: sorted!] but I can recall some of the slogans that stood out from the sea of banners and flags carried along with the march (the Stars and Stripes being very prominent, incidentally).
This one stiffened my back:
“Born to Hunt, ready to Fight”
This one made me smile:
“We’ll keep our cowshit in the country,
you keep your bullshit in the town”
And this one raised the hairs on my neck:
“The Last Peaceful Demonstration”
Having moved among these people today, I am left with the distinct impression that they mean it.